Chhoto Sona Masjid

Rajshahi & Rangpur

Built between 1493 and 1526, the well-preserved ‘Small Golden Mosque’ is oddly named, given that it’s actually jet black with just patches of terracotta brickwork. It’s a fine specimen of pre-Mughal architecture, the chief attraction being the superb decoration carved on the black-stone walls. On both the inner and outer walls, ornate stonework in shallow relief covers the surface. It also features an ornate women’s gallery, arched gateways and lavishly decorated mihrabs (niches facing Mecca). Buses from Rajshahi stop beside it.

This living mosque draws in large crowds for Friday prayers, but outside prayer time it’s fine for non-Muslims to enter. This mosque is usually just referred to as ‘Sona Masjid’ – the Chhoto (small) prefix is in context to a Bodo (big) Sona Masjid that stands on the other side of the nearby international border, in the Indian part of Gaud.