The Cheraman Juma Masjid at Kodungalloor, Indias first-ever mosque, gives a great message of communal harmony and our rich cultural heritage to the world, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has said.
He was speaking after inaugurating the renovation of the masjid, built in 629 AD, at a function at Kodungalloor on Sunday.
The project, an initiative of the Department of Tourism as part of its heritage conservation efforts, aims at rebuilding the oldest masjid in the subcontinent in tune with its original character and aesthetics.
The renovation of the Cheraman Masjid, which occupies a pivotal place in the Muziris civilisation, is an important project of the Department of Tourism under the Muziris Heritage Project (MHP). Kerala had always welcomed various cultures and representatives of countries wholeheartedly. We absorbed their good values and lifestyles. Our cultural structures, language and rituals are monuments of this harmony, the Governor said.
The oral tradition says Cheraman Perumal, the king, went to Arabia where he met the Prophet and embraced Islam in the early 7th century.
From there, he sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar, a Persian scholar who travelled to India. Dinar is believed to have built the masjid in 629 AD, five years after the kings death.
In the early centuries, Kodungalloor was a settlement of traders, standing as the doorway to India for varied cultures and races, thus emerging as a cradle of several civilizations. It came to an abrupt end in 1341 following massive floods that submerged the region.
All the renovations done at the masjid in the past had preserved its traditional architectural beauty.
The Governor congratulated the masjid committee for that. The Tourism Department has already set up an Islamic History Museum there.
We dont have the right to manipulate history, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac who presided over the function said.
Kodungalloor was rich in monuments, which represented various stages of Kerala history. The Muziris project took us to the roots of history and traditions of the land, he said.
The masjid will be renovated at a cost of 1.13 crore.