This is the Shath-Gomboz Masjid or Sixty Domed Mosque, a beautifully preserved building from the 1400’s. I saw it on a trip to Southern Bangladesh.
It kind of fascinated me- that whole piece of the South with all its detail- its life, I guess- if it were a person- it would be one of those ageless ladies who you’ve known for decades, and their faces stay the same- edgy and rough and sun-burnt and serene- with this really sunny smile.
There are intricate designs in the walls of the mosque made of a brown hardness- that reminded me of clay, and dated back to the original building. The inside of the mosque is made of connected arches, with pillars every few feet- a kind of design that comes naturally, I think. The pillars are made of this black rock that is not found locally. There is a story that this rock was transported from a place far away, and the ruler, who was a Friend of God, had some special help in bringing it. The rock has been plastered over since, except this one column- that glittered and glinted in the blue evening.
There were two details that struck me- the width of the walls- they were several feet wide, and a few feet had been buried in the ground over the centuries. And the trees- there were two enormous trees on either side, that were said to be centuries old- they were simply indescribably magnificent. This is in southern Bangladesh, next to the ocean and Shonder Bon. They said that it was one of many ancient buildings in the country from the old kingdom-the Ancient Superpower.
We went on a long train ride- on one of those chugging-bogey-little-bumpy-driver-engine-land-rail- trains that one finds in rhymes and computer games. It was the first time in my life. The station was strange to me- men and women and girls boys and goats and random sheep, were wondering around the track, like it was a festival or something. It still surprises me that not a single one of them- goats and all- were ever run over by the trains- that came into the station every few minutes. And when the trains came- there would be all these random people suddenly lying underneath the train- for a two minute rest/siesta- they would be gossiping away like there’s no tomorrow- and I’d bet if I could- drinking tea- like it’s the most relaxing place in the world. The place to catch YOUR two minute nap, if you know what I mean- is under the train, just before its going- and DON‘T mind the goats! Something about wheels and the smell of engine grease, I guess. Not that I’ve tried it- yet-maybe? So I wouldn’t know. 😉 And then they’d all mysteriously disappear when the bell went and the wheels started, and all the suddenly respectable passengers rushed onboard. There were some overly flirtatious boys- who made me laugh at their insistence that they be Noticed! by one and all, and especially by the ladies. I could laugh cuz I had loved ones all around me- it wasn’t really pleasant-but then it never is, the world over.
The window, I insisted- that it be kept down, and my-well nose at least- firmly out- and head back, lots of bananas and chips and dust and noise- an odd piece of peace, I suppose although that doesn’t make total sense even to me ;).
We got to where we were staying, and then we set off.
*disclaimer this was drawn some time later, and written even later, so the details might be inaccurate