Sidi Saiyyed in Ahmedabad - the most beautiful mosque of the city!

Sidi Saiyyed (Saiyed) Mosque is arguably one of most well known mosques of Ahmedabad, and it's famous ‘Tree of Life Jali’ or latticework done on the semicircular arch-windows has come to symbolise the city and its grandeur.

I have been to the mosque several times in the past during my NID days, and loved it every time. Its a relatively small mosque in a rather busy part of Ahmedabad, yet the peace you can feel here is unparalleled

No longer in Ahmedabad, sharing below an account of my recent visit there.

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad IIM Logo sayed sayeed saiyed
Tree of Life - the inspiration for IIM Ahmedabad's logo

History of the Mosque

The Sidi Saiyed Mosque was commissioned by the last Gujarat Sultanate and was completed in the last year of it’s rule, before the Mughals from Delhi defeated them and took over the city. Gujarat Sultanate can be credited for much of the most amazing Islamic architecture not only in Ahmedabad but also much of Gujarat. The mosques built in their era rival some of the best in the country, and possibly in the world as well.

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad panorama sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
Panoramic view of the mosque
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad interiors column sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
A view of the corridor

It was built in the year 1572-73 by an Abyssinian known as Sidi Saeed or Sidi Saiyyed. He came to Gujarat from Yemen and later served Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Madmud III. He was known as the nobleman who helped the poor and had a large collection of books. He built this magnificent monument during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah III, the last ruler of Gujarat. 

The mosque was used as a Government office during the British rule. In 1880 CE paper casts of the carved screen were taken and two wooden models were made for the Museum of Kensington and New York.

Architectural Style

The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is built with yellow sandstone in Indo-Islamic style of architecture. 

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Jali inside tree of life sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
Beautiful yellow sandstone columns and windows
The front of the mosque is actually fairly simple with two minarets on the sides (the minarets have fallen now and only the base exists), while the back wall is where all the jalis are. The wazu (ablution) pond is a small one, unlike the Jama Masjid. However, it still presents some interesting photographic opportunities. You can view the jalis from the front of the mosque, but if you want to take good shots, exit the mosque and go to its back side and take pictures from there. You will get a much cleaner shot.

The famous Jalis

Now coming back to the stunning Jalis at Sidi Saiyyed Mosque once again. There are a total of eight arched windows which are adorned with these stone carved intricate jalis. It is believed that a total of 45 craftsmen worked on these day in and day out to finish on time. However, just when it was getting completed, Ahmedabad fell to the Mughals, and the last window in the centre of the back wall was left without a jali. I have my own theory that this was the most ambitious jali planned as this was going to take the centerstage and that’s the reason it had to be abandoned due to lack of time. We can only imagine what it would have looked it had the Mughals delayed their invasion by another year.

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Jali IIM Logo tree of life sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
The four most famous Jalis
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Jali backside sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
View of the Jalis from the back - notice the central empty arch-window

Today one of Jali depicting the Tree of Life has become a distinguished symbol of the city of Ahmedbaad. The same Jali has also been abstracted for the logo to IIM Ahmedabad.

A recent visit

I have been going to the mosque for the last many years, but it was only during my recent visit to Ahmedabad that I actually took pictures there. All the mosques in the city are extremely open to visitors and photography. You must leave the footwear before you enter the main mosque area and then you are free to either pray or click. The maulvi is also generally very friendly, and its worthwhile to pick a conversation with him and him about the mosque and the challenges with maintaining it well. 

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Kids children sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
My new friends poising for me :)
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Meeting sayed sayeed masjid islam muslim
A meeting underway

This time when I was there, a session was going on where young Muslim boys were asking the maulvi questions and he was explaining the various concepts of Islam to them. I was initially apprehensive of entering the mosque in the middle of the session and simply looked at him with a confused face. he nodded and allowed me in to take pictures. I was very touched, but not at all surprised, by this. People in Ahmedabad are the friendliest lot and that’s true for people from all faiths.

How to reach?

Its very easy to locate the mosque. If you coming by auto you can simply tell him the name or ask him to take you to Roopalee theater (now defunct). Its also very close to Lal Darwaza, the main bus stand for local buses in Ahmedabad. 

Timings

Like all other mosques, Friday is the most important mass prayer, however, tourists are requested not to make a visit at that particular time. On Sundays there are often special sessions when the youngsters come for conversations with the elders and get clarifications about the Holy book or any other doubt.

The mosque opens early in the morning and closes after evening’s last namaz.

As far as the seasons go, winters are certainly the best time to be in Ahmedabad. So if you planning a trip, try to plan it between November - February.

What else can you do?

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque mosque is right opposite House of MG, which serves some of the best food in town. It’s a little pricey so make a decisions about going there based on that. If you go to the mosque in the morning or the afternoon and willing to spend some money, check out The Green House on the ground floor of House of MG. Its a great place for snacks and chai, and the ambience is also very inviting.

If you have some more energy to explore Ahmedabad you can check out two more places close by - Relief Road or Teen Darwaza. My favourite is Teen Darwaza and its easily walkable if the weather is good. You will be exposed to the real Amdavadi heritage in the area and it also presents tremendous opportunities for street photography. You can head out to Manek Chowk or go for a walk in the Pols (old residential quarters of Ahmedabad). If you are confused, drop me an email and I can hep with you all this :)

Other Mosques in Ahmedabad

I love visiting mosques and sharing the stories on my blog. Read about some other mosques in and around Ahmedabad on my blog:
 
1. Jumma Masjid in Ahmedabad
2. Pir Kamal ki Masjid in Ahmedabad
3. Mosques of Dholka 
4. Mosques of Champaran

Comments

  1. it's truly beautiful! those arched windows - the tree! - are wonderful!

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  2. Thank
    you for sharing your time, your knowledge and your wonderful blog!!! Thank
    you., More Blessings and *GOD BLESS*
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    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never been inside a mosque. I didn't think they allowed visitors. It's quite beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. mosque is for everyone they will never disalllowed anyone u shud visit

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  4. Hello, I love
    reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you
    and wish you a good continuation. Wish you best of luck for all your best
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  5. Depends a lot on the place. Most mosques in this city are very open-minded and allow all visitors...

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  6. Absolutely! They are all so gorgeous :)

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  7. Hari OM
    Astounding beauty - one cannot help but liken the very best of the stained glass windows of European churches - somehow the more ancient, the more incredibly intricate and one wonders at the skills which have been diminished... YAM xx

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  8. Nice one Sid. Btw, are women allowed inside too?

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  9. Very nice pictures Sid. Good to see your blog after a long time!


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  10. Thanks man! So good to see you here after ages...where have you been? How has life been?

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  11. Wonderful Jalis and architecture. Nice post.

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  12. I have visited this place and must say, the best jali work I've ever seen. It was early morning, so not much people around. People give life to any picture. :-)

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  13. This is a really nice post :)
    Do you by any chance know why would the IIM-A take up the jali as their logo?

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  14. Maybe because it means the tree of life...not sure though...

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  15. I agree...one of the best even I have seen. I love people in my frames too :)

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  16. Thank you so much!!!! I am preparing my third trip to India from Buenos Aires, Argentina and your blog is really so intersting, I am already in there thanks to you. We will travel 10 days around Gujarat , do you recomend somethin specially?

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    Replies
    1. 10 days is good and you can see a lot. I hope you are coming in winters though :)

      You can spend half the time in Kutch, which is the northern part of Gujarat and is the hub for community and villages based crafts. It's a lovely place and one of my fav - go to Mandvi, Dholavira, Bhuj and as many small villages around as possible.

      Ahmedabad is a nice place to explore and also Champaran which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. If you are interested in wildlife , go to Gir (the only place where you can see Asiatic lions). There is so much more as well...do have a look at the Gujarat section of the blog :)

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  17. I'm writing a paper on the architecture of Ahmedabad and this post definitely gave me a wonderful insight about this noteworthy building. Thank you!

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  18. It is so beautiful and your blog is very informative . Just a query for my own knowledge. ...was the builder and visionary behind this mosque a Sunni or Shia.

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  19. Gives exhaustive details about the 'Jalis'. Really Informative!!

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