Ordered by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this Masjid-i Jah?n-Num? mosque commonly known as Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the chief mosque of Old Delhi in India and it symbolizes ‘representation of the world’. This being located in one of the oldest streets of Delhi, Chawri Bazar took nearly 6 years to build ranging from 1650 to 1656. Its name ‘Jama Masjid’ was derived out of the Friday noon congregation prayers which happens weekly usually in the "congregational mosque".
This is an enormous mosque that can seat up to twenty-thousand worshippers. Moreover, it also is the home for many artifacts which are stored in a closet of the North gate, also containing an antique copy of the Qur'an that is written on deer skin.
The Jama Masjid was perched on a prominence in the city of Shahjahanabad on the orders of fifth Mughal Emperor of India; Shahjahan dated Friday, October 19, 1650 AD. The Mosque was the fruitful result of the non-stop hard work of over 6,000 workers for a prolonged period of six years. An amount of 10 lakh (1 million Rupees) was spent for the construction of this lofty piece of architecture. Having also built Taj Mahal, at Agra and the Red Fort in New Delhi, this stands opposite to the latter.
The mosque seems to be an arrangement of three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets which have been built using the red stand stones that are full of grace. Comprising of a fully surfaced rectangular shaped which is nearly 75 m by 66 m in dimensions is accessible from the Eastern end, which also leads to an encompassed space housing the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed Shah.
Other important mosques built by Shah Jahan like Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri near Agra and Jama Masjid Delhi shares the same floor plan. However, Jama Masjid of Delhi is much bigger and architecturally richer than the other two. There is another Badshahi Mosque of Lahore which was built by Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son, is also very closely familiar to the Jama Masjid at Raipur.
· 2006 Explosions
The Mosque faced two explosions On April 14, 2006 in the premises of the Jama Masjid. On the day of explosion there were 1000 people who had come to offer their praying as it was a Friday. There was a gap of 7 minutes between the two explosions of which the first happened around 17:26 (5:26). On the whole, thirteen people were injured in the blasts. However, by the grace of almighty the mosque did not get harm.
· 2010 Shooting
Another mishap happened when two Taiwanese tourists were injured by the gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a bus which was parked near gate number three of the mosque.
Information for tourists
Travelers arriving barelegged can hire robes at the northern gate.
Old Delhi, with the Jama Masjid is quite an experience for those willing to brave the crowds.
The Grand Structure
This monument was built between 1644 and 1658 by five thousand artisans. Having three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m high, it is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble.
Originally called the Masjid-i-Jahanuma, or mosque commanding view of the world, this magnificent structure stands on the Bho Jhala, one of the two hills of the old Moghul capital city of Shahjahanabad.
Broad flights of steps lead up to the imposing gateways in the north and the south. The main eastern entrance, probably used by the emperors, remains closed on most days of the week. The main prayer hall on the west side, houses a niche in a wall that shelters the prayer leader. Worshippers use this hall on most days but on Fridays and other holy days, the courtyard is full of devotees offering namaaz.
Near the north gate of the mosque stands a cupboard containing a collection of Muhammad's relics - Korans written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprint, embedded in a marble slab.
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