ArchitectureThe mosque is built in the traditional Hindu architectural style using brass oil lamps. The rosewood pulpit, from where the imam recites the Friday Jumu'ah, is covered with carvings
Facing east: The prayer room inside the 7th century Cheraman Juma Masjid. Some of the door frames are a thousand years old.
Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid, Kodungallur
Built in 629 AD, the Cheraman Perumal mosque at Kodungallur is widely considered to be the first mosque in India. Though rebuilt and renovated over the years, which gives it a modern architectural façade, it does retain a bit of the original style in the interiors. Unlike other mosques, this one faces east, not Mecca in the west. A huge bronze lamp, a feature common in temples, continues to be kept lit inside. And in a time honoured practice, people belonging to all religions bring oil or contribute money to buy oil for the lamp on auspicious occasions. In an anteroom, there is a small mausoleum where Muslim priests light incense sticks, yet another Hindu practice not followed in other mosques. A few years back, the mosque also started Vidyarambham, the custom of initiating children into reading and writing. This is a shrine that has set a practice of intermingling religious rites over the years to come up with a unique Indian ethos. Syed Mohammed aged 85, has been doing baang (meuzzin’s call) since 73 years.
Malik Deenar Juma Masjid, Kasaragod
One of the historic mosques believed to have been established by Malik Ibn Deenar on the Kerala coast, this holy shrine is located in the Muslim quarter of Thalangara. The original mosque was a small structure with thatched roofing and a floor of marble stones brought with him from Mecca. Later, it was replaced by a bigger, more elaborate structure like the palace of a local king, replete with conical roofs and gables. The same artisans who had built the palace constructed the new edifice using doors and marble stones from the original shrine. An extension was added later. Several tombs dominate the foreground as a walkway leads up to the mosque, which contains the grave of Malik Ibn Mohammed, one of the descendants of Muslim saint Malik Ibn Deenar. Historical details about its construction are also carved on the latticed woodwork in Arabic. Owing to the sanctity of the place and a school for Islamic studies, Kasaragod has become an important center of Islam on the west coast. The town is also famous for the hand-crafted Thalangara thoppi (skull cap), a beautifully embroidered accessory of Islamic identity.