Moth ki Masjid is an over five hundred year old Lodi-era mosque located south of the residential colony of South Extension, Part 2 (NDSE II) in the village of Masjid Moth in South Dilli. Translating to “Lentil Mosque,” it was built in the first decade of the sixteenth century by Miyan Bhoiya, a prime minister under Sultan Sikander Lodhi (1517-1526). Legend has it that one day Sikandar Lodhi gave a grain of moth (a type of lentil) which had been dropped by a bird, to his loyal minister Miyan Bhoiya as a reward for fun. The witty minister planted the seed carefully years after years until it multiplied so many times that it could finally finance the construction of the mosque. He then went to the sovereign to ask his permission to build the mosque.
Another version of the legend is that Sikandar Lodhi on one of his visits to the area played a prank on his Prime Minister by giving him a gift of a grain of moth (lentil). The Wazir accepted the gift in good grace and instead of throwing it away planted it in his garden. Over the years repeated plantation resulted in a rich harvest that provided a surplus income to the Wazir. Thereafter, the wazir, with the revenue earned from the lentil grains, decided to build a mosque. On completion, he invited the Sultan to visit the mosque and narrated the sequence of events which lead to the building of the mosque. Impressed by this unique achievement, the Lodi named the mosque as “Moth Ki Masjid” or the Mosque from the Moth Lentil.
This mosque is considered the second example, after the Bara Gumbad Mosque at Lodi Garden, Delhi, of the new mosque type that developed during the Lodi period. Characterized by a smaller size, a more intimate scale, and intricate ornamentation compared to the large congregational mosques built during earlier sultanate dynasties. Its variant name, “Panchmukhi Mosque,” refers to the five-bay arrangement of the prayer hall. This mosque served as a model for the Jamali Kamali mosque at Mehrauli, Dilli, built between 1528 and 1536.
The mosque is designed with an Indo-Islamic architecture style in mind. It features a square shape and a courtyard that is protected from outside areas through the use of a large series of walls. There are a few chhatris (umbrellas) around the ends of the Moth Ki Masjid. These small domes are on towers that are located around some of the gates in the mosque. This is a notable point in the architectural design of the mosque because it helped to influence the construction styles of different kinds of buildings like this in Delhi. A dome can be seen in the central part of the mosque. This dome is not in an exact circle but is still round in size.
The materials that were used in the construction of the Moth Ki Masjid were red sandstone pieces. This is a standard that was used throughout much of Dilli for other important religious buildings in the Islamic faith. This mosque is an attractive place that is simple yet beautiful and small yet important. The Moth Ki Masjid in saddi Dilli features a great design and a number of unique accents. This is a notable mosque that still works to this day for all sorts of visitors and people who come here to worship.