Slideshow | The Jama Masjid completes 362 years of magnificence
The Mughal-era mosque, which attracts worshippers and tourists in thousands, turned 362 on 6 October. A look at the many hues of this magnificent monument.
Last Published: Sun, Oct 07 2012. 04 43 PM IST
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, later known as Jama Masjid, was commissioned for weekly Friday noon congregation prayers. The name is derived from “jāmi’ masjid” or “congregational mosque”. Photo Essay by Pooja Chaturvedi/Mint
Jama Masjid is one of the last architectural works commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Construction began in 1650 and was completed in 1656.
Shah Jahan laid the mosque’s foundation stone on Friday, 6 October, 1650 AD, corresponding to the 10th of Shawwal 1060 AH. Shawwāl is the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar.
Pigeons inside the mosque. The sport of pigeon flying still thrives in Old Delhi. A market to trade pigeons is set up near the Jama Masjid every Friday.
The mosque has three gateways, north, south and east. A flight of steps leads to each of them.
During the Mughal era, these steps used to house food stalls, shops and street entertainers. In the morning, the eastern side of the mosque was converted into a bazaar for poultry and birds.
The market tradition still continues. The nearby Meena Bazaar has wares ranging from crockery to cameras on offer.
Sparrows, a rare site in Delhi these days, live in sheltered alcoves along walls of the Jama Masjid.
The largest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid faced two terror attacks on 6 April 2006. Fortunately, there was no damage to the structure.