Jama Masjid also known as ‘Masjid-i-Jahanuma’ or Mosque commanding view of the world was the principal mosque of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal. This great mosque of Old Dilli is the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. Its construction began in 1650 and it took 6 years to complete this magnificent example of the architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
The highly decorative mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. Travellers can hire robes at the northern gate. Over 6,000 artisans completed the Jama Masjid by 1656 and it was built using red sandstone and white marble. On the east side, the mosque faces Lal Qila or Red Fort. It has three gateways, four towers and two minarets.
While the Jama Masjid was under construction emperor Shah Jahan received complaint of its slow progress. The emperor therefore summoned Saadullah Khan, his minister in charge of the constructions, and sought explanation. Saadullah Khan informed that the recital of a Holy Quran preceded the installation of every stone to consecrate it. This pleased the emperor so much that he ordered the construction to continue that way.
In those days when the daily wages of a mason and a laborer were 2 paisa and 1 paisa respectively, its cost of construction was one million rupees. Many nobles and nawabs of that era gifted stones and other construction material to the emperor for the mosque’s construction, which therefore are not included in its cost.
This architectural piece of the Shah Jahan is the largest mosque in India and stands on the hill of Bho Jhala of the old Mughal capital city of Shahjahanabad. The main prayer hall at the Jama Masjid can accommodate 25,000 devotees together for Namaaz (prayer).