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Ancient wooden mosque in Timergara still holds its grandeur

Ancient wooden mosque in Timergara still holds its grandeur

TIMERGARA: The wooden Baba Jee Mosque situated in the centre of Timergara city with unique artisan work has retained its original structure even after over 115 years of its construction, attracting a large number of visitors.

The mosque was built in 1899 by a spiritual leader Mian Gul Muhayuddin also known as Baba Jee who belonged to the Yousafzai tribe.

His knowledge and piousness had made him popular among locals and he was respected and looked at with reverence by all.

The mosque’s doors, pillars, beams, flooring and ceiling all are masterpieces of woodwork.

Abdul Hanan, a local elder, told Dawn that the wood for the mosque was provided by the then Nawab of Dir Mohammad Sharief Khan.

He said Mian Gul Muhayuddin had brought a famous artisan named Abdul Qadir from Peshawar who skillfully did carvings and engravings on the pillars, doors and windows.

He said the followers of Baba Jee settled in Koheri Malakand and Rash Khany areas were still visiting the mosque frequently.

The mosque’s ‘khadim’ (servant) said that an offer of US dollars 4,000 had come for one of its door, but Baba’s heirs rejected the offer.

The Baba Jee mosque has two spacious halls and four verandas. The wooden ceiling has been decorated in Mughal-era Islamic architecture which attracts the eye of every visitor. The walls have been plastered with mud that adds to its beauty.

One of the Baba Jee’s grandsons, Farmanullah, told this correspondent that a few years back a part of the mosque caved in which was rebuilt with cement and sand.

He said the mosque had still its ancient colour and shape.

Local residents said that daily ‘Langar’ (free food) was doled out at the mosque to the devotees.

They said a separate guestroom had been built in the mosque for strangers who wished to stay there.

Inside the mosque, the shrine of Baba Jee is situated on one side of the lawn.

A visitor, Mansoor Khan, said he came to visit the mosque after he had heard his elders talk about it. He said he wished to pray here and get peace of mind.

A student from Bajaur Agency said it was like a national heritage for them and the government should take responsibility to preserve it for the next generations.

“Indeed, it is historical mosque and the Auqaf department must look after it,” Habibullah, another visitor, remarked.

“Not only locals but foreigners also come here to pray and get spiritual satisfaction,” Baba Jee’s grandson said, adding they would be glad if the mosque was declared a historical site.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2017

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