Dome of Nakhoda Masjid at Chitpur .Ramadan is the ninth and holy month of the Islamic calender. The followers of Islam (Muslims) abstain from drinking water and eating food from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan or Ramzan. It marks the anniversary of the revelation of their holy book by Prophet Muhammad; Quran.
A young boy selling skull caps .Muslims break their fast after offering Maghrib prayer; the prayer offered just after the sunset. Following to which they eat their evening meal; Iftar. Traditionally, an Iftar must contain three dates which are to be eaten to break the fast. In India many Muslims break their fast by also drinking water.
Fresh fried Jalebi (Jilipi in Bangla ) .
An Iftar platter varies from places to places. In Kolkata , people mostly eat dates, fresh fruits, haleem, samosa (singara), onion pakora (pyaji ),beguni (chickpea flour coated fried finely sliced eggplant), spiced chickpea , kebabs, sweets like jilipi, halwa and firni.
Exterior of Nakhoda Masjid .
Nakhoda Masjid is the key mosque of Kolkata. It was built by a small community of Sunni Muslims from Kutch in the year 1926. The mosque looks similar to the tomb of Sikandra; mausoleum of Akbar the Great. The mosque displays filigree work on red sandstone; one of the popular form of Akbari architecture .
A seller packing rumani vermicelli for his customer.
The threads of rumani are finer than the regular vermicelli and only available during ramadan. It is used to prepare 'Sheer Khurma ' a traditional dessert (vermicelli pudding) on Eid- ul-Fitr .
Imported embroidered skull caps.
Taqiyah or topi ,the rounded skull cap which was introduced by Aurangzeb in India , who used to stitch them during his free time . He even traded these caps during his reign.
The seller displaying the best topi from his stock.
Nakhoda Masjid and lanes (Zakaria street and Rabindra Sarani) connecting to it are one of the major Muslim pockets of Kolkata. During the month of Ramadan, these lanes are crowded with makeshift shops selling dress materials, attar (perfume), skull caps, vermicelli, breads and varieties of food items.
Faiz Ahmed's attar (natural perfume oil) shop at Zakaria street.
Observing sawm or roza (in Central and Soth-East Asia) in the month of Ramadan is one of the basic acts out of five pillars of Islam.
The main gate of Nakhoda Masjid influenced by Buland Darwaza of Fatehpur Sikri .
Haleem, a protein rich savoury is famous in and around Kolkata during Ramadan. Haleem is made from legumes with minced meat (beef or mutton) and consumed after breaking fast. At Aminia , Haleem is particular to Ramadan and it sells like hotcakes in this area.
Haleem at Aminia.