Wazir Khan Mosque

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Wazir Khan Mosque
Wazir Khan Mosque.jpg
Wazir Khan Mosque
Basic information
Affiliation Islam
District Lahore
Province Punjab
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Mosque
Architectural description
Architectural type Mosque
Architectural style Indo-Islamic/Mughal
Completed 1635 A.D.
Specifications
Minaret height 100 feet
The mosque is renowned for its rich embellishment.

The Wazir Khan Mosque (Punjabi/Urdu: مسجد وزیر خان Masjid Wazīr Khān) is a Mughal era mosque in the city of Lahore, capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. The mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, and is renowned for its extensive faience tile work, and its interior surfaces that are richly embellished with Mughal frescoes.

Location[edit]

The mosque is located in the Walled City of Lahore. It is located on the southern side of Lahore's Royal Road which leads from the Lahore Fort to the Delhi Gate. The mosque's location is said to be where Wazir Khan built a mazar, or Sufi shrine.[1]

Background[edit]

Wazir Khan was the governor of the Punjab province in Mughal times and was also one of the Mughal court physicians.[2] He built many buildings in the city of Lahore,[2]and owned a substantial amount of land near the Delhi Gate. He commissioned the mosque in 1635 in order to enclose the tomb of Miran Badshah, an esteemed Sufi saint whose tomb lies in the courtyard of the mosque.[2] The mosque was richly embellished with frescoes that synthesize Mughal and local Punjabi decorative traditions.[3] The mosque replaced the Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum as the city's Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque).[4]

Khan allotted the various shops as well as the houses on the sides of the streets adjacent to the mosque as waqf to the mosque.[5] The income of the waqf along with the money raised from the sarais and baths nearby were used to build the mosque.[5] Historian Stephen Alter writes that the "mosque itself is virtually impossible to see from outside" due to the various buildings surrounding the mosque.[6]

History[edit]

It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and a governor of Lahore. Ansari was commonly known as Wazir Khan - a popular title bestowed upon him .[7] The mosque is inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate. It mosque contains some of the finest examples of Qashani tile work from the Mughal period.

The Lollywood movie "Khuda Ke Liye (For God Sake)" was filmed in the mosque.[8]

Architecture[edit]

The mosque's exterior is highly embellished with intricate kashi-kari, or Persian-style tile work.
Almost every interior surface of the mosque is richly decorated.

The mosque covers an area of 279 feet (85 m) x 159 feet (48 m).[9] It has a single aisle and five bays.[2] The mosque stands on an elevated plinth and is entered through a gate in the eastern side of the complex which has an octagonal interior chamber.[2] The prayer chamber of it is modelled on that of the Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum which is located in the same city.[2] High arched galleries surrounds its central brick paved courtyard - a typical feature of Iranian four aiwan mosque.[2] It is also flanked on its four sides by 32 hijras (guestrooms).[9] There are four minarets of the mosque, each located in one corner of the courtyard.[2]

The mosque is constructed of bricks which are laid in kankad lime.[9] It is adorned with fresco paintings and tile decoration.[1] The decoration also reflects the regional style, a concept which is uncommon in mosques of Mughal capitals.[4] The details in the mosque's minarets and kiosks as well as the engraved patterns of honeycomb on the ceiling is similar to that of Alhambra.[10] It is the first one in Lahore in which minarets were built; previous ones did not have them.[4]

The mosque is decorated in Punjab's kasha kari works which is not seen in the Jama Masjid of Delhi or Jama Masjid of Agra.[4] The work is named so because of the tiles were imported from Kashan, a city in Persia. This work was first used in Mughal buildings first time under Shah Jahan's reign at this mosque. The colours used in this work are lajvard (cobalt), firozi (corulean blue), green, orange, yellow,purple.[11]

The domes of the mosque are built in the Lodi style.[12] The walls are divided into compartments "for the reception of glazed pattern".[12] The walls also contain calligraphy in Arabic and Persian languages,[10] and decorative pottery. The grills of the mosque are made of terracotta.[13] A strange feature of it is that of the incorporation of 22 shops in its ground plan. These shops forming are located on the two sides of a brick paved passage leading to the mosque which exists even now.[14]

Located on the western side of the mosque, the prayer chamber is divided into five compartments by "massive piers" which bears the four arches. Moreover, there is a dome on top of each compartment.[9] In the prayer chamber's north and south ends, there stands a small room, whereas the spiral staircase which leads to the roof is located in the eastern end.[9]

Panorama of the mosque's courtyard.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Westcoat, p.160
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Asher, p.225
  3. ^ Wescoat, James (1996). No eBook available Dumbarton Oaks Amazon.com Barnes&Noble.com Books-A-Million IndieBound Find in a library All sellers » Get Textbooks on Google Play Rent and save from the world's largest eBookstore. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. Go to Google Play Now » My library My History Books on Google Play Mughal Gardens: Sources, Places, Representations, and Prospects. Dumbarton Oaks. p. 160. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gharipour, p.87
  5. ^ a b A. H. Qasmi. International encyclopaedia of Islam. Gyan Publishing House. p. 269. ISBN 9788182053205. 
  6. ^ Stephen Alter. Amritsar to Lahore: A Journey Across the India-Pakistan Border. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780812217438. 
  7. ^ Shelomo Dov Goitein. Studies in Islamic History and Institutions BRILL, 2010 ISBN 9004179313 p 170
  8. ^ "Wazir Khan Mosque". Multescatola. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Wazir Khan's Mosque, Lahore". UNESCO. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Iftikhar Haider Malik. Culture and Customs of Pakistan. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 90. ISBN 9780313331268. 
  11. ^ W.J. Furnival. Leadless decorative tiles, faience, and mosaic. Рипол Классик. p. 838. ISBN 9781176325630. 
  12. ^ a b Haig, p.561
  13. ^ "Historical mosques of Lahore". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Lahore's treasures – IV". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°34′59″N 74°19′24″E / 31.58306°N 74.32333°E / 31.58306; 74.32333