Jama Masjid Mosque.
Millions of tourists from all over the world come to the mosque every year. Jama Masjid is considered a national and religious treasure of all Indian people.
Jama Masjid is one of the very first Indian mosques. Externally it is a large rectangular structure with 4 tall towers, three main gates and two minarets. It is possible to get inside through several arched gates. The walls of the mosque are completely covered with red sandstone and light marble, which is laid out on a special principle in the form of vertical bands. Climbing up one of the minarets you can see the whole city. It costs 20 rupees for such a sightseeing tour. In the courtyard is a well, designed for washing hands and feet.
Jama masjid has a large area with a capacity of more than 25 thousand people. Surprisingly, representatives of different religious teachings can come to it. For non-Muslims the entrance is closed only during prayers. Before entering, one has to take off shoes at the entrance and dress according to the rules.
Anyone can climb the towers by paying 20 rupees. Women are allowed in only if accompanied by a guide. The gate of the mosque is open to visitors every day except weekends from 8:30 am.
History of Jama Masjid
The construction of the mosque began during the reign of Shah Jahan, and did not end until 1656, when his son Jahan Aurangzeb was in power. The architect who built Jama Masjid is also known for designing the Taj Mahal. His other works include the Port of Delhi and numerous magnificent mosques scattered all over India. 5,000 builders were involved in the construction of the majestic structure. But when all the construction work was finished, Governor William Horonbey ordered the building to be destroyed. This was due to the law stating that no structure was to be built within 600 yards around the Fort.
The mosque you can see now was erected in the late 18th century. Construction lasted 27 years.
And for many years to the present day Jama Masjid pleases many tourists with its pristine architecture. The structure is kept in perfect condition only due to the funds collected by tourists and other visitors. Every day more than 200 thousand Muslims visit the mosque for prayers.
For all Indian Muslims, the mosque has great cultural and religious significance. This place has become home to important sacred relics, such as the shoe of Prophet Muhammad or his footprint in stone. There are many such sacred objects in the temple. All visitors sincerely believe that by coming here they can purify their soul and pray for their deceased relatives.
When you come to the Jama Masjid mosque, it is impossible not to feel the powerful energy that lurks in every corner of the sacred structure. Many tourists noted that they came to the mosque as if under pressure, there was a feeling of a certain magnetism.
It was built in 1565 and almost immediately demolished by order of the governor. The modern building was erected in 1775. Today, the mosque is preserved in almost perfect condition, all thanks to numerous restorations carried out at the expense of visitors. All tourists are attracted here by the unusual architecture created from sandstone combined with white marble. And understandably, there are always a lot of visitors.
This magnificent building is located near the street Chandni Chowk. There is no point in giving the orientation, because the snow-white domes of Jama Masjid are visible from almost anywhere in the city. Once you arrive at the gate, you have to cross 36 steps on your way to the work of architectural art. After a tour inside the structure, you can visit the Kalan Masjid Mosque. It got its name from the black colored stones from which the mosque was built. “Kalan” is Indian for “black”. Also next to Jama Masjid is the tomb of Sultan Razia, who ruled in 1236. This woman in her 4 years of rule did a lot for Delhi. Razia is the only woman ever to sit on the sultan’s throne. There are many legends associated with her in India, praising the beauty and sharp mind of the great Sultaness.
Getting to the mosque is quite easy. You can walk from Main Bazaar. The walk will take no more than 30 minutes, but this time will pass unnoticed, as around you will see many old houses and other attractions. Many tourists are brought to the mosque on a tour bus with a guide who during the walk tells about the formation of Jama Masjid. Once you get to the observation deck of the tower, you will see a magnificent view of the city. Before you go to the mosque, don’t forget the rules. You can wear only clothes that completely cover the skin and special slippers that are issued at the entrance.
It is desirable to come here early in the morning, when it is not so hot and there are almost few people. If you go in the morning, take a hat and some water, as you’ll have to walk for a long time, and you’ll be in the open air the whole time. For the entire visit will have to pay 60 rupees. Despite all the nuances, a visit to the mosque will bring a lot of impressions and emotions.
Jama Masjid Mosque
Having decided to visit this extraordinary mosque at the beginning of our trip to India, my lover Stephan and I returned to it mentally several times afterwards, and even saw it in our dreams.
The full name of this mosque is Masjid-i Jahan-Numa, which means “Reflecting the World” in Persian. Some say it is the largest mosque in India, others say it is one of the largest, but one thing is certain – it is an impressive, huge and beautiful structure.
History of Jama Masjid Mosque
The mosque was built in 1656 by Shah Jahan, the same one who created the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. While he dedicated the Taj Mahal to his deceased wife, the Jama Masjid was built in honor of their mutual daughter, Jahanara Begum.
Besides the creation of these architectural monuments and the financially unsuccessful wars with the Persians, this ruler with a loud name that translates as “lord of peace” is remembered for moving the capital of his empire to Delhi. It took eight years and the strength of 5,000 workers to build Delhi’s main mosque.
In 1857, after suppressing a major rebellion, the British confiscated the mosque to house their soldiers and even wanted to destroy it as punishment to the people of the city, but stopped in the face of strong protest.
Now the mosque is briefly called Jama Masjid, literally “Friday Prayer. In Islam, it is customary to gather for general midday prayers on Friday, so the main mosque of the city got such a name.
Jama Masjid is surrounded by a high red wall with four corner towers. One can get inside from one of the three sides by climbing a staircase and passing through a grandiose gate.
Inside is a spacious square, a beautiful arched gallery around the perimeter, a pool for ablution and the mosque itself with three domes and two minarets 40 meters high each.
On religious holidays the square accommodates up to 25 thousand people, but on a weekday evening we saw there a few people praying, children playing, families having a rest, mostly Indian tourists and a lot of pigeons.
How to dress, what to look at and what to pay for
- Shoes . When you enter a mosque, like all other religious buildings in India, you must take your shoes off. You can take your shoes with you or leave them at the entrance. If you put them on a shelf, you will be charged a small security fee. We took our shoes with us and left them just before entering the tower.
- Clothing :
- Girls, it is not necessary to wear a hijab, but it is better to choose long and loose clothing to feel comfortable. Wear a floor-length skirt or dress, a long-sleeved blouse. You will already attract a lot of attention, to arouse curiosity with your skin color alone. If you find yourself at the mosque in inappropriate attire, you can rent a suitable garment at the northern gate.
- Men in shorts are also asked to wear a rented skirt, so as not to embarrass the faithful with glistening knees. Better come in pants, or you’re destined to look like those cheerful ladies from America :).
- “Admission to the mosque is free for everyone,” we said stubbornly. We stubbornly told the Hindu man who stopped us at the entrance and waved printed tickets in our faces.
- We took pictures and videos. The controller pointed us to the rules hanging on the wall: “300 rupees for a camera, 300 rupees for a video camera” (300 Indian rupees equals about $4.5). But we had neither. The Hindu checked my bag, touched Stefan’s pockets and, upset, wanted to send us to another entrance, saying it was free there, but, sensing our displeasure, backed off and let us pass.
- How to save money . Inside, no one checks to see if you’re taking pictures with or without a ticket. Girls can safely carry phones in their pockets because the controllers won’t touch them.
It is free to go up the wall of the mosque and walk around, but for the climb to the minaret of the foreigners are charged $ 1.5 (100 rupees). Before entering the tower you will have to leave your shoes if you did not leave them at the entrance of the mosque, and the enterprising guide will charge you $ 0.3 (20 rupees) for the security of shoes.
The climb gave me a bit of claustrophobia: you step up the steep steps of a dashingly spiral staircase, the guide prods the group with shouts of “chalo, chalo!” (“step, step!”), sometimes you cross paths with people coming down – you press into the wall to separate. But it all lasts no more than 5 minutes. The view of Delhi from above is worth it! In good weather, you can see half the city, including the nearby Red Fort.
The tower is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and the mosque is open from 8:00 am until sunset. It is worth considering that every day from 12:00 to 13:30 there is a prayer that is forbidden to non-Muslims.
How to get to the Jama Masjid Mosque
The most reliable way, if you are afraid of getting lost in the bustling Delhi, is to order a cab. For example, through Uber.
Most likely, the cab driver will find you and take you right to the gate without any problems. The disadvantage is that it is much more expensive than taking public transportation, and you can’t experience the real Indian street life.
An intermediate option is to take a car or a bicycle rickshaw. They are used by everyone, locals and tourists alike. The main thing is to know the real cost of services and to bargain with a smile :).
The standard price for a ride from the mosque to the popular Paharganj area is $2.5 (Rs. 150) for foreigners and $0.3 (Rs. 20) per person for locals. The best we could come up with was 80 rupees for three people on a bicycle rickshaw, thanks to the indefatigable persistence of our Indian friend. There are several mobile applications to call a rickshaw (for example, Jugnoo), but the price of the trip can greatly increase.
The easiest and cheapest way is to take the subway to Chawri Bazaar station. Then walk (7-10 minutes) or faster by rickshaw $0.8 (50 rupees). You can read about how to navigate the Delhi Metro here.
Well, if you do not know the map of the area, and expect to navigate as you go, I advise to follow the rule of “ask three times”. In India you have to ask at least three people to be completely sure of the right direction. That way you have a much better chance of getting to the right place :).