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Quiet prayers in the prayer hall of the Jami (Friday) Mosque, Old Delhi Postcard

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Quiet prayers in the prayer hall of the Jami (Friday) Mosque, Old Delhi

Quiet prayers in the prayer hall of the Jami (Friday) Mosque, Old Delhi, India

The Jami Mosque is the principal mosque of Shahjahanabad, or 'Old Delhi,' the seventh Muslim city on the site of Delhi. The mosque, like the city, was founded by Shah Jahan, and its building was supervised by 'Allami Said Khan and Fazl Khan. It is one of the largest in India; its courtyard measures 91 meters across, and required six years of work by a reported 5,000 masons. It functions as a congregational, Friday (Jami) mosque, and has been an important commercial, and civic center for the city. Shah Jahan called it the Masjid-i-Jahannuma, or the 'World-Displaying Mosque.' The mosque sits at the western edge of a cloistered courtyard built on an outcropping at the center of the city. Steep flights of stairs lead up to the three gates along the other sides of the enclosure. The fa├žade screen of the mosque is faced in red sandstone with extensive white marble trim. It contains eleven arches, the central one being an extremely large iwan. A tall minaret stands at each end of the screen, a composition which would have much influence on subsequent Mughal mosques. Three bulbous white domes cover the mosque, each decorated with thin vertical black stripes. A water tank at the center of the courtyard serves as an ablution pool. The architect was Ustad Ahmad Lahuri was Persian and is most likely the architect for the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. Sources: Tillotson, G.H.R. 1990. Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 52-54. Asher, Catherine. 1992. The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture of Mughal India. Cambridge University Press, 202.

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