Champaner is a medieval city ‘frozen in time’.
It’s now been declared a UNESCO heritage city.
On my visit there my first visit was to the Jama Masjid.
located just outside the royal enclosure at Champaner. This beautiful structure is classified architecturally as one o fthe finest mosques of Gujarat by James Fergusson.
I entered the mosque which is raised on a high plinth through it’s main imposing porch , remarkable for its intricate carving and perforated stone screen work.
It occupies a total area of about 66m by 55m. It has an open courtyard with covered cloisters on 3 side of one aisle deep. The prayer hall have five pointed archways, the central higher one is flanked by two slender minarets which rise in five stages to a height of about 30m.
There are small minarets on the four corners and balconied windows of typical Gujarat design.
Now missing there used to be an architectural tablet in the central mihrab fixing date of construction by Sultan Mahmud Begada as 914 AH/ 1508-09 AH.
I had eyes for the mihrab with it’s lovely Kundan earrings design & moved towards it purposefully.
My 84 year old guide Prof Ghanshyam Joshi told me to stop and look up just as I was near the mihrab.
Above me was an exquisite tree of life carving. He said that if I stood under this kalpavraksha in the ceiling of the Jami Masjid Champaner I would feel at peace & my wishes granted. I don’t know what I prayed for but I fell in love with it.
The tree of life knowledge is common Sidraṫ al-Munṫahā or “Lote-Tree of the Utmost Farthest Boundary”) is a tree that marks the end of the 7th heaven the boundary which no creation can pass, according to Islamic beliefs.
On the holy boughs of Sidra
High up in the heavenly fields
Being beyond terrestrial desire
My soul bird a warm nest has built
The kalpavriksha is a dominant artistic theme in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology and cosmology as a wish-fulfilling divine tree.
Trees of life/ immortality have huge symbolism in all major l faiths
Do you not see how God compares a good word to a good tree? Its root is firm and its branches are in the sky; it yields its fruit in every season by God’s leave. God speaks in parables to mankind so that they may take heed. But an evil word is like an evil tree torn out of the earth and shorn of all its roots.
And from the Bible:
He is like a tree planted by a stream of water which yields its fruit in sea- son and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.