Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque (Colombo Red Mosque)

Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, popularly known as Rathu Palliya, lit: Red Mosque or Red Musjid (Sinhala: කොලඹ කොටුව රතු පල්ලිය, Tamil: கொழும்பு புறக்கோட்டை சம்மாங்கோடு பள்ளிவாசல்) is a mosque located at No. 228, Bankshall Street in Pettah in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The mosque was designed in 1908 by H.L. Saibo Lebbe as a place of worship for the Bohra Muslim community of Indian origin living on the island (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). The construction work of the mosque ended in 1909 (Rajapakshe, 2018).
In the beginning, the mosque had a capacity of a congregation of about 1,500 devotees (Rajapakshe, 2018). In 1975, it was expanded allowing a congregation of about 10,000 devotees to pray at the mosque at any given time (Rajapakshe, 2018).

The two-storied mosque building is the main attraction with an aesthetic value. It has been ornate with red and white coloured stripes, chequers and spirals giving a vivid appearance to the building. The towers which rise to the skyward bear pomegranate fruit-shaped domes and are adorned with Islamic symbols. The total design of the mosque seems to be influenced by Indo-Islamic architecture (Rajapakshe, 2018). Altering its original appearance, some parts have been added to the mosque building later.

The Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (constructed in 1910) is said to have features similar to the Red Mosque in Pettah (Rajapakshe, 2018).


1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.133.
2) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.42.
3) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.68.

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This page was last updated on 24 June 2023
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