Triplicane, the oldest Islamic settlement in Chennai, bustles with activity now. The spirit of Ramzan is witnessed in every lane of the locality, as shops selling burkhas, Qurans and other necessities have mushroomed. The location of the Big Mosque, the oldest mosque tracing its origin to 1794, adds glory to Triplicane.
Big Mosque is famous for its Mughal architecture and the less known, fascinating story of its chronogram. Chronograms are inscriptions where specific letters can be interpreted as numerals to signify a date or a period. “The numerical value assigned to each letter in the text will reflect the year of composition of the chronogram when summed. The chronogram at the Big Mosque Dhikrullahi Akbar (Remembrance of God is great) gives the year of construction as 1209 Hijri, translating it to 1794 CE,” said Historian S Anwar, who conducts a Ramzan Heritage walk at Triplicane.
We captured the Ramzan mood at Triplicane and spoke to the historians and locals to understand the relevance of the festival:
(with inputs from Laasya Shekhar)