Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Masjid in Manali


Recently I read an article in yahoo gallery about the Great Mosques Around the World (http://my.news.yahoo.com/photos/images-great-mosques-around-the-world-slideshow/lakemba-mosque-sydney-australia-photo-1345276815.html#crsl=%252Fphotos%252Fimages-great-mosques-around-the-world-slideshow%252Fmazar-e-sharif-mosque-afghanistan-photo-1345276816.html) . It showed pictures of 55 mosques from all around the world  from Afghanistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India and Egypt to Peru, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. I was happy to see even mosques from my place, Kerala like Ponnani and Kodungalore among the list. All these mosques  beamed with beauty and heritage. The images  showed the towering minarets  that bearing witness  to the architectural magnificence of the Islamic culture.This article reminded me one of the mosques I recently visited.


Nature at the Best - Road to Manali

During last Eid Al Fitr, I and my friend decided have a trip with our families to the famous hill station of North India, Manali. Since the day of Eid is only finalised after sighting  the cresent, we were not sure when to leave for Manali. Since we had only limited  time  to  leave, we decided to celebrate Eid in Manali. We started our journey from Chandigarh by afternoon hoping to reach there by night fall so that we could spend the Eid next day. Since it was monsoon, we had intermittent rain and the road was treacherous. But the picturesque mountains and valleys made us forget the toils of the journey. Just as we crossed about 150 km our car broke down and we had to wait about 2 hours for another vehicle to be sent. Even though this decreased our morale a bit, the green carpeted mountains topped by cotton like clouds and the pleasant weather urged us forward. We reached Manali late night a bit tired. Manali being a famous tourist spot we expect to find a mosque to attend the Eid prayer without much difficulty. I tried to search in the internet during the journey for mosques in Manali. But to my dismay, I could only find one reference to a masjid at Manali , that too without much details. However, we were optimistic to spot one in the early morning.
 
Cloud topped valleys

I and my friend woke up early and took the cab to search for the masjid in Manali. The first person we asked didn’t even understand the word masjid and we had to explain to him that is was a place of workship of Muslims. But he was unaware of any such place. We then proceeded  through the narrow road of the valleys in Manali and found a person who knew of a mosque located about 8 Km away. We were happy to hear this as we were  getting worried about missing the prayer. We travelled forward looking for minarets which are a common architectural symbol of mosques world-wide. My friend was fascinated by the apple orchards by the road side and expressed his desire to pluck one and eat it fresh. We passed 10 Km without seeing any sign of the mosque. When we asked another person, he told us that we passed the mosque about a kilometre. So we returned the path and as we reached the mentioned site we were told to just to go a little forward. As we proceeded we saw a man in kurtha and beard with a muslim cap standing in front of a gate. However we could not see any sign of the mosque. We enquired him about the Eid prayer and he happily invited us inside. As we entered there were a group of kashimiri looking people crowded in front of a small shed. They wore the traditional kurtha and sweater, some of them wearing caps. Their dresses were shabby with dust and dirt and many of them were torn and stitched at many places. I remembered arguing with my colleague for not buying new clothes for Eid as it is a tradition to wear new clothes on auspicious day. In my childhood, my father used to send money to buy new clothes and my mother took us to the readymade shopping centre to buy the latest designed dresses. Eid was a busy time for the cloth shops. In my place every person would wear new dress that the usually barren mosque turned into a carnival like state. The frangrance of costly perfumes filled the air. The youngsters indulged in various leisures and spent most of their time in enjoying. I learned that these where labourers mostly from Kashmir who have settled in Manali to earn their livelihood. Their daily wages would only suffice to be sent home to their families. Most of them had the tiredness of previous day’s work on their faces, let alone the dust on their bodies. The stench from their bodies made me wonder whether they had a bath or not. I felt sad for them, for they had to celebrate Eid away from their families.


Apple yard


Apples
The shed in front of which we were standing was the famous mosque of Manali we were searching for. It neither had a Minaret, nor the Magnificence of the great mosques, but was truly one of the greatest mosques in the world. It was the not only the only mosque in Manali , but also the only place of light for those poor souls. Even though it did not have the glitter and glamour, the presence and prayers of these people made the mosque beautiful. More and more people came in buses from various parts of Manali and slowly the scene gathered momentum. We made ablution and entered the mosque. Even though it was a small hall, the inside was beautifully arranged. The small room quickly filled and the rest of the devotees had to pray in the mats laid outside in the drizzle. The prayer was delayed for about an hour as more people had to come from distant places. It was understandable as there was no other mosque around for them to pray. After the prayer people started hugging each other which is a common practise. I felt reluctant to hug them as their shabby appearance repulsed me. However, I shook hands with them to share the happiness. In between the crowd I could see some children who were dressed in pretty frocks. An announcement was made that a Hajji, who owned the mosque had arranged free breakfast for all who came. We prayed for the person and for the people and their family and left place with a heavy heart. I had earlier planned to join my parents in Qatar for Eid, but could not renew my passports in time. I was a little disheartened due to this. May be God wanted to remind me that there is Eid beyond the new cloths, sweets and carnivals.

By the eldest son


Inside of the mosque
People hugging each other after the prayer in front of the mosque
Entrance of the mosque
By the eldest son

3 comments:

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  2. aslkm brother,

    my name is shahber khan. I am from delhi. I also have plans to enjoy eid in manali this year.
    can you please give me a detailed description of the way to the masjid from the bus stop.
    please reply to my email mentioned below.

    my email address is : shahber.khan1@gmail.com

    jazakallah khair.

    ReplyDelete
  3. asslamalikum.. bro...
    actually me n ma frnz r planning 2 go 2 manali nxt month...so can u jst tell wer exactly is d masjid n how could we reach der. so that it would be helpful fo us to offer r jumma n othr salah..plzzz...

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