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Participants of the heritage walk in the compound of Darkhana Jamatkhana, the first Jamatkhana established in Mumbai.

There are many Jamatkhanas in India, a handful of which have celebrated over a century of existence. In this article we will explore three of India’s oldest Jamatkhanas, including their histories, architecture, and the role they play in the community today.

Courtyard of the Ismaili Jamatkhana, Atlanta

With the increased arrival of Ismailis into Atlanta in the 1980s, there was a need for a larger permanent building for the community's spiritual and social needs. The Atlanta Ismaili Jamatkhana, located in Decatur, opened in February 1989 as the first purpose-built Ismaili Jamatkhana in the United States.

An early evening view of Gitch Jamatkhana in Singal, Puniyal.

Situated in the mountains of Northern Pakistan, two new Jamatkhanas were opened last month in the valleys of Ishkoman and Puniyal in Gilgit-Baltistan. The inauguration ceremonies were attended by over 5,000 members of the Jamat. 

The Jamat singing traditional songs at the Roz-e-Nur event in New York.

Jamatkhanas and Ismaili Centres play an important role in the lives of the Ismaili community in the USA but they also play a very important role in promoting diversity and pluralism in the communities where they exist.

The Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe.

Good architecture serves its functional purpose and is structurally sound. Great architecture fits seamlessly into its surroundings and awakens the spirit of everyone who interacts with it. Decatur, Georgia, is home to the first permanent Jamatkhana in the United States. It was designed by Farouk Noormohamed, an architect whose 33-year career portfolio includes designing multiple Aga Khan University buildings in Africa and Pakistan, and the award-winning Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

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