Jama Masjid, Delhi

I wondered and wondered in what order to do my series of travel posts, and finally decided to begin at the beginning but go random  after that :)

Our first stop was the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. A Jama Masjid is a large congregational mosque where Friday noon prayers are held. The one in Delhi is India's biggest - it can accommodate up to  25000 people. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan laid its foundation stone in 1650, and the mosque was completed in 1656.

My past trips to Delhi have only been about shopping and eating endlessly, so this mosque has been on my must-see list for a long time now. Mainly because I've been fascinated (from pictures, of course) by how similar this mosque, and many other Jama Masjids of India (including the one in Fatehpur Sikri that I saw on the trip) are to the Badshahi mosque in Lahore. It isn't surprising though, because Shah Jahan apparently commissioned several mosques during his reign, and the mosque in Lahore was built by his son, Aurangzeb.

There are three huge gates to the masjid on the north, south and east.
The extensive grounds around the masjid. What you see on the left is one more of the gates: 
The mosque has eight striped domes and two huge striped minarets (41m high) on either side. 
Like I said, I saw the masjid after a long time of wanting to, and it certainly did not disappoint - the sheer size blew me away. When we reached, the afternoon namaaz was going on, during which non-Muslims cannot go in. So we sat basking in the winter sun on the red steps outside the gate, watching the gallis of old Delhi buzzing with activity and dreaming about the lunch we were going to have in the parathey waali galli :)

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