The most commonly known mosque i.e. Jama Masjid is the most important mosque of the city located near Chandani Chowk. Originally it was known as Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (Persian: مسجد جھان نما) that means ‘Mosque'. Constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who had also built the Taj Mahal. It is the largest and most significant mosque in India.
The later name, Jama Masjid in fact refers to the weekly Friday noon congregation prayers of Muslims. The courtyard of the mosque has capacity to accommodate up to twenty-five thousand worshippers at a time. The mosque also has numerous relics in a closet to the north gate that include an antique copy of the Qur'an written on deer skin.
The institution of the monumental Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) was laid on a hillock in Shahjahanabad by fifth Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, on Friday October 6, 1650 AD. It took six years to complete this colossal mosque.
Shah Jahan had built several important mosques in Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and Lahore. He was very keen to construct the monumental shrines. He designed this mosque in the manner that the courtyard of the mosque can be reached from the east; north and south by three flights of steps, all of them have been constructed of red sandstone. The eastern gate of the mosque was the royal entrance and it has 35 steps. The northern gate of the mosque has 39 steps. And, the southern side of the mosque has 33 steps. In the evening, the eastern side of the mosque used to be transformed into a bazaar for poultry and birds.
Architecture of the Mosque
The huge mosque is about 261 feet (80 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide. Its roof is covered by three domes with alternate stripes of white and black marble. Its topmost parts clad with gold. Two lofty minarets, 130 feet (41 m) high and containing 130 steps, longitudinally striped with white marble and red sandstone that flank the domes on either side.
There is a big hall under the domes of the mosque that has seven arched entrances. After this hall, there is a prayer hall, which is about 61 meters X 27.5 meters, and it has eleven arched entrances, of which the central arch is wide and lofty. It is a massive gateway. Over these arched entrances, there are tablets of white marble that is four feet (1.2 m) long and 2.5 feet (760 mm) wide. It is engraved with inscriptions, which gives the history of the mosque, and glorify the reign and virtues of Shah Jahan.
The mosque stands on a platform of about five feet (1.5 m) from the pavement of the terrace, and three flight of steps lead to the interior of the mosque from the east, north, and the south. The floor of the mosque is covered with white and black marble ornamented to imitate the Muslim prayer mat; a thin black marble border is marked for the worshippers, which is three feet long and 1 ½ feet wide. In total there are 899 such spaces marked in the floor of the mosque. The back of the mosque is cased over the height of the rock on which the mosque stands with large stones.
Nearby Places of Attractions
Chandani Chowk, Red Fort, Raj Ghat and many others