Guwahati Gyan: Panbari Mosque
GUWAHATI: The historic Panbari Mosque or Rangamati Mosque is a famous mosque in northeast India and is considered to be the oldest mosque in Assam. The mosque is situated on the National Highway 17, near Panbari and Rangamati, about 25 km east of Dhubri town. This 15th/16th century three-domed mosque also presents an excellent example of great architectural achievements of the Sultanate of Bengal.
The mosque was believed to have been built by administrator Alauddin Husain Shah in between 1493 and 1519 AD who was then the sultan of Bengal, though its exact history is not known. After taking over the kingdom of Kamatapur, the sultan declared to commission a mosque in Panbari to celebrate the victory and to offer prayers. Another story says that the mosque was built in 1662 when Mir Jumla, a powerful subedar of Bengal, under the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, invaded Assam.
During the reign of the Koch rulers, Rangamati area was a very prosperous place. It was the frontier post of the Koch rulers. The invading army of Bengal sultans and Mughals also used Rangamati fort. The area, as some believe, was also the headquarters of Alauddin Husain Shah. And this mosque was used as a prayer hall by the Muslim soldiers.
It is said that about 200 years ago, the local people of this place found this mosque in Panbari "Pahar" under the thick foliage. They cleaned this place and started to offer Namaz there. Today, Panbari "Pahar" is known as the holy seat and the mosque is a holy shrine for the people of western Assam. The scenic beauty of the hills with its rich flora, its unique location together with the archaeological importance, holds promise of becoming an important tourist spot in India. Of late, a township consisting of brick-plinths, terracotta antiquities as also a hoard of coins have been discovered near the mosque, which have been tentatively attributed to the Mughal regime.