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Qadam-e-Rasool to get new look

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BIBHUTI BARIK   |   Published 19.08.13, 12:00 AM

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 18: The most revered Islamic monument of the state, Qadam-e-Rasool in Cuttack, is all set to get a new look as the government has allocated Rs 1.5 crore for its restoration.

The state tourism department has come forward to spend the money to preserve the famous shrine as it has many beautiful architectural signatures of the Mughal era.

According to legend, Haji Syed Alimullah, a close relative of Syed Hashim of Mashar of Persia, brought the holy relic from Najab in Arabia with the signature of the Sheriff of Mecca. In the beginning, the relic was kept under a tree at Kukuriapada village in Sungra Pragana of Cuttack district to testify its genuineness.

As many people got cured of various diseases and ailments automatically because of the presence of the relic in Sungra Pragana, the news reached the-then ruler (deputy nazim) of the state. Even emperor Aurangzeb wanted to pay homage to the sacred relic. But it was not possible for him to come over because of the remote location of the place. Then, deputy nazim Shujauddin Mohammed Khan decided to shift the relic to Cuttack so that more people could pay homage to it. Later, it was shifted to Rasulpur on the bank of river Mahanadi in 1099.

Historian Mohammed Yamin, who has documented Islamic monuments in Cuttack, said: “The Qadam-e-Rasool shrine is spread over half a square mile. On each corner of the boundary walls, there is a small minaret. The mosque has nine small minarets with a big one in the centre bearing the crescent and the star. It has beautiful arches and fine architectural works enhancing its beauty and utility.”

No Islamic shrine in the state has such a huge and impressive building as Qadam-e-Rasool. It is an octagonal building standing on an octagonal plinth. It has only one dome, over which a small golden dome has been placed. The interior roof has been exquisitely painted with flowers and plants of many varieties. It has a marble floor in black and white squares.

In the centre of the monument, the Qadam-e-Rasool or the footprint of the Holy Prophet has been placed inside a metal basin. Interestingly, the pinnacle of the dome has been adorned like the Sikhara temple architecture in the state with elements such as kalasa and amalaka.

Researcher Yamin said: “Architecturally, it is a beautiful shrine of the Mughal era, but with an Odia style of temple building. Hence, it is a fusion of Hindu-Muslim architecture in Odisha.”

Inside the shrine, there is a big graveyard in which many notable personalities were buried, including renowned saint Sahid Pani. The shrine also has several Persion inscriptions.

State tourism secretary S.P. Thakur recently visited the shrine along with senior officials of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation, the district administration and the tourism department. The restoration work will be done by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation. Director of the tourism department Manoranjan Patnaik said: “Apart from the main mosque, the restoration work will also cover landscaping, renovation of a water body, boundary walls and the entrance.”

As the shrine is frequented both by Muslims and Hindus, its restoration will help strength the unity between followers of the two religions. The famous archaeological ruins of Barabati fort are nearby and one can visit the Qadam-e-Rasool and Barababti fort in a single trip to Cuttack.

The renovation for the famous shrine was planned by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation. The state tourism department requested Intach and Idco to take up the work after consultation with the agencies involved in conservation.

Cuttack mayor Soumendra Ghosh said the civic body would also spend about Rs 25 lakh to construct drainage channels in the locality. The work at Qadam-e-Rasool is expected to start shortly.

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