Jama Masjid, Delhi
Conceived as part of Emperor Shah Jahan’s grand plan to create a new capital, Jama Masjid along with the Red Fort forms the centre of Shahjahanabad. The mosque is well known for its architectural and religious significance.
Capable of holding 25,000 devotees, Jama Masjid is located at the beginning of Chawri Bazar road in Old Delhi around 500 meters from the Red fort.
Built between 1644 and 1656 AD, the mosque is the final architectural work of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was built from red sandstone and white marble, under the supervision of Saadullah Khan, Shah Jahan’s minister.
The mosque was christened Majid-i-Jahan Numa; however, it is generally called Jama Masjid as the Friday prayers were held at the mosque.
Designed by Ustad Khali, the mosque is a marvellous facade of eleven arches decorated with marbles. It has three gateways, four towers and two minarets. The main entrance is on the eastern side facing the Red Fort, which was used by the emperor.
The tower of the mosque has five storeys with a projecting balcony on each floor. The topmost storey is made of marble, the rest with sandstone. Three full domes crown the main prayer hall.
The mosque’s courtyard is spread over 1000 square meters. In the centre of the courtyard is a tank which was used for rituals. A raised platform called Dikka near the tank was used by the second cleric to repeat the prayers.
The courtyard is surrounded by pillared corridor. Under the domes of the mosque is a hall with seven arched entrances facing the Mecca.
The north gate of the mosque houses a collection of Prophet Muhammad’s relics. One gets to see the copy of the Holy Quran written on deer skin, a strand from the Prophet’s beard, his sandals and foot prints on marble.
Inscriptions regarding the history of the mosque, cost of its construction, its architect are inscribed on a plaque in the mosque.