Jama Masjid Delhi: History, Architecture, Timings, & Facts
Jama Masjid, Delhi Entry Fee
The Jama Masjid in Old Delhi charges an entry fee of Rs 100 for foreigners and SAARC nationals, while there is no entry fee for Indian nationals to visit this historic mosque.
Timings of Jama Masjid, Delhi
The historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi remains open daily from 7:00AM to noon, closes briefly, then reopens from 1:30PM to 6:30PM for visitors to admire the architecture.
Jama Masjid Delhi Address
Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, Delhi, 110006
The Jama Masjid in Delhi, also called the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, is a famous and huge mosque in India. It was built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The design of the Jama Masjid combines Mughal and Persian styles, making it a stunning piece of architecture. It took more than 6 years to build, and over 5,000 artisans and craftsmen worked on it.
This mosque can hold 25,000 worshippers at once, and it’s a significant place for Muslims in Delhi and all over India. Inside, there are important relics, like a hair from Prophet Muhammad’s beard. If you climb up the southern minaret, you can see a great view of Old Delhi and the Red Fort. You can also visit the nearby historic site called Qutub Minar. It’s a tall tower that shows how rich Delhi’s history and architecture are.
The best times to visit are early mornings or evenings when you can watch thousands of devoted people praying in the open courtyard facing the holy shrine of Mecca. The Jama Masjid, with its impressive size and beautiful details, tells the story of the grandeur of the Mughal era.
Jama Masjid Delhi History
The history of the Jama Masjid dates back to the 17th century when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan decided to shift his empire’s capital from Agra to Delhi. He commissioned the construction of the Jama Masjid mosque as part of his grand architectural vision for the new capital city.
The lead architect chosen for building the mosque was Ustad Khalil Chishti who laid the foundation stone in 1650 CE. Over the next six years, more than 5,000 artisans and craftsmen worked on constructing the grand structure. Red sandstone, specifically brought from Rajasthan, was used to build the elegant facades and towering walls of the mosque.
As the main mosque of the capital city, the Jama Masjid held special political importance for the Mughal dynasty as a symbol of their power and wealth. The royals funded education programs in the mosque’s madrasa to create Islamic scholars and preachers. Revenues obtained via taxes helped maintain the operations of the mosque over the subsequent years.
For almost 200 years, the Jama Masjid functioned as the royal mosque until the Mughals fell from power in 1857. The mosque endured damage during the 1857 revolt with plaster work and relics requiring extensive repairs. After the dissolution of the Mughal dynasty and during British rule, the Jama Masjid continued serving as an important place of Islamic worship, learning and pilgrimage in Delhi. Despite witnessing those periodic upheavals, the splendid Jama Masjid still stands tall today as one of India’s most iconic heritage sites with a history spanning over 360 years.
Architecture of Jama Masjid Delhi
The Jama Masjid incorporates a blend of Mughal and Persian architectural elements, as commonly seen in monuments constructed during Shah Jahan’s reign. Red sandstone and white marble were the main construction materials employed, in line with typical Mughal building styles.
The mosque complex has three prominent gateways, four towers and two 40-meter high minarets built using alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The northern gate was exclusively meant for use by the emperor and royals. The eastern gate served as the public entrance to the mosque. At the center lies a vast courtyard that can accommodate over 25,000 worshipers at once. This 1200 square feet courtyard houses a small pond for ritual ablutions before prayer.
The chief structure has threebulbous marble domes surrounded by two soaring minarets. The central dome is the biggest with a height of 21 meters. The qibla wall, oriented in the direction of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, exhibits fine Islamic calligraphy and artwork. Quranic verses and Persian poetry embellish pillars, walls and inner chambers across the mosque complex in typical Indo-Islamic art fashion. Intricate gold embossing adorns the ceiling panels. Chandeliers and lamps enhance the visual richness.
The floors are fully carpeted, with separate sections demarcated for men and women offering namaz. Ablution facilities and shaded pavilions offer convenience to devotees. 130 steps lead up the southern minaret to a terrace that presents panoramic views of Old Delhi’s skyline. The Jama Masjid’s elegant architecture continues to serve its functional purpose while encapsulating history.
Interesting Facts About Jama Masjid of Delhi
The Jama Masjid is one of India’s most famous and an instantly recognizable monument, yet there are some intriguing facts even history buffs may not know about this grand mosque.
With a capacity for over 25,000 worshippers, Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque where thousands congregate at once for Friday prayers and during Eid festival. The vast courtyard can easily accommodate such a massive gathering.
It took over 5,000 workers to construct the mosque within a quick timeline of just 6 years. This was only possible with Emperor Shah Jahan’s regular personal visits to ensure enough manpower and swift progress.
Jama Masjid has one of Delhi’s first known madrasas inside the mosque complex which nurtured many Islamic scholars and priests over centuries. Students came from across India and nearby regions for scripture education.
The main domes feature a crowning pinnacle made with gold spikes. The mosque originally had two additional gold finials which were later stolen. The gold ornamentation displays the enormous wealth that Mughal rulers possessed.
Many precious relics were housed inside the mosque like miniature Quran texts dating back over 300 years, ebony pillars gifted by Queen Noor Jahan and more. But the 1857 revolt led to either theft or destruction of several invaluable artifacts.
Overlooking the busy streets of Old Delhi, Jama Masjid is one of the few monuments worldwide to be still in active use for its originally intended purpose since construction. Daily thousands of worshippers visit this “living relic” of history.
Visiting Hours & Entry Fees of Jama Masjid, Delhi
The popular Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi does not charge a fee for Indians to visit and admire the grand Mughal architecture. However, for international tourists and visitors from SAARC nations, they will have to pay an entry fee of Rs 100.
In terms of timing of visiting hours, the Jama Masjid remains open from sunrise to noon every day. The mosque will then close briefly for around half an hour. The second visiting hours last from 1:30 PM in the afternoon to 6:30 PM in the evening. The morning hours are considered the best time to explore the Jama Masjid for photography and sightseeing in relative peace before the crowds build up.
Things to Do at Jama Masjid Delhi
The Jama Masjid offers several fascinating activities beyond just viewing the architecture:
Climbing the southern minaret provides breathtaking bird’s-eye views of Old Delhi from the top. Over 130 narrow steps lead up to witness the 360-degree panorama of the chaotic streets below.
The main prayer hall when not in use for namaz provides a peaceful environment to sit and appreciate the towering ceilings. Observe the beautiful Islamic calligraphy etched on walls and comprehend the monument’s rich history.
The covered eastern gate entrance to the mosque offers splendid partial façade views. Just outside are food stalls selling local snacks like kebabs and trinkets as inexpensive souvenirs worth checking.
Witnessing the Friday afternoon prayer gathering of thousands inside the courtyard shows how this site maintains its primary functionality since the 17th century, as the Imam recites Quranic verses.
Exploring the white and black marble stonework, patterned ceilings and other architectural details throughout the monument complex reflects the master craftsmanship during Shah Jahan’s rule.
With so much to discover about Jama Masjid’s history, architecture and role as a still-functional mosque, one requires at least 2 to 3 hours to fully experience this magnificent gem of Mughal heritage at the heart of Delhi. A visit here is highly recommended to witness how this Islamic monument preserves both culture and practices across centuries.
Best time to visit Jama Masjid, Delhi
The best time to go to Jama Masjid in Delhi is either early in the morning or in the evening. It’s better during these times because it’s not too hot like it is in the middle of the day. When you visit the mosque at these times, it’s more enjoyable because you can avoid the really hot sun.
In the morning, everything is calm and peaceful. The sunlight is soft, making it a nice time to look around and think. It’s also a chance to see the mosque waking up as people come for their morning prayers.
In the evening, Jama Masjid looks special with the warm sunlight from the setting sun. The surroundings get a bit mysterious as the daylight fades, making it a beautiful scene for visitors. Towards the end of the day, the open area becomes important for many people who come to pray, creating a special and spiritual feeling.
Also, if you go during these times, you can see Jama Masjid with the old part of Delhi and the famous Red Fort in the background. If you climb up the tall tower in the south, you can see these landmarks from above during the softer light of early morning or evening. It gives you a different and interesting view.
How to Reach Jama Masjid Delhi
Getting to Jama Masjid in Delhi is straightforward, and there are various ways to reach this iconic mosque.
If you’re in the city, the most common and budget-friendly mode of transportation is by taking a bus. Delhi has an extensive network of buses that cover different routes, and many buses pass through or near Jama Masjid. You can find buses from various parts of the city that will drop you off close to the mosque.
Another convenient option is to use the Delhi Metro. The nearest metro station to Jama Masjid is the Jama Masjid Metro Station, which is on the Violet Line. Once you reach the metro station, you can cover the remaining distance on foot.
For those who prefer traveling by train, the Old Delhi Railway Station is the closest railway station to Jama Masjid. From there, you can take a short auto-rickshaw or cycle rickshaw ride to reach the mosque.
If you’re already in the vicinity of Old Delhi or Chandni Chowk, you might find it convenient to walk to Jama Masjid. The mosque is situated in the heart of Old Delhi, making it accessible by foot from various points in the area.
In summary, reaching Jama Masjid in Delhi is easy, and you can choose between buses, the metro, auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, or even walking, depending on your location and preference. The mosque is well-connected within the city, allowing visitors to access this historical site through multiple transportation options.