Shah Jahan being a great patron of architecture erected many magnificent monuments like the world-famous Taj Mahal, the magnificent Red Fort of Delhi etc. One such marvellous example of architectural magnificence is Jama Masjid of Delhi. Jama Masjid is one of the biggest mosques of India.
Jama Masjid was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Its construction started in the year 1644 & was completed in the year 1656. This magnificent monument was built at a cost of 1 million rupees. This colossal mosque can accommodate as many as 25,000 people in its courtyard.
History of Jama Masjid:
After Shah Jahan moved his capital to Delhi from Agra, he decided to build a new city called Shahjahanabad which is today’s old Delhi. The Magnificent mosque of Jama Masjid was part of that city.
Originally, the mosque was built exclusively for the royal family and until the end of the Mughal period it was only used by the Royal family. Jama Masjid is one the last monuments built by Shah Jahan.
The construction of the mosque completed in the year 1656. Shah Jahan invited the Imam of Bukhara to inaugurate this mosque. The mosque was originally named Masjid – i –Jahan Numa which translates to ‘mosque commanding view of the world’. Later it came to be known as Jama Masjid.
It took over 5000 workers to erect this beautiful structure in the heart of Delhi. This gigantic project was supervised by Saadullah Khan, the Wazir of Shah Jahan. Jama Masjid was designed by talented architect Ustad Khail.
In 1857 after the victory of the British in the revolt of 1857, they took over the Jama Masjid and moved their soldiers in there. In order to punish the people, the British even try to demolish the mosque but could not do so due to the strong opposition of the act.
Many people have made generous donations for the maintainance and upkeep of this monument. One such example is of Nizam Of Hyderabad. When Nizam of Hyderabad was asked to contribute a sum of Rs 75000 for the renovation of one-fourth part of the mosque. Instead, he generously contributed Rs 3 lakh so that entire mosque could be renovated.
Architecture of Jama Masjid:
Jama Masjid is built in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. It is built using red sandstone and marble. There are many beautiful features in this magnificent piece of architecture like the beautifully carved arches that attract one’s attention as soon as they enter the complex.
The entire structure of the Masjid is built on a stone platform. It has three entrances towards north, south and east, of these the entrance of the east side was the biggest and was used by the king as the royal entrance. Now a days the royal entrance is open only on weekends.
The mosque is built facing west i.e. towards the sacred city of Mecca. The length of the mosque is about 80 meters and the width is about 27 meters. The floor plan of Jama Masjid Delhi is similar to Jama Masjid Agra. The floor of the masjid is covered with black and white marbles; these are marked with black border creating 899 small boxes for the devotees. These had a length of 3 feet and a width of 1.5 feet each. The Mosque had a madrasa in its complex but it was demolished during the revolt of 1857.
Jama Masjid is topped with 3 domes. The primary structure is flanked by two 40-meter-high minarets (these consists of 130 steps). These five-storey minarets are built using red sandstone and marble. The first three storeys are built of red sandstone, fourth is built using marble and the fifth is built using sandstone. Each storey has a projected balcony and the adjacent structures are adorned with beautiful calligraphy.
The mosque houses a pool made of marble in the middle of the courtyard; before going for the prayer the devotees use this for the purpose of ablutions.
A notable feature of the mosque is that it houses relics of Muhammad like his sandals, his footprints printed on marble, red hair from his beard and Quaran written on deerskin.
The mosque is adorned beautifully with intricate carvings, designs and patterns. The use of marble along red sandstone beautifies the monument.
There is no doubt about the architectural magnificence of this mosque. Hence, it inspired the appearances of many structures. The architectural style of later built Badshahi masjid of Lahore has similar to that of Jama Masjid.
Delhi the city of monuments houses many magnificent historical master pieces. Each having a charm of its own, a story of its of its own. Jama Masjid is definitely one of the most marvellous monuments of Delhi. Its grandeur attracts people from all places. Be it Indian tourists or Foreign nationals everyone is left is awestruck by its beauty.
The beauty and the vibe of this place makes it an excellent photography spot; hence you will see almost everyone trying to capture a pretty view from here in their cameras. To anyone who is planning to go and this master piece we totally recommend going there.
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