Jama Masjid – mosque with a view of the world

JAMA MASJID DELHI

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India – one of the jewels being built by Emperor Shah Jahan. Situated just in front of the Red Fort in the old city of Shahjanabad, now in heart of Chandni Chowk, the Jama Masjid is not only an important mosque, but also an important monument of history.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
Jama Masjid

A flight of pigeons flying in front of magnificent structure – it is a sight simply to behold. And while I look up at the tall minarets of the masjid, I am simply awe-struck at the enormity and minute detailing that went into making this structure of wonder. India surely had a great talent pool to have produced these finest and endearing structures! A visit to Delhi remains incomplete if you do not visit the Jama Masjid.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
Entering the Mosque

The construction of Jama Masjid was completed between 1644 and 1658 under the supervision of Saadullah Khan, the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan. It was said to be one of the last architectural wonders being built under the patronage of Emperor Shah jahan. It is said that almost 5000 craftsmen were involved in the construction of this masterpiece while it took almost Ten Lakhs Ruppes for the completion of the mosque. The spacious courtyard of Jama Masjid can hold around 25000 devotees.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
The spacious courtyard

The Masjd was originally called “Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa” which literally means “mosque with a commanding view of the world”. And very rightly it is called so. Jama Masjid stands at the centre of the erstwhile Mughal capital Shahjanabad. It overlooks the mighty residents of the Nawab, the Lal Qilla or the Red Fort on its eastern side. The Delhi skyline can be viewed from the courtyard of the mosque.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
View from the mosque

The mosque is built by red sandstone about 10 metre from the ground level and it covers an area of about 1200 square meter. Indeed an enormous and towering structure. The mosque has three gateways. The gateways are all flanked by the flight of stairs.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
The entrance to the mosque

The main entrance is on the Eastern side which was probably used by the royal entourage. In addition, the mosque also has four towers and three minarets. The towers are made up of 5 storeys with each storey having a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth of marble and the fifth made of sandstone. The Mosque is covered by intricate carvings and has calligraphic verses inscribed from the holy Quran.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
Inner decorations

The main prayer hall of the Jama Masjid is simply remarkable. It is something so grand, yet so simple. The prayer hall is made up of high cusped arches and marble domes keeping with the styles of Mughal architecture of those period. The cabinet in the north gate of the Jama Masjid contains a collection of Muhammad’s relics – the Koran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprints, implanted in a marble block.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
The Chandelier

Jama Masjid  should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Delhi. It is situated at the bustling Chawri Bazar market, one of the prominent places of Old Delhi.

Some Facts:

How to reach: The easiest way to reach Jama Masjid is to take the Delhi metro and alight at Chawri Bazar Metro station. It is a few minutes walk from there.

Visit to the Jama Masjid can be done with Red Fort and Chandni Chowk Market. Visit the fort and the market and then head for the Paranthe wala Galli to have a sumptuous treat of paranthas (a kind of India bread).

The best time to visit Delhi is between October to March when it is winter.

Timings: 7 AM to noon and 1.30 PM to 6.00 PM. Tourists are not allowed to enter during the prayer time.

Entry fees: Free. But for photography, Rs.300 is charged.

Tip not to miss: The people outside will insist you on wearing a lungi for men and cloak for the women. But you can avoid it politely. But please dress appropriately.

JAMA MASJID DELHI
The entrance to the mosque

Humayun’s Tomb – Abode of Peace

Humayun's Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi is one of the place I had been always fascinated since I read about it in my history class. I still remember our history class about the Mughal period. Our teacher was so vivid in her description that I would always be transported to that era. And I always had the special liking for the historical monuments. Visiting a monument, walking along the huge corridors, gaping at the intricate designs, all these transports me back to those eras.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb – The paradise

While reading about the Mughal emperor Humayun, I was equally fascinated by his tomb. Humayun’s tomb was built by his widow Hamida Banu Begam in 1569 after the death of Humayun in 1556. The location of the tomb is very near to the shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya, the important Sufi saint of Chistiya order. The Chistiya saints were reveredby the Mughals. Humayun’s son Akbar had built his for at Fateh-pur-Sikri near the shrine of Salim Chisti, another saint of Chistiya order.

Humayun's Tomb
View from the open terrace

The architecture of the tomb was inspired by the Persian style and is said to be the first proper example of Mughal architecture. It was also the first of its kind garden tomb built in India. This mausoleum was path breaking during those times and later paved the way for building of many such tombs in India and even the Taj Mahal. Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian was the architect behind the splendid tomb. The tomb was constructed at a cost of Rupees 15 lakhs.

Humayun's Tomb
The arched domes reflect the Persian style of architecture

The tomb stands at the centre of a square garden, divided into four main parts by causeways (Charbagh). In the center ran shallow water channels. These water channels were said to act as natural coolants in those days! In fact, the entire style gave the impression of paradise. The mausoleum was a fusion of Persian and Indian styles as seen by the arched alcoves, corridors and the high double domes. The central room is contains the cenotaph of the Emperor Humayun.

Humayun's Tomb
The cenotaph of the Emperor

You can enter the tomb area through either of the two lofty double storeyed gateways. A pavilion and bath chamber (hammam) adorned the eastern side.

Humayun's Tomb
The arched gallery
Humayun's Tomb
The beautiful and intricate decorations

The mausoleum was made by red sandstone with marble works in between. From the 17th to the 19th century, the garden was filled with the tombs of the descendants of Humayun. In fact, the place had earned the name of necropolis of Mughal Dynasty.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb in the midst of Charbagh

Isa Khan’s Tomb:

Later Sher Shah Suri had extended the mausoleum complex after he had overthrown Humayun during 1540. On the south-western side of the Humayun’s tomb the tomb of Isa Khan is located. Isa Khan was a noble at the court and most trusted lieutenant of Sher Shah Suri. Even after the death of Sher Shah Suri, Isa Khan continued to serve Islam Shah Suri, the successor of Sher Shah Suri. It was during his reign that the tomb of Isa Khan was built. This tomb was built mainly of grey quartzite and red sandstone. The tomb is entered through the northern side from a gateway that leads to a flight of steps. The main gate and the main chamber are in a dilapidated condition.

Humayun's Tomb
Isa Khan’s Tomb
Humayun's Tomb
A beautiful structure

It is believed that Bahadur Shah Zafar had taken refuge in this tomb with his three sons during the first war Independence in 1857

Humayun's tomb
Afsarwala Mosque

Bu Halima’s Garden and Tomb:

The exact identity of Bu Halima is not known in history and not much is known about the lady. But a beautiful garden along with an unusual tomb is located in Humayun’s tomb compelx located at the western side of the Complex. It is however believed that Bu Halima held an important position in Humayun’s palace to have a garden named after her. The tomb is not placed in the middle of the garden as is the case with most others. Also the Cenotaph lies exposed unlike other tombs.

Humayun's Tomb
Bu Halima gateway

Arab Serai Gate:

The sarai was built by Humayun’s widow Haji Begum for about 300 Arab priests whom she brought from Mecca during her pilgrimage. The Arab Serai Gate (1560-61) is about 14 meters high and provided housing for craftsmen from Persia, who came for the construction of Humayun’s Tomb. Major part of the Arab Serai is today the Industrial training institute and inaccessible to the visitors.

Humayun's Tomb
Arab Serai Gateway

Nai Ka Gumbad:

Behind Humayuns Tomb, in the south-east corner, is Nai-ka-Gumbad, or Barber’s Tomb. It is said to be the tomb of the barber favourite to the emperor. He was indeed a lucky barber!

Humayun's Tomb
Nai Ka Gumbad

Humayun’s tomb is a must visit place in Delhi. The historical buffs can get their dose of history while the architecture lovers will have a noteworthy visit. Even if you do not fall in these two categories, the luscious green gardens and the complex is sure to blow away your mind.

Humayun's Tomb
Flight of stairs leading to the terrace of Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun's Tomb
View from the terrace
Humayun's Tomb
The designs in the Humayun’s tomb

Some Facts:

Location: Located in Mathura Road at Nizamuddin, Delhi
How to reach: Nearest metro station is JLN Stadium. It is approximately 2 km from the metro station. You can take an auto from the metro station.
Entry Fees: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 10/- per head.
For others it is Rs.250/-
Photography charges: Nil.
Rs.25/- for video filming.
Open on: Everyday from sunrise to sunset.
Visit to Humayun’s tomb can be done with Lodhi Gardens and Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah