Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is beginning his India visit in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. During his stay in the Gujarat capital, Abe will visit the historic Sidi Saiyyed Mosque along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Known to be emblematic of the architectural beauty of Ahmedabad, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is a symbol of a time when Gujarat dwelled and prospered under Muslim rule.
Built in 1573 under the regime of the last Sultanate of Gujarat, it has gained a reputation over the years for its architectural finesse, particularly the ornate lattice work, or what is known as jali in colloquial terminology.
The famous ‘tree of life jali’ or the latticework done the semi-circular arch has become the symbol of Gujarat’s architectural grandeur and has in fact been adopted by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad as their official logo. The elaborate lattice work in the mosque is also the reason why the Indo-Islamic piece of art work is often referred to as the Sidi Saiyyed Ni Jali.
The Gujarat Sultanate had completed the mosque in the final year of its rule. Soon after its completion, Ahmedabad was taken over by Akbar’s army and brought under Mughal regime. The mosque was built by an Abyssinian, Sidi Saiyyed who was from Yemen and it is said that about 45 craftsmen aided him in the process. Built in an Indo-Islamic style of architecture with minarets on the sides and arched windows, the Sidi Saiyyed mosque is believed to be a photographer’s delight apart from being a historian’s source of ecstasy.
While the mosque is at present under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the British it served the purpose of a government office.