JAMA MASJID, NEW DELHI
Towering over Old Delhi, the magnificent façade of Jama Masjid stands as the reminder of Mughal architecture. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Masjid-i Jah?n-Num? (meaning Mosque commanding view of the world) was his final architectural opus. On the other hand, the popular name, Jama Masjid is derived from the word 'Jummah', referring to the congregational prayer observed by Muslims on Fridays. Built from red sandstone and white marble, the edifice dominates the skyline of the busy Chawri Bazar in central Delhi and is considered the largest mosque in India. Each year, on Eid, thousands of reverent Muslims throng the mosque to offer special Eid Namaz in the morning. The mosque is jointly maintained by the Delhi Wakf Board and the Jama Masjid committee under the directives from the Shahi Imam.
History of Jama Masjid
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
footmarks, sandals, and a red beard-hair of the Holy Prophet Mohammad.
Design & Architecture
The austere grandeur of this structure is sure to impress at the first glimpse. The mosque is built on 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 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.
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