Places to See in India : Jama Masjid, Delhi

Jama Masjid Old Mosque Steps

Jama Masjid is the biggest mosque in Asia located in the capital city of India, Delhi. It lies at the origin of a very busy central street of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk. Shah Jahan, one of the famous moughal emperors, ordered to construct this magnificent building in the year 1656. Shah Jahan is the same emperor who built Taj Mahal, the monument of love, in memories of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The area covered by the mosque is so big that it can occupy up to 25000 people at a time. The mosque is a famous tourist spot in Delhi and each year thousands of visitors come here to see the architectural wonder of India.

The most attractive and unique thing about this mosque is the Quran, which is written on deer’s skin. It was the last extravagant building by Shah Jahan constructed with the help of 5000 artisans. It took 6 years to complete this architectural wonder. The mosque is also known as Masjid-I-Jahanuma, which means “mosque commanding view of the world”.

Jama Masjid was designed as the main mosque of Shahjahan. It was built in red sandstone, marble, and stands still in the heart of the old city. The alternate use of vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble makes the building bright, colorful and beautiful. It stands on one of the two hills, Bho Jhala in the Mughal capital, Shahjahanabad. The mosque has four towers, three gateways, and two minarets.

The gateway on the east is the main entrance to the mosque and the other two gateways are on the north and south side. The eastern side i.e. the main entrance of the mosque faces the Red Fort, Lal Quila, another famous building in Delhi. The building has three domes each made with extensive use of white marble. The main prayer hall has a series of high cusped arches standing on 260 pillars. These 260 pillars support 15 marble domes of the prayer hall at various elevations. The three gateways i.e. The North, South and East have a broad flight of steps to reach the main building of the mosque. From the North gate there are 39 steps from South gate there are 33 steps and from the main entrance i.e. Eastern gate there are 35 steps.

The mosque is a five storey building, first three storey of the tower are made of red sandstone, the fourth one is made of marble, while the fifth is again of sandstone. Each storey of the mosque has a projecting balcony that adds more beauty to it. The whole building is covered with beautiful calligraphies and verses from Quran. The intricate designs are simply awesome. The mosque also houses several relics in a closet in the north gate. The relics include the antique copy of Quran written on deer skin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprints, implanted in a marble block.

The mosque lit ups and become live in the evening with hundreds of people gathered. Steps on each side of the mosque are filled up with various stalls that offer the favorite street food, books, toys etc. A must visit destination when in Delhi.