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TABIIR- Creating Hope for Women
Gwalior is a city in central India with a renowned history and a rich patrimony of heritage. While most of the historic monuments in the city are preserved and their traditional value has been left intact; some monuments have not been so fortunate.
The Janani Mosque located in the Hazira region of Gwalior is one of these less fortunate monuments. While it lies in a dilapidated and abandoned state today, in the medieval era it was one of the only mosques in India that was built exclusively for women; who are otherwise not obliged to pray in mosques in Islamism.
In present day, the Mosque does not function as a place of worship and is merely an arcade built in the Mughal Architectural style that has been engulfed by the encroachment of houses surrounding it. Talks with the residents of these houses revealed that they are unaware of the history and cultural significance of the mosque. When the women of this locality were asked whether they wished the Mosque to be reconstructed for them again, they responded teary eyed by elaborating the hardships of their lives due to unavailability of any job opportunities for them. They further spoke about how they made pottery and craft items at home and sold these on the roads in unsafe conditions to feed their families.
Understanding the needs of the community, we came up with a proposal of using the Janani Mosque and the area surrounding it to generate job opportunities for the local women in a safe and dignified environment. The Janani Mosque is located merely 50 metres away from the Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus and Tansen, a popular tourist destination in the city that attracts hundreds of visitors daily.
Subsequently, we have proposed developing the area surrounding the abandoned mosque into a vibrant cultural and recreational space joined to the Tomb complex. The Mosque will be converted into an exquisite Mughal Restaurant to attract visitors from the tourist destination. Various exhibition spaces for women, a performance space, open dinning areas and an OAT will be laid in the Mughal Charbagh Style of Gardens to revive the Mughal aspect of the historic mosque. This will in turn also complement the Mughal ambiance of the popular Tomb Complex.
The Mughal Restaurant in the Arcade will consist of a dining area on the ground floor and an open terrace restaurant on the first floor, accessible by a steel staircase that will be added additionally. Two separate single storied structures will also be constructed beside the main arcade to accommodate the services for the restaurant. In addition to this, the interiors of the restaurant will be carefully crafted keeping a royal theme in mind. The furniture and the choice of colours will portray the luxurious lifestyle of the Mughals and will mesmerise every visitor, compelling them to spend time in this newly developed area and engage commercially and socially with the local community of the region.
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