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History of Jama Masjid

History of Jama Masjid Following the death of his wife, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan decided to

Following the death of his wife, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi and founded the walled city of Shahajahanabad. It remained the capital of the Mughals succeeding him and evolved to what we now know as Old Delhi. The Jama Masjid was commissioned to be the central mosque of the new city. Built by more than 5000 artisans under the supervision of Wazir Saadullah Khan, the mosque designed by architect Ustad Khalil, took 6 years to be completed. The mosque was inaugurated by Sayed Abdul Ghafoor Shah BukhariI, a mullah from Bukhara (now Uzbekistan), on 23 July 1656, on the invitation from Shah Jahan, whom he bequeathed the title Shahi Imam and appointed to the high office of Imamat-e-Uzma. The cost to build the mosque came to a whopping 1 million rupees at the time.The mosque houses several relics of Islamic religious significance like an age old transcript of the Quran printed on deer skin, the footmarks, sandals, and a red beard- hair of the

History of Jama Masjid Following the death of his wife, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan decided to
Design & Architecture The austere grandeur of this structure is sure to impress at the first

Design & Architecture

The austere grandeur of this structure is sure to impress at the first glimpse. The mosque is built on an expansive elevated stone platform that is accessible through flights of stairs from three sides, east (35 steps), north (39 steps) and south (33 steps). The eastern gate is the largest and served as the Royal entrance, remains closed on weekdays. The mosque faces west towards the Holy city of Mecca. Three sides of the mosque are covered by open arched colonnades, featuring a lofty tower-like archway in the center. The roof of the mosque is capped with three marble domes with alternating striping in black and white marble.

Design & Architecture The austere grandeur of this structure is sure to impress at the first

Image Credit: ibtimes.co.uk

The domes are in turn capped with gold adornments. Two lofty minarets, standing 40 m high, decorated in longitudinal stripes of white marble and red sandstone, flank the domes on either side. Each minaret has 130 steps inside and only the southern one is open to public for a fee. The top offers stunning panoramic view of Delhi with the Connaught Place and

Sansad Bhavan (the Parliament House) in a direct line with the Jama Masjid, a feature incorporated by architect Edwin Lutyens into his design of New Delhi. An open twelve sided domed pavilion is hosted by the three projecting galleries separating the minarets.

Sansad Bhavan (the Parliament House) in a direct line with the Jama Masjid, a feature incorporated

Image Credit: alphacommunity.sony.co.in

The mosque measures 80 m in length and 27 m in breadth and houses the main prayer hall with seven arched entrances facing the west (facing Mecca) with the traditional mihrab (altar) for the prayer leader.The walls of the mosque are covered with marbles up to waist- level height. Over these arched entrances there are tablets of white marble, 1.2 m by 0.76 m, inlaid with inscriptions in black marble detailing the history of the mosque along with praising the reign and virtues of Shah Jahan. The slab over the central arch is inscribed with two simple words "The Guide!"A huge hall featuring 260 columns is located on the western side of the mosque and is adorned with sculptures in the Jain and Hindu architectural pattern.Ornamentations with floral motifs or calligraphic inscriptions adorn the arches, walls, under arches and under domes, columns, and floor of the mosque.

The courtyard in front of the mosque occupies 408 square feet and can accommodate 25,000 individuals during prayer. The hauz, in the center of the courtyard, is an ablution tank for washing hands, face and feet before entering the main building for prayer.It symbolizes the ritual of baptism needed to enter the community of believers. One of the best examples of Mughal architecture, this 350 years old shrine is in dire need of repair and conservation efforts. A plea has been raised to take it under Archeological survey of India (ASI) from the Delhi Wakf Board, for better upkeep of this architectural marvel.