SUNEHARI MASJID (GOLDEN MOSQUE)

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Location: Near Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi
Also Known As: Golden Mosque
+Built In: 1721
Historical Significance: Built In The Reign Of Sultan Muhammad Shah

Quite close to the Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is this golden domed building called Sunehari Masjid, popularly known as the Golden Mosque.

According to the Islamic calendar, it was built in the 1134 Hijri, during the reign of Sultan Mohammad Shah. It is believed that the Persian invader Nadir Shah had sat on the terrace for hours on 11th March 1739 - watching his soldiers pillage the golden bazaars of Chandni Chowk

Other Elegant Sunehri Masjids Of Delhi
Outside the Delhi gate stands the Sunehari Masjid. It is a small three-domed structure with two minarets. At one time these domes used to be copper-plated. It bears an inscription, which attributes the mosque to Nawab Qudsiya Begum wife of Ahmad Shah (1748-54) and it was built in 1751.

In Delhi, there are three mosques popular by the name of Sunehari Masjid. One is close to the Delhi Gate, Red Fort, built by Javed Khan during the reign of Ahmed Shah in 1751 AD. The other two were built earlier by Roshan-ud-Daulah at Chandni Chowk in 1721 in Faiz Bazar (Daryaganj) in 1745. There is another mosque at Rafi Marg known as Sunehari Bagh Masjid built by the local residents of Sunehra village.

The Sunehari Masjid near the Red Fort is small but remarkably elegant, a wonderful combination of smallness of size and a perfect symmetrical form. The mosque consists of a main prayer chamber with two minarets and three graceful domes, once covered with gilt plates.

Later, in 1852 Bahadur Shah II repaired the mosque and covered the ruined domes with sandstone, striped lengthwise with red stone and crowned with gilt pinnacles. The central dome is about 45-feet high while the side domes are 5-feet lower.

The mosque stands on a plinth built of red stone and sandstone, consisting of three rooms. There are three arched entrances to the mosque, the arch in the middle is scalloped like the other two, but it is more lavishly ornamented with scrolls and foliage.

A room capped by a circular dome follows each arch. The side rooms are separated from the central room by two arches. The central arch is flanked by two minarets, which rise about eight feet above the roof and are topped with gilt pinnacles. On the northern and southern extremities there are two elegantly constructed minarets, 60-feet high, supporting an octagonal open pavilion with a small dome. In the inscription on its central arch two personages are referred to-Qudsia Begum and Nawab Bahadur Javed Khan, the chief eunuch.

Javed Khan was raised to the position of chamberlain and chief eunuch of the 'harem'. Even though he was illiterate and totally inexperienced in the warfare of administration, he was later raised to the position of confidential adviser and ranked as a 'Sat Hazari' with the title of 'Nawab Bahadur' and honoured with the highest possible insignia of honour. Ever since the time of Taimur, no eunuch had reached such an exalted position above the head of the hereditary nobles.

It is believed that the Queen Mother, Qudsia Begum, had an affair with Javed Khan, which scandalized everybody except her son Ahmed Shah. His intimacy with the Queen Mother outraged public sentiment and lowered the imperial prestige. The notorious scandal reached such proportion that the royal guards tied a young ass and a bitch at the palace gate and when the courtiers came to attend the durbar, the guards urged them to bow before those animals, signifying the Queen Mother and the Nawab



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