Jama Masjid, Delhi

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Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is located in Delhi
Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid
Location in Delhi, India
Coordinates: 28°39′03″N 77°14′00″E / 28.6507°N 77.2334°E / 28.6507; 77.2334Coordinates: 28°39′03″N 77°14′00″E / 28.6507°N 77.2334°E / 28.6507; 77.2334
Location Delhi, India
Established 1656
Architectural information
Style Islamic
Capacity 25,000 people
Length 80 m
Width 27 m
Dome(s) 3
Minaret(s) 2
Minaret height 41 m
Main Facade
Jama Masjid, Delhi, 1852
The dome of the Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid Eid Panorama

The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (Persian: مسجد-ا جہاں نما, Devanagari: मस्जिद जहान नुमा, the 'World-reflecting Mosque'), commonly known as the Jama Masjid (Hindi: जामा मस्जिद, Urdu: جامع مسجد) of Delhi, is the largest mosque of India.

It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1658 at a cost of 1 million rupees, and was inaugrated by an imam from Bukhara in present day Uzbekistan. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 persons at a time. There are three domes on the terrace of the mosque which is surrounded by minarets. On the floor, a total of 899 black borders are "marked for worshippers". The architectural plan of the mosque is similar to that of Badshahi Masjid, built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb at Lahore in Pakistan.

The mosque has been the site of two terrorist attacks, one in 2006 and another in 2010. During the first, two explosions occurred in the mosque, injuring thirteen people. In the second, two Taiwanese students were injured as two gunmen opened fire upon them.


It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1658. It was built in red sandstone by more than 5000 workers. The mosque was originally called "Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa", or "mosque commanding view of the world". The construction was done under the supervision of Saadullah Khan, who was the wazir or Prime Minister during Shah Jahan's rule. The cost of the construction in those times was 1 million Rupees.[1] Emperor Shahjahan also built the Taj Mahal, at Agra and the Red Fort in New Delhi, which stands opposite the Jama Masjid. The Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 AD (1066 AH), with three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble.[2] About 25,000 people can pray in the courtyard at a time.[3] The mosque is commonly called "Jama" which means Friday.[1] It is India's largest mosque.[4] The mosque was inaugrated by a Imam Bukhari, a mullah from Bukhara, Uzebekistan, on 23 July 1656, on the invitation from Shah Jahan.[5]

After the British victory in Revolt of 1857, they confiscated the mosque and stationed their soldiers here. There was "also talk of destroying the mosque" for punishing the people of the city. But due to opposition faced, the mosque "survived".[6]

In 2006, it was reported that the mosque was in "urgent need of repair". The then Saudi Arabian king Abdullah, "offered to pay to repair" the mosque. The imam said that he had "received the offer directly from the Saudi authorities" but requested "them" for "approaching" the Indian government.[7]


The northern gate of the mosque has 39 steps. The southern side of the mosque has 33 steps made of red sandstone. The eastern gate of the mosque was the rural entrance and it has 35 steps.[8] Out of all these gateways, the eastern one was used by the emperors to enter the mosque which also remains closed during weekdays.[9]

The mosque is built on a red sandstone porch, which is about 30 feet from ground level and spreads over 1200 square metre.[1] The dome is flanked by "two lofty minarets" which is 130 feet high and consists of 130 steps, "longitudinally striped" by marble and red sandstone.[10] The minarets consists of five storeys, each with a protruding balcony. The adjoining edifices are filled with calligraphy. The first three storeys of the minarets is made of red sandstone, the fourth of marble and the fifth of sandstone.[1]

The courtyard accommodates 25,000 worshippers and occupies 408 square feet.[11] The prayer hall measures 61 metre in length and 27.5 metre in breadth.[12] The prayer hall "is made up of high cusped arches and marble domes". The cabinet located in the north gate of the mosque houses a collection of relics of Muhammad - "the Koran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprints, implanted in a marble block."[1] It is about 261 feet (80m) long and 90 feet (27m) wide.[13]

The floor plan of the mosque is similar to that of the Jama Masjid of Agra.[14] It is covered with white and black ornamented marbles "to copy the Muslim prayer mat". Besides a "thin black border" measuring 3 ft long and 1.5 ft wide is "marked for the worshippers". There are 899 total such boxs.[15] The "architecture and plan" of Badshahi Masjid which was built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb in Lahore is "closely related" to that of the mosque. Before the Revolt of 1857, there was a madrasa near the southern end of the mosque, which was during the revolt destroyed.[16]

Terrorist incidents

In 14 April 2006, there were two explosions "which came soon after Friday prayers" and occured in "swift succession". However it was "not clear", about how the blasts occured. Among the casualties, one was in "serious condition", whereas other eight people sustained minor injuries. The then imam, Imam Bukhari commented "here is anger among our people but I am appealing to them to maintain calm".[17]

On 15 September 2010, two Taiwanese tourists were injured after gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a bus parked near gate number three of the mosque.[18]


In November 2014, the Shahi Imam of the mosque, Imam Syed Bukhari appointed his son Shaban Bukhari as his successor. However Delhi High Court said that this matter had no "legal sanctity" giving no "special equities" to the imam.[19] He created controversy by inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the ceremony and not his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. He said that "Muslims have not forgiven him for the Gujrat riots".[20]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Jama Masjid". Cultural India. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Short History of Jama Masjid Delhi". Jmuf.org. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Charming Chadni Chowk". Delhi Tourism. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Stott and McCulloch, p.35
  5. ^ Dalrymple, p.252
  6. ^ Liddle, p.217
  7. ^ "Saudi offer to fix Delhi mosque". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Akhter, p.270
  9. ^ "Jama Masjid". Tourism India. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Akhter, p.270
  11. ^ Akhter, p.269
  12. ^ Akhter, p.270
  13. ^ Akhter, p.270
  14. ^ Akhter, p.270
  15. ^ Akhter, p.271
  16. ^ Akhter, p.270
  17. ^ "Nine hurt in Delhi mosque blast". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "BBC News: Tourists shot near Delhi mosque". 19 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Jama Masjid Shahi Imam anoints son as his successor". India Today. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Inviting Sharif, not Modi to Jama Masjid: Shahi Imam". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 


External links

Media related to Jama Masjid, Delhi at Wikimedia Commons