The Jama Masjid
History has a special place for the 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Under his reign, some of the most recognizable monuments associated with India were built. The full name of this mosque is Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (literally, “World Reflecting Mosque”). It was completed in 1656 after being under construction for six years and is the largest mosque in India. When Friday prayers are held, over 25,000 faithful followers congregate here to practise their faith It is built of red sandstone – the same material that was used to build the Red Fort which stands across from it. While a mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam, the Jama Masjid incorporates elements of Hindu and Jain traditional designs. It can be accessed from three gates. The mosque itself is covered with three domes covered in alternating black and white marble. The topmost spires are covered in gold and are dwarfed by the two minarets which stand at 41m on either side.
The Jama Masjid is a photographer friendly destination, where tripods were still welcome when I had visited. Entry into the mosque is free, though there is a INR300 charge for cameras. As a matter of respect, one is expected to be appropriately covered and to leave one’s shoes at the gates. I was dressed in shorts, but for a small fee of INR100, was offered a rather large cloth wrapped around my waist that covered my legs all the way down to my ankles. It is worth noting that in summer, the red sandstone heats up under the sun. After 11a.m., it becomes almost unbearable to walk on the sandstone barefoot. If you do happen to visit in summer, I recommend wearing a pair of socks (or two pairs even) to protect yourself from being burnt.