Riyadh: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today gifted King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala.
Situated in Thrissur district, the Cheraman Juma Masjid is believed to be the first mosque built in India by Arab traders around 629 AD, and symbolic of active trade relations between India and Saudi Arabia since ancient times.
According to oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal was the Chera King and a contemporary of the Holy Prophet who went to Arabia and embraced Islam after meeting the Holy Prophet at Mecca. Some years later, he sent letters to his relatives and the ruling chieftains of Malabar through his friends Malik bin Dinar and Malik bin Habib who, along with their companions, were then given permission by the local rulers to build the mosque at Kodungallur.
The mosque has an ancient oil lamp that is always kept burning and believed to be over a thousand years old. People from all religions bring oil for the lamp as an offering.