Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and inaugurated by an Imam from Bukhara, present-day Uzbekistan, the Jama Masjid is a unique and most revered mosque of the country. Completed in 1656 AD, it has four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard has been built so that it can accommodate 25,000 persons easily. Three domes on the terrace of the mosque are surrounded by the two minarets.
History of Jama Masjid
Shah Jahan was known for his love with the magnificient buildings, places of worship and other structures. Jama Masjid of Delhi was one of the best mosque of the world, constructed by him. He built the Jama Masjid between 1644 and 1656. More than five thousand workers were employed to construct it. Originally called Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa, which means where you can have a view of the world.. The mosque was under supervision of Saadullah Khan, the prime minister of Shah Jahan. It is said thsat the cost of the construction at the time was about 10 lakh rupees. The other beautiful and world heritage monuments built by Shah Jahan–the Taj Mahal, at Agra and the Red Fort in New Delhi, which stands opposite the Jama Masjid.
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The construction of Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 AD. The mosque was inaugurated by an Imam from Bukhari, a mullah from Bukhara, which is known as Uzbekistan, on 23 July 1656.
It is so huge that 25,000 people can pray in the courtyard at a time. It is also regarded as India’s largest mosque. After the British victory in the mutiny of 1857, the Britishers confiscated the mosque and used it for accomodation of their soldiers here.They also wanted to destroy the mosque to punish the people of the city but due to strong opposition, the demolition plan could not be materialised.
The Architecture of Jama Masjid
Emperor Shah Jahan was very keen to see that the mosque should represent a magnificient holy place. The mosque has been designed with three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets. The construction of strips depended mainly of red sandstone and white marble. The northern gate has 39 steps while the southern side has 33 steps. The eastern gate was used for the rural entrance and it has 35 steps. Out of all these gateways, the eastern one, which was used by the emperors, remains closed during weekdays. The mosque is built on a red sandstone porch, which is about 30 feet (9.1 m) from ground level and spreads over 1200 square metre.
The dome is accompanied by two minarets which are 130 feet high and consists of 130 steps, striped by marble and red sandstone. The minarets comprises five storeys. The adjoining edifices are filled with calligraphy. The first three storeys of the minarets are made of red sandstone, the fourth of marble and the fifth of sandstone.
Since the Jama Masjid of Agra had already existed, few features of the Agra mosque had been incorporated. The floor plan of the mosque is almost similar to that of the Jama Masjid of Agra. It is covered with white and black ornamented marble to look like a Muslim prayer mat. Beside it, a thin black border measuring 3 feet long and 1.5 feet wide is marked for the worshippers. There are 899 total such boxes.
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