The scent of tradition wafts from historic Korome mosque

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Korome mosque is among the oldest religious places in Wayanad district. It is located in an area which saw the earliest Muslim migration to the region. Though there are no historical records suggesting the age of the mosque, the present structure is at least 300 years old. This figure was arrived at considering the time the Athilan family, which built the mosque, migrated to Korome.

Strategic location

Korome was the capital of Thondarnadu, which was ruled by Thondar Nambiar. The area had witnessed the battles the legendary Pazhassy Raja fought. Pazhassy wrote his letter to the Bombay Governor Jonathan Duncan from here.

Korome mosque is along the path taken by several armies who travelled to Mananthavady, via Kuttiadi ghat road, during their campaigns. Bappan, the head of the Athilan family which reached here from Nadapuram, bought the land measuring around 5.50 acre to build the mosque and the graveyard.

The price for the land amounted to Rs 25 and a bottle of ghee. The owner of the land had been Thondar Kannan, the ‘Nambiar’ of ‘East Fort’ at that time. The construction of the mosque was taken up soon and the inauguration is believed to have been conducted by Sainudeen Maqdoom II, the author of ‘Islamic Karmasasthra.’

Pleased over the sale of the land to them, the Athilan family played a major role in the renovation of the temple in the Makkiyad fort. Over several generations since then, the Athilan family took part actively in all the festivals of the temple. The Athilan family exclusively managed the affairs of the mosque till 1950. That year, a popular committee was formed and the mosque administration brought under it.

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Striking architecture

Built in traditional style using mainly wood, the mosque still retains its original structure. The floor is raised from the ground to keep away snakes and other reptiles. To reach the inner area of the mosque, one has to climb several stairs.

The building evokes awe and reflects signs of affluence. There are several beams and pillars made of solid wood. Artwork covers the roof and the peculiarities of the architecture create a feeling of wonder. Numerous ancient lamps hang from the beams of the roof. Walls made of wood separate the inner mosque from the outer. Tiny doors are another attraction.

Stairs near the inner mosque are also a fine example of traditional architecture. On the top floor, there once existed a facility for religious teaching, remains of which can still be seen. In the inner mosque, what strikes a visitor is the intricately carved pulpit. It is adorned with several decorative bells and shines even in the dark.

The pulpit still retains the paint given to it during construction. It is believed that the paint was prepared by crushing various kinds of leaves. Over all these years, no maintenance needed to be carried out on the pulpit. Visitors are amazed over the traditional knowledge of its creators which modern science is yet to unravel.

Historical legacy

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Korome mosque has offered solace to several disconsolate people and spirituality prevails all over the place. There is a pond near the mosque which is connected by a walkway. However, few people use this facility nowadays.

An old handwritten copy of the Holy Prophet’s sayings is another attraction of the mosque. The manuscript’s striking calligraphy makes one wonder whether it is not a printed work.

Considering its historical and religious significance as well as architectural beauty, the Central government has included the Korome mosque in its pilgrim tourism circuit project along with Valliyoorkkavu temple and Pallikkunnu church in Wayanad.

The grave of Athilan Bappan who supervised the construction of the mosque, which still remains an architectural wonder, is adjacent to the mosque premises. In olden days, the mosque used to be illuminated with candles during Eid. Devotees arriving to offer prayers were given a dash of traditional fragrance during the festival days. This custom existed till three generations ago.

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