Not much has been written on the Jamia mosque of Lakhidar. A few scholars gave passing remarks in their articles on the builder of the mosque. There are different conflicting references to the construction of the mosque. According to Habibullah Moula Bakhsh Bhutto (1995), the author of Suhno Shahar Shikarpur, it was built by Muhabat Khan, the governor of Shikarpur, by order of the Mughal governor of Multan Prince Muizuddin. Others state that it was built by Sadat Khan Pathan during the reign of the Durranis over Shikarpur. One does not find the name of Sadat Khan in the list of governors or Nawabs of Shikarpur under the Durranis when reading a well-researched article Shikarpur Ji Subai Ain Zilai Haseyat by Naqsh Nayab Mangi, which was published in the book Shikarpur Sadeen Kha’n. This book was compiled by Dr. Abdul Khaliq ‘Raaz’ Soomro and was assisted by Naqsh Nayab Mangi in 1988. Haseeb Nayab Mangi the son of Naqsh Nayab Mangi writes in his unpublished work Shikarpur Tarikhi and Tahkeeqi Mutalyo that when one reads the history of Shikarpur, one does not find the names of Muhabat Khan and Sadat Khan as governors of Shikarpur under the Durranis. This seems to be distorted history. Everyone used the same information while discussing and describing the origin and history of the Jamia mosque Lakhidar.
In 1745, the Kalhoras wrested Shikarpur from the Daudpotas and later Ahmed Shah Abdali annexed it to his kingdom. He appointed governors who ruled Shikarpur. The Durranis ruled Shikarpur from 1747 to 1824 when it was supplanted by the Talpurs, who ruled Shikarpur from 1824 to 1843. The Talpurs also appointed their governors for Shikarpur. The first governor of Shikarpur under the Talpurs was Syed Kazim Shah son of Ismail Shah. Syed Zain ul Abidin, the younger brother of Syed Kazim Shah, was the second governor of Shikarpur to be appointed by the Talpurs in 1833. The third governor was Diwan Shahamat Jethmal, who ruled Shikarpur till 1843, when the British supplanted the Talpur dynasty.
I believe that the Jamia mosque Lakhidar was first built under the administration of the Daudpotas, who ruled the city from 1617 to 1745. They were also the founders of Shikarpur. Later, it may have been expanded and renovated by the Durranis. The Talpurs may have rebuilt the mosque as the present architecture of the mosque appears to be of the Talpur period rather than the Durrani period. The Jamia mosque also underwent frequent renovation during the British period.
The Jamia mosque is adjacent to Lakhidar, hence it is called the Jamia mosque Lakhidar. There are two entrances to the mosque. The main entrance of the mosque is from the eastern side. There is also an entrance from the northern side. One enters the spacious courtyard through the eastern entrance which further leads to a covered wooden verandah. Three doorways from the covered verandah lead to the interior of the mosque. The interior of the Jamia mosque Lakhidar was painted. Now the paint work is lost due to frequent renovation. However, it has survived on the central domed ceiling of the mosque. Pastel colours were used to paint the central domed ceiling of the mosque. These pastel colours were commonly used in Talpur-period monuments in Khairpur, and the best specimen is the tomb of Golo Shah Kaheri (d. 1821), a general of Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur (d. 1830). The tomb of Golo Shah Kaheri is located in Qadir Bakhsh ja Quba in Rohri taluka in the Sukkur district.
It is a three-domed structure. The central dome of the mosque is larger than the flanking ones. The distinctive features of the mosque are corner turrets and an ornamental lantern. Two turrets also rise from the parapet wall in front of the central dome. The distinctive feature of the central dome is the ornamental lantern. This is probably the first mosque in Shikarpur city to have received such an ornamental lantern. The style of the ornamental lantern is also suggestive and indicative of the period when the mosque was built. This type of lantern was more common in the buildings constructed during the Kalhora (1700-1783) and Talpur (1783-1843) periods. It also appeared in buildings constructed during the British period in Sindh.
Broadly speaking, ornamental lanterns can be classified into three types: the true lantern, the false lantern, and the imitation of the false lantern. A true lantern has arched openings whereas a false one has blind arched panelling. The third type is an imitation of the latter, but has no arched panelling and is accentuated by masonry lines making an octagonal lantern. The top of this lantern sometimes is in the form of a lotus bud or false miniature cupola, which is locally called shamadan (lantern) – which I have discussed in detail in my article “Ornamental Lanterns On Kalhora Tombs in Sindh” published in The Friday Times – Naya Daur.
The two types of lanterns, true and false, have been provided in several tombs which are located in different parts of Sindh. All these lanterns are octagonal. Several domes on the tombs of the Kalhora and Talpur periods are surmounted with ornamental lanterns, especially those of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro (d. 1753), Shah Baharo and three tombs of the Thahims at Dakhan. At present, there is no lantern over the dome of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro: it may have been damaged and removed during the repair of the tomb.
All three lanterns of the Thahim tombs were broken. Recently, however, the tombs have been renovated and the lanterns have also been repaired.
The tomb of Mangho Faqir Jatoi was the first structure to receive the ornamental lantern which was built during the reign of Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro (1701-1719). Mango Faqir Jatoi served Mian Din Muhammad Kalhoro (d. 1699) and later Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro (d.1719). Now the ornamental lantern is broken, but its base is still extant. According to Henry Cousens (1998), the author of Antiquities of Sind, the Bhando tomb near Rato Dero, built in 1740 during the reign of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro, is also surmounted with a lantern.
A lantern also appears on the domes of the mosques in various districts of Sindh. Lanterns were first used in the Mughal monuments of Sukkur and Rohri. Masjid Manzilgah was probably the first Mughal monument in Sukkur to receive an ornamental lantern which falls in the category of the false lantern that I discussed above. This mosque was built by Mir Muhammad Masoom Bakhari (d. 1605). Likewise, the dome of the mosque of Nawab Mir Yaqub Ali Khan Rizvi (d. 1680) at Rohri is also surmounted with an ornamental lantern. The most splendid ornamental lantern appears on the central dome of the Musa Shah Jilani Mosque which is located in Ghotki town.
The central dome of the mosque of Mir Shahdad (d. 1796) son of Jam Nindo Talpur at Qubo Shahdad in Shahpur Chakar in the Sanghar district is also surmounted with an ornamental lantern.
The Jamia mosque of Mehboob Jo Bungalow in Miro Khan in the Kamber-Shahdadkot district is also noted for painted murals and an ornamental lantern. The Jamia mosque of Mehbob Jo Bungalow was built by Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sangi: a landlord and pious person who laid the foundation of the mosque in 1835. I have discussed in detail about this mosque in the article “Grand Mosque of Mehboob Jo Bungalow” which appeared in TFT-ND.
The most elegant ornamental lanterns can be seen in the Jamia mosque Hyderpur Wagho in the Jacobabad district. This mosque was built by the landlord of the village Hyder Wagho son of Qaisar Khan Wagho in 1319 AH/ 1902 AD. It is a three-domed mosque. All three domes of the mosque are surmounted with these lanterns.
Therefore, the Jamia mosque Lakhidar of Shikarpur was probably rebuilt during the tenure of a governor under Talpur rule in Shikarpur.