Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi, is the largest mosque in India. It was the last master peice of Shah Jahan, the architect of the Red Fort, built between 1644 and 1656, but about 5000 craftsmen. After his death, it was completed under the supervision of Saadullah Khan, the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan. It is estimated that a sum of Rs 10 lakhs was spent on the construction of the Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid is a real example of great architecture that existed during the Mughal period. It has the blend of both Hindu and Mughal style of architecture. The mosque is built on a red sandstone porch, about 30 feet (10 m) from the level, to reward the visitors with magnificent views of Old and New Delhi.
Jama Masjid is also called the Friday congregational mosque because Muslims turn up in large numbers to offer Namaz on Fridays, called as the yaum al-jum`a. Masjid-i-Jahan Numa popularly called as Jama Masjid, means the mosque commanding a view of the world.
Jama Masjid has three gates, four towers and two minarets. The minarets are 40 meters hight and are made up of red sand stone and white marbles bearing stripes of black color. These minarets cap the main prayer hall on the west side (facing Mecca). One can have the view of Old Delhi, Red Fort and some parts of New Delhi from the Southern Minaret. A nominal fee of Rs. 5 is charged for sight seeing from this particular spot.
The gateways in the north and south are led by a fleet of steps. Energetic visitors can climb the 122 narrow steps. The eastern gateway, facing the Red Fort, was perhaps used by the emperors during the Mughal Rule. It is close on weekdays.
The tower of the Jama Masjid is made up of five distinctive storeys. Each one of the storeys has a projecting balcony. The adjoining edifices are beautifully done with calligraphy.
The mosque contains several remnants of the Muslim Religion like a replica of the Quran written on a deer skin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, sandals of the prophet and his footprint implanted in a marble block.
Cloths to Wear
Tourists visiting the mosque have the option of wearing the traditional ceremonial clothes available at the northern gate. Those wearing shorts or skirts can hire a lunghi to cover their legs and has to leave the shoes out at the entrance. It is recomended to be neat and clean while visiting the mosque.
Daily from dawn to dusk. Closed during prayer times. (Entry closed for women after 6 pm)
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