Chembitta Palli (Mosque)

Chembitta Palli (Mosque)   

Built between 1520 and 1540, Chembitta Palli, located in the Kochangadi region of Mattancherry, is one of the oldest mosques in Kochi. The land was gifted by the King of Kochi to build a mosque. Syed Moulana Bukhari Thangal, who hailed from Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, was the main person behind the construction of the mosque. The name Chembitta Palli came from the malayalam word chembu which means copper. The outer ceiling of the mosque is laid with copper sheets, and hence the mosque got its name from its structure. It is now a protected heritage building.

The Muslim community named ‘Naina’ is closely associated with Chembitta Palli. Nainas pray at this mosque and they have special rights over the functioning of the mosque. Local oral narratives indicate that the forefathers of the Nainas came to Kochi centuries ago from Nineve, a place in Arabia and that the name Naina is derived from the word Nineve. Another strand in such narratives says that they bear the heritage of the great warrior Kunjali Marakkar, who fought against the Portuguese. This mosque has been constructed in the Kerala style of architecture.


The Mosques of Kochi by Patricia Tusa Fels

Elegy to Kochi’s Islamic architecture