Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Jama Masjid Old Delhi was Shah Jahan's last architectural extravagance. He started building this mosque in 1650 and completed it in 1656. Around 5,000 artisans worked day and night to create this masterpiece. The original name of this masjid was Masjid-e-Jahan Numa which means ‘Mosque commanding view of the world’. The present name Jama Masjid is derived from the word ‘Jumma’ referring to the congregational prayer observed by the Muslims on Fridays and Eid. Every year thousands of Muslims come here to offer special Eid prayers in the morning. This mosque houses the relics of Prophet Mohammed which include red hair from his beard, his sandals and his footprints imprinted on a marble slab. It also houses an age-old copy of the Quran engraved on deerskin.
Shah Jahan founded the city Shahjahanabad in Delhi after the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal and shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. Jama Masjid was built by Shah Jahan as the central place of worship in the new city. Jama Masjid Mosque will impress you with its grandeur at the very first glimpse. This magnificent structure stands on the Bho Jhala, one of the two hills of the old Mughal capital city of Shahjahanabad. The mosque was placed on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all sides. Shah Jahan made sure that the mosque and its pulpit sat higher up than his residence and throne. The mosque is accessible from three sides, east, north and south. The eastern gate is the largest and served as the royal entrance. The mosque faces west towards the holy city of Mecca. Broad steps of the mosque lead up to the imposing gateways. The mosque has three huge marble domes with alternating stripes in black and white marble. Two tall minarets flank the mosque on either side and they are decorated in longitudinal stripes of white marble and red sandstone. The main prayer hall has arched entrances facing the west with a traditional altar for the prayer leader.
The Jama Masjid architecture combines the preeminent feature of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. Up to the waist level, the walls of the mosque are covered with marble. Over the arched entrances, there are tablets of white marble inlaid with inscriptions in black marble giving details about the history of the mosque and praising the reign and virtues of Shah Jahan. Floral motifs and calligraphic inscriptions adorn the arches, walls, under arches, domes, columns, and floor of the mosque. Jama Masjid is flanked by tall red and white minarets which reaches into the sky and also has protruding domes which are known to be its distinctive features. The courtyard in front of Jama Masjid Delhi accommodates 25,000 worshippers during prayer. The Hauz in the center of the courtyard is an ablution tank made of marble for washing hands, face and feet before entering the main building for prayer. There are two sundials in the courtyard to indicate prayer time.
Tourists are not allowed to enter the mosque during prayer hours. Wearing foot wear is not allowed inside the mosque and you should dress appropriately covering your head, legs, and shoulder. If you arrive in an inappropriate dress you can hire a robe at the entrance of the northern gate. You can climb up the southern minaret to get a bird's eye view of Old Delhi but unescorted women are not allowed to climb up. Contact Indian Visit if you need help in planning a trip to the Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid New Delhi Timings: 7 A.M -12 P.M and 1.30 P.M - 6.30 P.M.
Jama Masjid Entry Fees: No entry fee. (Camera fee of INR 300).