Thursday, 7 October 2021

Logo of IIM(A):Inspired By Latticework of Sidi Saiyyad Masjid of Ahmadabad.

The famous ‘Logo of IIM-Ahmadabad’ is inspired by Jaali (Lattice works) on window of Sidi Sayyad Masjid of Ahmadabad.

Lattice work (Jaali's of Sidi Sayyad Masjid of Ahmadabad

This write up is a part of my travelogue of Ahmadabad. We were staying in  a hotel near Laldarwaza.It was first day, while roaming on streets of Ahmadabad, suddenly my ears catched  a call of Azaan (call for prayer) ”Hayya‘alas-Salah,Hayya ‘alal-Falah”, (Come to Prayer, Come to success).


A call of prayer ,mean there is a masjid near by. I enquired off “is there is any Masjid nearby”. A streat vendor told me the location of masjid.   

This Latticework of Sidi Saiyyad Masjid is Logo of IIM-Ahmadabad

Located on a very busy street in the Lal Darwaza area of Ahmedabad, Amidst honking buses, speeding scooters and screeching cars, it stands still and calm at the eastern end of the Nehru Bridge.  the Sidi Saiyyad Masjid a small masjid that, at first glance, does not seem to offer anything extraordinary. If you look closely, though, you will notice the fine lattice windows of the masjid.

A busy road of Ahmadabad

Sidi Saiyyad Masjid is perhaps one of the most well-known Masjid of Ahmedabad, and it's famous ‘Tree of Life Jaali’ or latticework done on the semi-circular arch-windows has come to symbolize the city and its grandeur.


Entrance is from the front of Busy road side. This entrance opens in a forecourt, which consists of a wazoo khana (a small pond for ablutions) on the left, a few graves by the sides, and straight past it, two steps lead to the main prayer hall.

Lattice works of Sidi Saiyyad Masjid-Ahmadabad

The prayer hall is characterized by high arcuated arches supporting a flat roof on top. The jaalis on either side of the central aisle appear on the Qibla wall (the western  wall facing Mecca) and are single-stone slabs carved in floral designs of intertwined trees and foliage and a Date tree keynote.


The famous ‘Tree of life Jali’ or the latticework Done the Semi-Circular Arch.

Of the 10 lattice windows, the one with the ‘Tree of Life’ is the most popular and is known as ‘Sidi Saiyyad ni jaali‘.

Latticework beauty from inside of Sidi Saiyyad Masjid

It is this design that has come to be recognized as symbolizing Ahmedabad, what you will find on tourism brochures and websites about the city. The logo of the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of the country’s premier management institutions, has been inspired by this particular lattice window.


Who Was Sidi Saiyyad?

The masjid was built in 1572-73 AD by a learned Abyssinian called Sidi Saiyyad. Sidi is what Guajarati's called Abyssinian slaves.They came from all over Africa. Different countries like, Yemen, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi and more). Saiyyad is an Arabic honorific title. So this was probably not his real name.


Sidi Saiyyad was in the service of Rumi Khan, the second son of Khudavand Khan Khwaja Safar Salmani, the governor of Surat in the reign of the 10th Sultan of Gujarat Sultan Nassir-ud-Din Mahmud III.

Sidi Saiyyad Masjid from inside 

The Mughals under Akbar ended the Gujarat Sultanate. They added this territory to their massive footprint in India.


Sidi Saiyyad later joined the personal aides of Bilal Jhujhar Khan, the famous Abyssinian general in the army of the last Sultan of Gujarat.


He was also a learned man with a valuable library. Sidi Saiyyad is known as a hero in the history of the Sidi's.   He helped the poor by providing them with food and shelter. He died in 1576 and his tomb lies near the north wall of the compound.

The famous Jaali's or the latticework on window of Sidi Saiyyad Masjid

The masjid is entirely arcuate and is known for its ten intricately carved stone latticework windows (jalis) on the side and rear arches. The rear wall is filled with square stone pierced panels in geometrical designs. 

Indian Institute of Management -Ahmadabad

They make for a breathtaking sight when the sunlight filters through the lattice, with the foliage of trees in the background.

The two bays flanking the central aisle have reticulated stone slabs carved in designs of intertwined trees and foliage and a palm theme.


This intricately carved lattice stone window is the Sidi Saiyyad Jali, the unofficial symbol of city of Ahmedabad and the inspiration for the design of the logo of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.


Today one of Jaali depicting the Tree of Life has become a distinguished symbol of the city of Ahmedabad. The same Jali has also been abstracted for the logo to IIM Ahmedabad. 

The central window arch of the masjid, where one would expect to see another intricate jaali, is instead walled with stone. This is possibly because the masjid was not completed according to plan before the Mughals invaded Gujarat.


The Sidi Saiyyad Masjid is built with yellow sandstone in Indo-Islamic style of architecture.

The End



No comments: