Friday, 4 January 2013

Jama Mosque at Mandu: Music in Structure

The Great Mosque as Place in Public Domain the then existing kingdom. I looked at it before, and now too, as a citizen first and as a 'worker' to earn livelihood in architecture and town planning, once.
In the realms of Ethics and Aesthetics, whenever I look at it, this edifice as an event overwhelms me.
In the realms of Environment - Ecology - Energy in Nature and Life, I have yet to reconstruct it as then existed.
The NOW, however, exists as remains of history before us. Could we reconstruct with the missing elements, in Holistic Way?

The following snippets in photos and notes are a Virtual Reality, with many speaking blank spaces!

Elevation-1, Jama Mosque, Mandu

There are no applied decorations or embellishments here. The structural system, the true arch, itself creates intrinsic beauty to this place.

Elevation -2, Jama Mosque, Mandu
It is evident in arches, domes, vaults... that make the whole structure with bare simplicity.
The structure moves in harmony at different levels, and it lifts us up as in “Aazaan”; that is the beauty of the place.

External View: Jama Mosque, Mandu

The tropical sunlight plays an important role in traditional Indian architecture, whether it is intricate surface carvings in relief or austere plain finishes to early works.

Courtyard: Jama Mosque, Mandu

There is a saying, 'Architecture is Frozen Music', which we witness here.
The aging by centuries doesn't touch beauty.

Interior: Vaults-1, Jama Mosque, Mandu

 The domes, I presume, may have been once covered with blue pottery tiles. There is another structure — tomb / mosque — at this complex that has a few blue tiles still left.

Vaulted ceiling: Jama Mosque, Mandu
However, any artefact needs maintenance with care, in the spirit of place. Any restoration should be carried with sensitivity.
Any object made by humans starts deteriorating from day one. It does not grow like natural living things.

Vaulted ceiling: Jama Mosque, Mandu

 Jama Masjid is a religious building, hence also public place for all, all the people — the rich and the poor. We notice a remarkable difference between Jama and civilian buildings, palaces etc. Jama Masjid is still in a sound condition, and the other buildings, royal houses... are now in ruins or fast turning to total ruins.

Interior - Part: Jama Mosque, Mandu
The sense of proportion and scale executed in buildings, in longevity of the two domains — public or the Collective and the private — by the then feudal powers, and their builders, are indeed remarkable.

Interior view of Courtyard:  Jama Mosque, Mandu
Compare the two in this reference, today's Power-holders in the secular, socialist and democratic India, and the situation of the public places — water and wetlands, public distribution system (PDS), healthcare, play and games (example: CWG), education, transport systems etc.

Exterior View: Jama Mosque, Mandu

Look at the places under the domains of the power-holders' classes, and in the public domain. Look at the squandering of the scarce resources of the Earth, for their power, profit and self-glorification, which is neo-feudalism, anywhere. One glance is enough to understand for any sane mind!

Basement: Jama Mosque, Mandu
Wealth comes from the soil — grain and/or mineral, not from a mint. What comes from the mint — currency — has no tangible value.

Basement-2: Jama Mosque, Mandu

I visited Mandu decades ago. Perhaps now there is some facelift—gardens with lawn, flowering shrubs etc. in fashion, being a place of tourist interest.

Jali - grill - carved in marble: Jama Mosque, Mandu

Most important part of the whole complex is the 'water management', which I could not document. This part, then, was covered with wild growth of trees, vines and shrubs, and almost impossible to access. I very much doubt if the authorities even attempted to restore this 'historical water conservation system'?

Water management - Part, Mandu
 Work of architecture is better experienced at different times of days and seasons on site until our perceptions are enriched to visualize reality from such mediums as maps / models / photographs / movies / videos etc. Any work of architecture is full size museum.

Perennial Water pond outside Mandu Fort
The entire complex at Mandu was executed by the Indian artisans. There were guilds of artisans or builders in historical times. They carried traditional knowledge and wisdom through generations. Vastushilpa or Traditional Indian Architecture, includes houses, palaces, temples, gardens, water-bodies, town planning and related subjects.

View of surrounding region -1
Mandu or Mndavgad is situated on the top of Vindhya Ranges.This region between Vindhya and Satpura Ranges had a dense forest. It is the ancient habitat of many adivasi communities - aborigine tribes. Forests are their lifeline.

View of surrounding region -2
Most of the forest cover is lost. It still continues to vanish. There great demand  for timber to build cities. The civilized societies in modern times continue to deforest these hills is visible in these photographs. So also there are many hydro-electric projects for the wants of urban habitats.

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

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