Jami Masjid, Delhi
The huge courtyard of the Jama Masjid can hold up to 25,000 worshippers. It is bordered by three large gatehouses, the one on the northern side contains a copy of the Qur’an written on deer skin. The courtyard contains a large pool where worshippers wash their hands and feet before prayer.
The Jama Masjid (or to give it its proper name, the Masjid-i-Jahan Numa meaning "the mosque commanding a view of the world"), is Old Delhi’s main mosque. It was built between 1644 and 1656 for Emperor Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame and is one of India’s largest. The mosque is about 261 feet (80 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide, and its roof is covered with three domes with alternate stripes of black and white marble, with its topmost parts covered with gold. Two minarets, 130 feet (40 m) high and containing 130 steps, flank the domes on either side.
For me, the mosque was my first tourist sight on my 4-month tour around India so it was particularly interesting. My rickshaw driver dropped me off at the southern entrance and I entered through a security bag check and climbed up the large, wide set of steps and entered into the large courtyard through a gatehouse where I was asked by a chap sitting on a chair for a Rs200 entrance fee which I paid not knowing any better till later when I realised that its actually free to enter. So please bear this in mind. I got conned visiting my first Indian tourist sight! After taking a few photo’s, I sat on the edge of the courtyard to take it all in and watch the general goings on before climbing up the left minaret.
This is the largest mosque in India, or at least that's what I was told. True or not, it was pretty impressive, once you found it. It is kind of tucked down into the labyrinth of streets that make up most of Delhi.
If you go, be sure and wear appropriate clothes. In other words, tank tops and shorts are not acceptable and you may be asked to wear a sarong-type skirt to cover your bare legs. Sandals are, of course, ok since you will be removing your shoes at the door anyway. Again the shoe-man will want a tip for "watching" your shoes, but it's up to you.
The most impressive thing about the mosque was the view from the minaret. The top only accomodates 4 or 5 people, and passing on the stairs is a nightmare, but it's worth it. Tickets are available in the main plaza and somebody is sure to point you in the right direction.
The Jama Masjid is a magnificent mosque, situated in the heart of Old Delhi. It is supposed to be the biggest mosque in India offering an incredible architecture of a mix of red sandstone and white marble. You can climb up a minarett to have a beautiful, maybe the best 360-degrees view over Old Delhi!
A couple of days after I was at the Mosque there were two explosions which occurred there (April 14, 2006). At least 13 people were injured in the blasts. Some 1000 people were apparently in the mosque at that time which was a Friday, the busiest day for the Muslim community and the first Friday after Milad un Nabi Muhammads birthday. Fortunately for the world and the community, there was no damage done to the mosque.
When entering the Mosque, both men and women must remove your shoes and be modestly covered. The Mosque is open for Muslims 7.00am – 5.00pm daily.
On Fridays, non-Muslims are allowed to visit from 30 mins after sunrise until 12.20pm, 1.45pm until 20 mins before afternoon prayer.
There is a broad flights of steps which lead up to the impressive gateways in the north and the south. In the heat of the day, this seems to be a popular place to sleep or at least rest. Ustad Khalil was the architect of the mosque. He was a great sculpture during his time.
Three large bulbous white domes act as a cover over the mosque and these are decorated with thin vertical black stripes with a gold covering on the very top. Under these domes is a hall with seven arched entrances. These entrances face the west. Beyond these entrances are the prayer
Soaring 40 metre high minarets can be seen from afar standing at each end of the façade of the mosque. There are 130 steps winding their way up the inside. Like the large roof domes, the smaller domes on the minarets also have stripes on the outside.
At the back of the mosque there are also four small minarets with crowns like the bigger ones.
Black and white marble covers the floor of the mosque which is designed to imitate a Muslim prayer mat and is marked at 3ft long by 1 ½ ft wide for worshippers making around 899 spaces. There is a water tank at the centre of the courtyard for members of the congregation to be able to wash before prayers.
Jama Masjid is known as the Friday Mosque and is made of red sandstone and marble. In the huge 28 metre square courtyard, thousands gather to pray on all Fridays, hence the name. The entire area is surrounded by pillared corridors which have domed pavilions in each corner and can take up to 25,000 worshippers.
The name Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means “The mosque commanding a view of the world”. That might have almost been the case even back then being elevated high above the surrounding bustling congested streets.
The design of Jama Masjid is very similar to the smaller and less imposing Moti Masjid in Agra and faces the west.
If you are a lover of 400 year old buildings, markets, bargaining, spicy food items, huge crowds, color, traditional Indian handicrafts, antiques, narrow lanes, temples, mosques, etc., etc. then 'Chandni Chowk' is just the place for you. however if you are one who would rather stay away from the crowds, it may not be your dream destination.
chandni chowk has plenty of history behind it. in the days of the mughal emperor, shah jahan, who also built the taj mahal, chandni chowk was endowed with fine 'havelis' (mansions), had a tree-lined canal flowing down its centre and was renowned throughout Asia.
today it is delhis best known wholesale market.
Jami Masjid mosque is the largest mosque in India and was built by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656. Before entering the grounds of the mosque you must remove your shoes and be respectfully dressed. If you wish to take photos inside the grounds you need to buy a ticket at the entrance, this will cost you 150 Rupees.
This is a beautiful open air mosque. Avoid on a friday but you will be welcomed at all other times. You must leave you shoes at the gate (tip the shoe minder) and men in shorts will be made to hire a sarong to cover the legs. Amazing site in the middle of old Delhi. Pale women will be stared at but otherwise there is little hassle inside the mosque.