Where is this mosque located?This mosque is located in the Khaplu, a district of Baltistan division some 100 kilometers from the Skardu city, and is known as the oldest mosque in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan as well.
Who did lay the foundation of the mosque?The construction of the mosque dates back to 1370 AD. The foundation of the mosque was laid down by a religious preacher, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, who by his preach and deeds, converted the people to Islam. Syed Ali Hamdani was a Sufi from the Hamdan city of Iran, and according to some sources a descendant of Hazrat Ali (AS) [Muhammad's cousin and first Imam of Shia Muslims], who traveled from Iran to India, Afghanistan and up to Tajikistan preaching and converting the people to Islam. He died in Kunar city of Afghanistan and was buried in Khatlan, a city in present-day Tajikistan.
Tributing his exemplary services in the preaching of Islam, Allama Iqbal (the national poet of Pakistan) wrote about him.
Architecture of Mosque
The ground floor and the design of windows tell us about the Tibetan design. In Tibetan design carving on wood was common and such is done with the windows. If you look closer you would find wood carved for every small piece of window frames like the apron, rail, muntin, and stile, everything will be carved and beautiful designs would be made on them. The windows are smaller in size to cope with the freezing breeze of the Karakoram because in winter the temperature in the valley plunges to freezing point and sometimes below -20-degree celsius.
The upper story has a balcony around the praying room. If you observe you would find such balconies in the old buildings of Baltistan. It was common to have such balconies designed of the wood frames for the passage of the air in the summer. Also, in the case of Mosque, it would have been helpful to have gathered and listened to the preacher in sunny days of summer.
In past, many forts and even small dwelling units would construct by using wood as the building material in place of modern day concrete and steel rods. The whole hollow frame of the building would first be constructed and then mud blocks would be used as filling material. But now the availability of the wood is one of the issues and people can't think of constructing such marvelous buildings.