Badshahi Mosque

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Badshahi Masjid)
Jump to: navigation, search
Badshahi Mosque
Shahi Mosque 3.jpg
Basic information
Location Iqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan
Geographic coordinates 31°35′17.07″N 74°18′36.45″E / 31.5880750°N 74.3101250°E / 31.5880750; 74.3101250Coordinates: 31°35′17.07″N 74°18′36.45″E / 31.5880750°N 74.3101250°E / 31.5880750; 74.3101250
Affiliation Sunni Islam (Hanafite)
Province Punjab
District Lahore
Year consecrated 1671
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Mosque
Leadership Aurangzeb
Architectural description
Architectural type Mosque
Architectural style Indo-Islamic, Mughal
Completed 1673
Capacity 100,000
Dome(s) 3
Minaret(s) 8 (4 major, 4 minor)
Minaret height 176 ft 4 in (53.75 m)
Badshahi Mosque (Front)

The Badshahi Mosque (Urdu: بادشاہی مسجد‎, Imperial Mosque) in Lahore, commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673, is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world.[1] Epitomising the beauty, passion and grandeur of the Mughal era, it is Lahore's most famous landmark and a major tourist attraction.[2] It is located in Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan.

In 1993, the Government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of the Badshahi Mosque as a World Heritage Site in UNESCO's World Heritage List, where it has been included in Pakistan's Tentative List for possible nomination to the World Heritage List by UNESCO.[3]


Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal with the mosque in the background

The mosque is located in Lahore, Pakistan, just opposite to a Roshnai Gate.[4] The Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal lies beside the mosque. The mosque is also located a "few miles" away from Tomb of Jahangir.[5]


The mosque was constructed by the sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who was not a patron of art and architecture, which the other Mughal rulers had patronised. The mosque was built between 1671 and 1673 by him under the guidance of Fidai Khan Koka who was the Mughal emperor's "master of ordinance".[6]

Badshahi Mosque with damaged minarets during Sikh rule

On 7 July 1799, the Sikh army of the Sukerchakia chief, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, took control of Lahore.[7] After the capture of the city, the Badshahi Mosque was desecrated[8] by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and used its vast courtyard as a stable for his armies horses and its 80 hujras (small study rooms surrounding the courtyard) as quarters for his soldiers and as magazines for military stores. Maharaja Ranjit Singh used the Hazuri Bagh, the enclosed garden next to the Mosque as his official royal court of audience.[9] In 1818, he built a marble edifice in the garden facing the mosque.[10]

The mosque in 1880s with broken minarets

In 1841, during the Sikh civil war, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's son, Maharaja Sher Singh, used the Mosque's large minarets for placement of zamburahs or light guns, which were placed atop the minarets to bombard the supporters of the Sikh Maharani Chand Kaur taking refuge in the besieged Lahore Fort, inflicting great damage to the Fort itself. In one of these bombardments, the Fort's Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) was destroyed (it was subsequently rebuilt by the British but never regained its original architectural splendour).[2] During this time, Henri De la Rouche, a French cavalry officer employed in the army of Maharaja Sher Singh,[11] used a tunnel connecting the Badshahi Mosque to the Lahore Fort to temporarily store gunpowder.[12]

The mosque in 1870s

When the British East India company took control of Lahore in 1849, they continued the Sikh practice of using the Mosque and the adjoining Fort as a military garrison. The 80 cells (hujras) built into the walls surrounding the Mosque's vast courtyard on three sides were originally study rooms, which were used by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh to house troops and military stores. The British demolished them so as to prevent them from being used for anti-British activities and rebuilt them to form open arcades or dalans, which continue to this day.[13]

Layout of the mosque

Sensing increasing Muslim resentment against the use of the Mosque as a military garrison, which was continuing since Sikh Rule, the British set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority in 1852 to oversee the restoration and return of the Mosque to Muslims as a place of religious worship. From 1852 onwards, piecemeal repairs were carried out under the supervision of the Badshahi Mosque Authority. Extensive repairs commenced from 1939 onwards, when the Punjab Premier Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan took on the task of raising funds for this purpose.[14]

It was not until 1852 that the British established the Badshahi Mosque Authority to oversee the restoration of the mosque so that it could be returned to Muslims as a place of worship. Although repairs were carried out, it was not until 1939 that extensive repairs began under the oversight of architect Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur. The repairs continued until 1960 and were completed at a cost of 4.8 million rupees.[15]

On the occasion of the 2nd Islamic Summit held at Lahore on 22 February 1974, thirty-nine heads of Muslim states offered their Friday prayers in the Badshahi Mosque, including, among others, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuwait. The prayers were led by Mawlānā Abdul Qadir Azad, the then Khatib of the Mosque.[16]

Between 1939 and 1960, the mosque was repaired to bring it back to its original condition.[17] In 1993, the Government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of the Badshahi Mosque as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where it has been included in Pakistan's Tentative List for possible nomination to the World Heritage List.[3]

In 2000, the marble inlay in the Main Prayer Hall was repaired. In 2008, replacement work on the red sandstone tiles on the Mosque's large courtyard commenced, using red sandstone especially imported from the original source near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India[18] and the Mosque is now almost restored to its original 17th century condition.[19]


The mosque combines "the functions" of both a mosque and a idgah. On the eastern side of the mosque is the entrance stairway "that leads through a great vaulted entrance" which is constructed of red sandstone.[20] The courtyard which measures 276,000 square feet[21] enclosed by single-aisled arcades can accommodate sixty thousand worshippers. At each of the four corners of the mosque, there is an octagonal, three storeyed minar of red sandstone "with an open, marble-covered canopy". The courtyard is framed by four smaller minarets. The prayer chamber "is dominated by a central arched niche" with five arches on either side which is about one third the size of the central niche. The largest dome is behind the central arch and on its two sides there are two bulbous marble domes. Besides the mosque has symmetry and "balanced proportions and clarity".[20]

The minarets are 196 feet tall with an outer circumference of 67 feet and the inner circumference is eight and half feet. Weapons were stored in the minarets during Sikh rule. The mosque is built on a raised platform, which is reached by flight of 22 steps.[21] Though the rooms above the entrance gate are not open to the public it is believed that it contains the hair of Muhammad and Ali.[22]

The main prayer chamber is divided into seven chambers by engraved arches. On the top of the middle, there are three domes, one main and two minor which depicts "the excellence of Mughal architecture". The courtyard is made up of brownstone slabs. The interior of the mosque is adorned with precious and semi-precious stones in floral design. The three chambers on each side of the main chamber contains rooms which are used for teaching purpose. The mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshippers in the prayer hall and 1,00,000 worshippers in the courtyard. The courtyard of the mosque is the largest amongst other mosques in the world.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Taj Mahal 217 Success Secrets - 217 Most Asked Questions by Luis Butler, p.150
  2. ^ a b "Badshahi Mosque". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  3. ^ a b UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Badshahi Mosque, Lahore - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  4. ^ Waheed ud Din, p.14
  5. ^ a b Waheed Ud Din, p.15
  6. ^ Meri, p.91
  7. ^ "Welcome to the Sikh Encyclopedia". 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  8. ^ City of Sin and Splendor: Writings on Lahore - by Bapsi Sidhwa, p23
  9. ^ Khullar, K. K. (1980). Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Hem Publishers. p. 7. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Tikekar, p.74
  11. ^ "De La Roche, Henri Francois Stanislaus". Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Grey, C. (1993). European Adventures of Northern India. Asian Educational Services. pp. 343–. ISBN 978-81-206-0853-5. 
  13. ^ Development of Mosque Architecture in Pakistan by Ahmad Nabi Khan, p.114
  14. ^ Omer Tarin, Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan and the Renovation of the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore: An Historical Survey, in Pakistan Historical Digest Vol 2, No 4, Lahore, 1995, pp. 21-29
  15. ^ "Badshahi Mosque (built 1672-74)". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  16. ^ "Report on Islamic Summit, 1974 Pakistan, Lahore, February 22–24, 1974", Islamabad: Department of Films and Publications, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Auqaf and Haj, Government of Pakistan, 1974 (p. 332)
  17. ^ "Badshahi Mosque: The Jewel of Lahore". Aawsat. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Badshahi Mosque Re-flooring". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  19. ^ "Badshahi Mosque". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  20. ^ a b Meri, p.92
  21. ^ a b Tikekar, p.73
  22. ^ Black, p.21


  • Josef W. Meri. Medieval Islamic Civilization. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0415966914. 
  • Maneesha Tikekar. Across the Wagah. Bibliophile South Asia. ISBN 8185002347. 
  • Carolyn Black. Pakistan: The culture. Crabtree Publishing Company. ISBN 0778793486. 
  • Waheed Ud Din. The Marching Bells: A Journey of a Life Time. Author House. ISBN 9781456744144. 

External links[edit]