This is one of the largest (some sources, and our guide, say the largest) mosques in India. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (most famous for another building, the Taj Mahal) between 1644 and 1656. It is said to have taken 5,000 workers and cost a million rupees to build, which must have been a huge sum in those days. It is certainly on an impressively grand scale. The huge courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 worshippers. Its surrounding walls are pierced by three great gates (most visitors enter through the north gate) and on the west side is the main mosque structure, built of red sandstone and white marble, with three white marble domes and two 40 metre high minarets.
Entry is free but there is a fee of 300 IR per camera to take photos and you'll be charged for every camera you are carrying, including smartphones, even if you don't plan to use them all. All visitors, including non-Muslims, are allowed inside as well as out, and photos can be taken everywhere, but the mosque is closed to non-Muslims at prayer time. And don’t even consider a visit here if you aren’t able to climb steps, as the mosque sits on an elevated sandstone platform and there are 39 steps up to the northern gate. You must leave your shoes at this main entrance so wear socks you don't mind getting grubby or borrow a pair of the slippers available (I think to do this cost 100 IR but we didn't bother so I may be wrong about that). Women in trousers or with short sleeves are asked to put on a gown but there's no charge for this.
Once inside, take your time to wander round the courtyard, which is a buzz of both tourist and worshipper activity. We were advised not to photograph Muslim women but told that otherwise no one would mind, and in fact that seemed to extend to some of the women too. Bowls are set out to feed the many pigeons, and the seed they spill is carefully swept up. Locals and tourists mill around and it could be any city square, until you approach the prayer hall where a more respectful and devout atmosphere prevails. Even here though, a man sitting reading the Koran in one corner saw my camera and beckoned me over with a “welcome to take photos” gesture. So do pay that camera fee, as you will surely get some memorable shots here.
Next tip: exploring Chandni Chowk.
Erected in 1650 on a hill overlooking Chandni chowk and the Red fort. The biggest mosque in India. Loads of pigeons in the central square. You can climb on the tower for a nice view on Old Delhi (additional entrance fee for the tower, no change given)
Gorgeous red sandstones steps lead to Jami Masjid. And around this place are hawkers stalls, from food to shoes, watches, sajadah [small carpet for muslim in praying] and manykind of stuff. In Aurangzeb's time, they're selling horses here.
Built by Shah Jahan in 1656 and took 6 years with 5,000 workmen to complete this beautiful red sandstones mosque.
Approximately huge 28 m square courtyard and accomodates up to 20,000 people at prayer times. Truely full-house during Friday praying or in Eid-el-Fitr.
If there's a sight I wanted to see in Delhi, it's the Jama Masjid - India largest mosque. It was planned by Shah Jahan and completed in 1658. There are 4 angle towers and two 40 metres high minarets and... no walls and noroof! Yes, the Mosque itself is a large open square where about 25000 people can assemble and pray - and because the weather in Delhi is generally warm - who needs walls and a roof anyway?
When you visit remember to be dressed adequately: no shorts or miniskirt, and no tank tops. Short sleeves are fine and as a woman you don't need to cover your head. There's also a 100 rupees surcharge to use your camera (august 2003)
Jama Masjid towers over Delhi and has room to hold 25,000 people. It was built between 1644 & 1658. It's two minarets are 40m tall, it has several gates, a tower on each corner, is incredibly beautiful and teaming with beggars and child hawkers who will latch onto you should you opt for walking in the shade of the arches as opposed to burning your feet and melting under the Indian sun which unrelentlessly pounds the enormous courtyard.
As this is a mosque you must remove your shoes - ensure you have some small change for the man who will "look" after them for you. If you are lucky he will actually cover them with a cloth so that the sun doesn't bake them. You must aslo be (ladies) adequately covered... and this is where I got into an arguement (and won!). I had my own enormous shawl that was capable of covering me from head to foot and back up again but the man on the gate was absolutely determined that because I was a tourist I should be forced to pay to wear the tourist cloak!
As with everywhere you pay to get in (children nder 12 are free) and you must also pay for your camera to accompany you (well worth it!). Inside you can pay an extra Rs50 to climb the southern minaret (I was unaware of this at the time but apparently women HAVE to be accompanied by a man!). The climb up is exhausting, very hot and an extremely tight squeeze when bumping into groups of people who are on their way down! There were too many people at the top which is only a small area and, all in all, it was not really worth it although there were very good views of the courtyard and of Delhi with the Red Fort in the background.
Jama/Jami Masjid (Friday Mosque) is the largest mosque in India and along with Red Fort, it dominates Old Delhi. The mosque has three black and white domes and two minarets that frame the central arch. Built in 1656 by Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal), it was his last great architectural work. The mosque took six years, 5,000 workers, and a million rupees to complete.
Beautiful sandstone steps lead to the arched entrances. Of the three gateways, the largest is the east. It is where the faithful enter on Fridays and holidays. The other two gates are the north and south.
At 92 sq. ft. the courtyard can accommodate 20,000 people for Friday prayers (a good time to avoid the area!). In the center of the courtyard is the hauz, an ablution tank.
There is a very small charge to climb the minaret, worth it for the views of the surrounding streets!
When visiting the mosque, you must observe the following:
1. Remove your shoes before entering.
2. No shorts, no sleeveless tops. A gatekeeper will provide a gown for you if needed.
3. Purchase a camera ticket before entering. (Rs 200)
4. Non-Muslims can enter between 8 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunset. They also may not enter for short periods for afternoon and pre-dusk prayers.
5. Women are not allowed to enter after Maghrib prayers (sunset).
Although this is not an ornate mosque by any means, it is a must see in Delhi. Be sure to wander the wild streets around the mosque.
This is the biggest Mosque in India.
You can enter the Mosque from either the North or South Gate. Remember to remove your shoes before entering.
This mosque has a massive courtyard (?can house 25 000). It is a fine example of Mughal architecture. The main mosque has three onion shaped domes, made of white marble and inlaid with stripes of black slate.
Do remember that the mosque is a place of worship.
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.
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.
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.
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.