Just 500 meters west of Red Fort lies the largest mosque of India, The Jama Masjid. Originally called Masjid-i-Jahanuma or 'The Mosque commanding a view of the World', the Masjid is the last architectural work of Shah Jahan. Jama Masjid is also known as Friday Mosque as 'Jama' means Friday, which is the holy day of the Muslims.
The construction of the jama masjid mosque began in 1650 and was completed after six years, in 1656. The mosque stands on a rock or a high platform and has three imposing double-storeyed gateways on the north, south and east to reach the courtyard. The eastern gateway, the largest of all was reserved for the emperor and the royal ladies. Tourists can enter the Masjid from the North or South gate and it is mandatory for both men and women to remove their shoes and cover themselves modestly, from head to toe.
The architect of this magnificent mosque was Ustad Khalil. Built of red sandstone, the main features of the mosque are its four-storeyed tapering minarets, which are 130 feet high, the full bulbous domes shaped like a drum at their base and the use of alternating stripes of black and white marble in all the three domes. Enclosed by pillared corridors with domed pavilions at the corners, the courtyard of the mosque measures around 100 square meters and has a capacity of 25000 people. In the center of the courtyard is an ablution tank, Hauz and in front of it is a raised platform called Dikka. The mosque is so big that muballigh (the second cleric), used to stand on the Dikka and relay the chants of the Imam (the chief cleric) to the devotees who were unable to hear him. This practice was stopped when loudspeakers were introduced at prayer services in the Jama Masjid.
In the northeast corner is a small pavilion containing relics of Prophet Mohammed, which is considered very sacred. Pilgrims from all over the world throng the place to see the precious contents like two very old copies of the Quran on deerskin, one long hair from the Prophet's beard, his sandals and a footprint of the Prophet in marble. It is said that in 1766, a worshipper had a vision here of the Prophet standing by the celestial tank in paradise. It is believed that the he will appear again here on Judgment Day. Though not mandatory it is advisable to offer some rupees here, as an offering, in good faith.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/04