Toli Masjid

Toli Masjid is located in Ramsingh Pura of the Karwan area of the Old City, on the road which connects Golconda Fort to Purana Pul, Hyderabad, Telangana State, India. It is popularly known as Damri Masjid among the local communities of this region. It is situated on the way to Charminar and just 2km from the Golconda Fort. It is the finest example of Qutub Shahi architecture. On ranks of architecture, this mosque scales next after Mecca Masjid of old city of Hyderabad. The Archeological Survey of India has declared this mosque as heritage site. It received the INTACH award.

In 1671 AD, Toli Masjid or Damri Masjid was built during the region of Abdullah Qutb Shah by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar. He used the assistance of the royal architect of Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah and the architect Mecca Masjid of old city of Hyderabad for building this particular mosque. According to the historians and local legends, in the royal records known as "Gulzar-e-Asafia", there is a special chapter that mentions that while the royal architect was built in a successful manner Mecca Masjid, he was granted one damdi/damri (coin) out of each and every rupee spend on it. The collected sum of amount was thus used by Musa Khan in order to construct Toli Masjid. So this mosque is also known as Damri Masjid by the locals.

It is listed as a state protected monument.The lands endowed to the mosque have been encroached, and the mosque is in a neglected condition.

In Toli Mosque, all the festive days and religious important events are marked with grand celebration with full participation of the local residents and people from both the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Muslim people is large number attend the Friday prayer with lot of dedication and commitment in a religious manner.

The mosque displays considerable Hindu influences in it's style. These include the use of excessive ornamentation, as well as elements such as elephant-tusk brackets and pot-shaped bases for the minarets. The niches in the post and lintel style are similar to those in temples used to accommodate images. Additionally, the parapet wall is decorated with miniature minarets just as miniature shikharas are seen in temples

With a high plinth, Toli Masjid is perfectly built on a high raised platform. The mosque is largely divided into two big halls. It is to be remembered that the outer halls has five-arched openings. On the other hand, among five outer arches, the middle arch is wider slightly and more uniquely ornate. It is to be highly noted that two minarets of approximately 20 meters each rightly flank the edifice with a lot of perfection. On top, the parapets comprise a set of miniature arches with screens of perforated shapes of different special designs. With beautiful lotus medallions in the spandrels, there are five attractive arches. The unique inscription in the hall of prayer reveals that Musa Khan built this building structure for religious purpose. The upper portion of this particular mosque is attractively well-decorated in a religious manner. The parapet comprises of a set of arched with jali screens of different styles and patterns. All these said features adds additional beauty and attractiveness to this mosque when compared with other mosque of this region and rest of India. The local people give good respect to its architectural significance and have taken steps to preserve in its historical form in all means to a great extent.

Toli Masjid Stepwell
While the Telangana government restored the 17th century Bansilalpet stepwell to its former glory, the structure surrounding the 350-year-old stepwell, built as part of Toli Masjid during the reign of 7th Qutb Shah ruler Abduallah Qutub Shah, is in shambles.

As one enters the open premises of Toli Masjid in Ramsingh Pura of the Karwan area of the Old City, debris can be seen floating inside a walled structure filled with stagnated algae-covered green water.

The stepwell, which is approximately 35 metres deep and has a flight of around 130 steps inside, is now almost invisible because its surface is filled with algae water, liquor bottles, and furniture foam floating on the well's surface.

The stepwell, which is protected by the state heritage department, was built to supply water to the mosque. Locals recalled how water from the stepwell was used for drinking purposes around 50 years ago, and how children used to swim in the well, which was now dying slowly.

"People from nearby liquor shops have been dumping liquor bottles and even foam from the surrounding furniture workshops," said Abu Bakar Bakulka, pointing to the stepwell.

"Because the premises are unattended and unsupervised, there is no one to intervene and protect this centuries-old structure. People come and throw garbage after late evenings when no one is around."

Afzaluddin Farooqui, joint secretary of Toli Masjid Committee, stated that a complaint was filed with the relevant authorities about three years ago, but there was no response and no further action was taken.

"We filed a written complaint with the heritage department, requesting that the entire mosque area be protected and the stepwell be restored. Because the monument is a government-protected site, all activities are prohibited. We attempted to clean the stepwell but were denied due to the restrictions. The authorities are not taking any action, and we are not permitted to do any cleaning. The situation gets worse during monsoons when the stepwell overflows. The aquifers are still active inside the well, and if it is restored to its original state, water can be provided for the mosque again," Farooqui explained.

Authorities had only placed a concrete sheet over a portion of the stepwell, beneath which was a massive hollow indicating how the stepwell was collapsing on the inside.