When in Oman, one of the most important places to visit is the Grand Mosque in Muscat. The importance of the short trip to this holy place is not delimited or particularized by any religious or devotional ardor. The reason lies in something else. The Grand Mosque evinces brilliance in the departments of architecture and design.
In the year 1994, the construction of the Grand Mosque was commenced at Bausher in Muscat at the behest of Qaboos bin Said al Said, the Sultan of Oman, and was completed in the year 2001. The mosque is a mammoth structure, surrounded by beautiful and rambling green gardens that ward off the interference of any outside hubbub, besides accentuating the overall beauty of the place. An area of 416,000 square meters is dedicated to the Grand Mosque, and it can house at least 20,000 worshipers.
Also known as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, this place resonates well with visitors from all over the world. Interestingly, this is the only mosque in Oman that welcomes people of all different faiths. It also has a huge chamber named the ‘Musalla’, which is entirely dedicated to female worshippers who visit to offer their prayers. The Musalla can house a good 750 female worshippers at any given time of the day.
There is a larger chamber, rather a hall, which is the principle prayer room, and it will marvel your eyes with the sheer beauty preserved within. The ceiling has a large and stunning chandelier that weighs approximately 8.5 tons and shines blazingly from within it, some 600,000 Swarovski crystals along with the 24-carat gold plating. The chandelier, to an entering visitor, immediately lifts the existing plushness of the chamber to another level. You will unwittingly gawk around the chamber, for the walls that hold together this gigantic edifice. The roof with its wooden ceiling exhibits beautiful calligraphic as well as arabesque work. And for the floor, it is ornamented with a large carpet depicting the excellence of Persian carpet-making art. It is the second largest carpet in the world i. The overall beauty of the place will let you come away with an insight into the exclusive Omani art and design.
There is a central passage that conjoins the men’s and women’s prayer rooms. As you make your way through this part of the building, care to pause and look around. The arches of the ceiling, along with the chiaroscuro effect created during daylight in the passage will create an inerasable memory. Remember to look up to notice the calligraphic engravings on the top of the walls of the main prayer hall.
The building of the mosque commemorates certain core principles of Islam itself. Centrally placed is the large dome that towers at a height of 50 meters and is circled round by 5 minarets to represent the 5 pillars of Islam. These minarets also stand to demarcate the limits of the premise. Take a walk through the winding verandas here to notice the Omani mosaic work peppered all around.
Interestingly, after you have ranged over most of the premise, meander towards the library department. And if you are a reader, you will love to know that the enormous library houses tens of thousands of books. As well as there is to see, continuing with the drifting, a small yet beautiful room that is dedicated to the administration of several ablution performances.
It will be a memorable visit. Try it.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is unique in every way, and it will leave one enthralled. It is high time you add it to your itinerary without any delay.
Author : Satarupa Hajra