Begum Shahi Mosque

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Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum
بیگم شاہی مسجد
Interior of Mariyam Zamani Begum Mosque.jpg
The building is Lahore's earliest dated Mughal period mosque.[1]
Basic information
Affiliation Islam
District Lahore
Province Punjab
Country Pakistan Pakistan
Architectural description
Architectural type Mosque
Architectural style Indo-Islamic/Mughal
Groundbreaking 1611
Completed 1614
Specifications
Dome(s) 3
Materials Brick[2]
A view of the mosque's main prayer chamber from the courtyard.

Begum Shahi Mosque (Urdu: بیگم شاہی مسجد‎), officially The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum (Urdu: مریم زمانی بیگم کی مسجد‎), is an early 17th-century mosque situated in the Walled City of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The mosque was built between 1611 and 1614 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir in honour of his mother. It is Lahore's earliest surviving example of a Mughal-era mosque,[1][3] and influenced construction of the larger Wazir Khan Mosque a few decades later.[4]

The mosque has been encroached upon by several shops, and views of the mosque from the Akbari Gate of the Lahore Fort have been obstructed by illegally constructed tyre shops.[5] In July 2016, the Walled City of Lahore Authority announced that the shops would be removed, and the mosque would also be conserved and restored.[6]

Background[edit]

The mosque was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir in the honour of his mother, Begum Mariyam Zamani, who was also known as 'Maharani Jodha Bai'. The mosque likely served as the main mosque for members that attended the Mughal court.[1]

Location[edit]

The mosque is located inside the old Masti Gate in the Walled City of Lahore.

History[edit]

Construction began in 1611 and lasted until 1614.[3] The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani was temporarily turned into a gunpowder factory by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, for which it was then known as Barudkhana Wali Masjid ("Gunpowder Mosque").[5][3] In 1850 the mosque was returned to the Muslims of Lahore who were able to contribute to its renovation.[2]

Architecture[edit]

The mosque's walls feature elaborate frescoes.
The dome of the mosque is also ornately embellished with Mughal era frescoes.
The mosque features a series of low domes.

The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum represents a transitional phase of architecture, and features both Mughal influences, and influences from the earlier Pashtun Lodi Dynasty which had previously ruled the region.[1] Short domes and wide arches represent the earlier Lodi style, while the mosque's balconies, side rooms, and embellishment are in the Mughal style.[2]

The mosque features Lahore's first five-bay prayer chamber that would later be typical of all later Mughal mosques such as the Wazir Khan Mosque and Badshahi Mosque. The mosque's central bay is in the style of the Persian Char Taq, and is flanked by one smaller dome on either side.[7] The mosque originally had 3 gateways, of which 2 survive.[1]

Layout[edit]

The mosque's prayer chamber is 130.5 feet long, and 34 feet wide.[3] The hall is divided into 5 bays, topped by three arches - the largest of which is over the central bay. The mosque also features a courtyard measuring 128 by 82 feet,[8] which has an ablution pool for Islamic ritual washing.[3]

Interior embellishment[edit]

The mosque features highly intricate frescoes.

The interior of the mosque features extensive Mughal fresco work, and would be the model for the elaborate and etensive frescoes at the Wazir Khan Mosque a few decades later.[1] Most frescoes are floral in design, and calligraphy on the walls includes non-Quranic text, and is the first mosque in Lahore to feature this practice.[3]

Inscriptions[edit]

The mosque features inscriptions of Quranic, and non-Quranic origin.[3] An inscription over the northern gateway features a Persian inscription which reads:[2]

God be thanked through whose grace, under the auspices of His Majesty, this building was completed. The founder of the edifice, the place of salvation, is the Queen Mariyam Zamani. For the completion of this edifice, which resembles paradise, I was thinking about when at last I found it in the words 'What a fine mosque!'

While the inscription over the eastern gateway reads:[2]

May the Conqueror of the world, King Nur-ud-Din Muhammad, shine in the world like the sun and moon, oh God!

Over an archway on the northern end of the mosque is a final inscription which reads:[2]

So said the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, "The faithful in a mosque are as fish in water!"

Conservation[edit]

Views of the mosque have been obstructed by illegally built shops which have encroached upon the mosque. In July 2016, the Walled City of Lahore Authority announced that the shops would be removed, and the mosque conserved and restored.[6]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Asher, Catherine Blanshard (1992). Architecture of Mughal India, Part 1, Volume 4. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521267281. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Latif, Syad Muhammad (1892). Lahore: Its History, Architectural Remains and Antiquities. Oxford University: New Imperial Press. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Begum Shahi Masjid". Pakistan Today. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "The mosque that Jodha Bai built". Daily Times. 26 June 2004. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "A visual delight – Maryam Zamani and Wazir Khan Mosques". Dawn. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Mariam Zamani Mosque to be restored". The Nation (Pakistan). 26 July 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Gibb, H. A. R. (1954). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill Archive. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  8. ^ Awan, M. Yusuf. "History of Mosque Architecture in Lahore" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2017. 

Coordinates: 31°35′14″N 74°19′04″E / 31.587095°N 74.317802°E / 31.587095; 74.317802