Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India and the
final architectural extravagance of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It's also
known as 'Masjid-i-Jahan Numa', 'Jahan' means 'World' and Numa means
'Visible'. It is situated some quarter of a mile from the
Red Fort. It was designed as
Emperor Shahjahan's principal mosque. The sprawling esplanade, which
separates it from the arterial road is a fascinating leisure ground.
A Religious Masterpiece
The construction work continued for six years, ending in 1644. The structure was placed on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all the adjoining areas. It's an austere, yet, a beautiful building. Just like other buildings of Shahjahanabad, this one was also built with red sandstone. White marble has also been used extensively, specially in the three domes and has been inlaid with stripes of black.
The pulpit is one of its best features, being carved out of a single block of marble. Built by a workforce of 5,000 people, the mosque's three gateways, four towers and two minarets are testimony to the fine architecture of that period. The slender minarets grace the facade, one on each side, rising to a height of 130-feet. The eastern gate was reserved for the Emperor when he used to arrive here every Friday and on Id.
A stadium like courtyard greets the visitors as they enter this mosque in the Old Delhi area. Wide staircases and arched gateways are the hallmark of this popular mosque. There is a small shrine within that houses the relic of the Prophet as well as the Holy Koran. Its courtyard has a capacity to hold nearly 25,000 worshippers and is also open to the general public.
The Mosque was based on the plan and design of Ostad Khalil, the then great Sculptor. Emperor Shahjahan built Jama Masjid at the cost of Rs 10 crore and it can be called as the replica of Moti Masjid in Agra. The premises of the South Minar are 1076-sq-ft wide where 25,000 devotees at a time may sit together for namaz.
The Masjid also comprise of a great treasure that has been kept in the northeast corner of the white shrine- a hair of the beard of Hazrat Mahmmad, his used chappal, a chapter of Koran taken from its original holy book, the canopy of his tombstone and the foot print of Muhammad on the stone.
The main imam of this Jama Masjid is the direct descendent of the original and first Imam appointed by Emperor Shahjahan and till now there is no break in its descendency. People of other religions are not allowed in between 12-30-2-00pm. One is allowed to enter the mosque bare-footed, head covered and wearing lungi, - these are the norms visitors have to follow and are available on payment. For taking photographs one has to buy tickets first.