The Mosque of Menara Kudus

The Al-Aqsa Mosque which is located in Kudus, Central Java, was founded in 1549 by Sunan Kudus, one of the Wali Songo who spread Islam in Java. This mosque is well known as the Mosque of Menara Kudus. The mosque has a unique design, which is a combination between Hindu and Islamic cultures. The mosque, but has a tower with a temple-shaped and has some various Hindu style ornaments.

The mosque of Menara Kudus had been renovated several times until it was changed. There are some real evidences of the assimilation of Hindu and Muslim. The most interesting is the 18-meters high tower made of red bricks. The placement of “bedug” (a kind of traditional drum) and “kentongan” (percussion instrument made of wood or bamboo) at the head of the tower is rarely found in traditional Javanese mosque, but similar to the tower of kul-kul in Bali, where the people are Hindus. But, at the top of the tower there is a kind of “Mustoko” as exists in Javanese mosques. Also the existence of the corridor called “Pradaksinapatta” at the foot of the tower that is often found in Hindu temples.

There is an ancient shallow pool next to the mosque. In the middle of the pool, there is an ancient ablution place made of red brick. The unique, there are eight showers head cow-shaped ancient statues. Cows are glorified animals by Hindus. It is said, as a form of tolerance, Sunan Kudus prohibited the slaughtering of cows, and it applies today.

The ancient ablution place

Another interesting thing is the decoration of ceramic plates on the wall of tower and gates. That said, two of the few ceramic decoration in the mosque tower are made in Vietnam around the 15th century. As we know, the Vietnamese in general are  Hindu and Buddhist. It is become interesting because the Vietnamese ceramic plate production at that time was mounted on the wall of a worship place of Muslims.
In the back of the mosque there is the tomb of Sunan Kudus that always visited by pilgrims. Sadly, I did not have an opportunity to go inside there.

The uniqueness of the architecture of this mosque is fascinating. It illustrates the relationship of tolerance and harmony among religions at that time.

The 18-meters high tower made of red bricks.

The tower’s door

The original gates in front of the renovated mosque

Ceramic plates decorating the tower’s wall

Another gates

The tower in the morning

He must be tired and fall asleep there.. 🙂

**I took some pictures on 13 November 2011 using  Nikon D3000, and the others on 8 June 2012 using Canon EOS 600D.

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33 comments

    1. makasih udah mampir..
      masjidnya sangat unik, bentuk toleransi beragama saat itu..
      sayangnya 2x ksana ga sempat blusukan sampai dalam..

      btw, kalo ke kudus jangan lupa cicipi sate kerbau & lentog jl. tanjung… 🙂

      Like

  1. kenapa pas motret aku gak lewat. meski tiap hari wira wiri melintas di depan menara gak pernah blusak blusuk ke dalam. hanya satu kali pas esde masuk ke dalam. saya sedih kalau masa puncak ziarah kotaku sangat kotor, sampah yg dibuang sembarangan.

    Like

  2. Thanks for sharing Sigoese, it is very heavy looking Architecture but perhaps it needs to be solid, with being a woman I appreciate more artistic ornate Architecture.

    How sad though that they reject God’s animal blessings for their food, yes some Animals are for work, they help us, even the blind, some are Pets and others are given to us for food to eat, none are to be worshiped, yes appreciated and we Thank God for them but they are not equal to Mankind, they were not made in God’s likeness, they are of a lower order.

    Blessings – Anne

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