Jama Masjid Guide

Jama Masjid Guide

By CarolUpdated Oct. 19, 2021

Jama Masjid is one of India’s largest mosques. This great mosque of Old Delhi was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was made from red sandstone with white marble inlay and sits on an elevated stone platform that is accessible by stairs from the eastern, northern, and southern entrances.

The mosque contains a prayer hall with a white and black ornamented marble floor that was made to resemble a prayer mat. Jama Masjid also houses holy relics of Prophet Muhammad, including a beard hair, a pair of his sandals, and the impression of his footprint.

The main reason travelers visit Jama Masjid is to admire its beautiful architecture and to watch the worshipers as they fill up the courtyard during Friday prayers.

Quick Facts

  • Jama Masjid is the second-largest mosque in India after to the Taj-ul-Masjid located in Madya Pradesh.
  • Jama Masjid was built between 1650 and 1656 by 5000 workers.
  • The prayer hall inside the mosque can hold up to 25,000 people.
  • Shoes are not allowed to be worn inside the mosque.
  • Other attractions near the mosque include the Red Fort and Chandni Chowk market.
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Jama Masjid: India’s Second-Largest Mosque

Jama Masjid, also known as the Friday Mosque, is the second-largest and most popular mosque in India. This grand structure is a great example of Mughal architecture and was constructed between 1650 and 1656 as the central place of worship for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

History of Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid was designed by Shah Jahan, a renowned patron of Islamic architecture whose other famous works include the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. He constructed the mosque as the central place of worship after moving his capital from Agra to Delhi.

Originally, Jama Masjid was called Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa which can be translated to the “world-reflecting mosque”. The construction of this building took over 5,000 workers and cost around one million rupees to complete. The mosque was inaugurated in 1656 by Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, a mullah from present-day Uzbekistan.

After the British victory in the Rebellion of 1857, they captured Jama Masjid and turned it into a military base for the next five years. The British threatened to destroy the mosque but ended up returning it to a place of worship in 1862 after many petitions from the city's Muslim community.

Architecture and Design of Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid reflects the Mughal style of architecture with its Islamic, Indian, and Persian influences. The mosque was built out of red sandstone and white marble and sits on an elevated stone platform that can be accessed via the eastern, northern, and southern entrances.

The mosque faces west towards the holy city of Mecca. The three sides of the mosque are covered by arched doorways and a tall tower-like archway in the center marks the main entrance. The roof is capped with three domes made from black and white marble.

Jama Masjid is a central meeting place that can hold up to 25,000 worshipers. The courtyard contains a large marble pool where devotees can wash themselves before settling in for prayers. Two sundials indicate prayer time.

The inside of the prayer hall measures 90 by 200 feet. The floor is made of white and black marble designed to resemble the patterns of a prayer mat. The mosque is also famous for containing relics of the Prophet Muhammad including his beard hair, sandals, and an impression of his footprint.

Prayer Sessions in Jama Masjid

The huge courtyard is the main place where local worshipers go to pray. During Eid, the courtyard is packed with people who come to celebrate this important Islamic holiday.

Jama Masjid opens at 7 am and closes at 6:30 pm. The south minaret of the mosque is also a popular attraction, which can be visited between 9 am and 5:30 pm.

Inside the prayer hall, you will find Persian inscriptions above the doorways. The prayer hall remains closed during the prayer hours from 12 pm to 1:30 pm every day.

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Tips for Visiting Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid is open daily from sunrise until sunset. The best time to visit the mosque is in the early mornings when the traffic in Old Delhi is not bad and the crowd at the mosque is not too large.

There are three entrances to the mosque and all visitors must pay a 300 rupees entrance and camera fee. If you wish to climb one of the minaret towers, you will need to pay an extra 300 rupees.

Visitors are not allowed to wear shoes inside the mosque, so we recommend you wear sandals that are easy to take on and off. You should also make sure to dress conservatively.

For women, this means covering your head, legs, and shoulders. You can also buy some more conservative clothes at the mosque’s entrance.

Unfortunately, women need to be careful when climbing the minaret tower. The tower is very narrow and some women have complained about being groped or harassed inside.

Hours: 7 am to 12 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Entrance fee: 300 rupees

Location: Jama Masjid Rd, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi

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What Else to See Near Jama Masjid

There are many restaurants and street food stalls in the Jama Masjid area. If you are a non-vegetarian, you can visit Karim's located opposite the mosque’s gate 1. This restaurant’s famous dishes include chicken tikka and palak paneer. For a more modern vibe, you can try going to the Walled City Cafe & Lounge or Lakhori Restaurant.

The Red Fort is a popular follow-up tour after the Jama Masjid. The fort is located close to the mosque along the banks of the Yamuna River and is made out of red sandstone. Inside the fort, you can find palaces that used to be the residences of Mughal Kings.

From Jama Masjid, travelers can also make an excursion to Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest markets in Delhi. This chaotic shopping street is lined with hawkers and porters selling items such as jewelry, clothing, and paper products. You can also find great street food here.

Other attractions near Jama Masjid include the Charity Birds Hospital at the Digambar Jain Temple and the Sikh temple of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib where the ninth guru was beheaded by Shah Jahan’s son, Aurangzeb.

3 Famous Monuments Built by Shah Jahan

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram, better known as Shah Jahan, was the fifth ruler of the Mughal Empire who reigned from 1628 to 1658. He was one of the greatest practitioners of Mughal architecture and commissioned the construction of incredible buildings such as the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.

1. The Taj Mahal

India’s most famous monument, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum that was built to be as beautiful as it is imposing. This immense white marble tomb is located in Agra and took 20,000 workers over 20 years to complete. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his third and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

2. The Red Fort

Red Fort is another perfect example of Mughal architecture that was constructed by Shah Jahan. The Red Fort was built in the 17th century and covers over 250 acres of land. The fort is made of red sandstone with white marble inlay and is one of the most famous forts in India.

3. Part of the Agra Fort

Although Agra Fort was primarily built during the reign of Akbar, another Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan also contributed to the structure. Akbar originally built the fort to be the main residence of the Mughal royalty.

During Shah Jahan’s reign, he destroyed some of the buildings within the fort in order to add elegant white marble palaces and mosques.

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FAQ about Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid is India’s most famous mosque and people from all over the world come to Delhi to see it. Here are some frequently asked questions along with their answers to give you some more information about this top attraction.

Is Jama Masjid the largest mosque in India?

Despite popular belief, Jama Masjid is not the largest mosque in India. The largest mosque in India is the Taj-ul-Masjid located in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

The Taj-ul-Masjid has an interior area of about 430,000 square feet and can hold 175,000 people.

Why was Jama Masjid built?

Following the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi and founded the walled city of Shahjahanabad. The Jama Masjid was then commissioned to be the main center of worship for the new city.

When was the Jama Masjid built and by whom?

Jama Masjid was constructed between 1650 and 1656 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The construction of this mosque took 5000 workers and cost around one million rupees.

What is Jama Masjid famous for?

This mosque is famous for its style of architecture, beauty, and for being the main place of worship for Muslims in Delhi. On Islamic holidays or during Friday prayers, the mosque courtyard is packed with devotees all praying facing Mecca. The mosque is a major symbol of Islam in India and a reminder of the bygone era of Indian Islamic kings.

Jama Masjid is India’s most famous mosque and people from all over the world come to Delhi to see it. Here are some frequently asked questions along with their answers to give you some more information about this top attraction.

Explore Jama Masjid with Asia Highlights

No trip to Delhi is complete without a visit to the beautiful Jama Masjid. At Asia Highlights, we can arrange all your tours and transportation for you. We specialize in making tailor-made itineraries that fit the unique travel goals of every guest. Let us do the planning so that you can just focus on enjoying your dream trip.

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