Name the biggest mosque in India… Many wrongly attribute this accolade to the Jama Masjid of Old Delhi. However, the winner is the Taj Ul Masjid which was constructed by the Shahjahan begum of the Bhopal and the construction continued during the reign of her daughter Sultan Jahan Begum in the 19th century. Paucity of funds and the hiatus due to the war of independence in 1857 the construction could not be completed … it was finally finished in 1985 after the Emir of Kuwait funded the project. (wikipedia)
I was recently on a short one day visit to Bhopal .. the city of Nawabs… oh well actually the city of lakes … (Lucknow is the city of Nawabs I guess) and the photograph above was clicked from an early morning flight from Mumbai … just before landing into the city. I remembered that I had visited this mosque way back in 2015. Decided to finish of another pending blog from my hard disk …
We went to see this monument a couple of years ago with my British and Italian designer clients and they were impressed by the scale and the balance … it was a perfect place to appetize them for Indian design before embarking on journey to enduring sites like Bhimbetaka and Sanchi.
On a pleasantly chilling Bhopal morning … the sky looked pristine blue and the reflection of the mosque was clearly visible in the pond. The large tank in the centre is meant for washing feet and purifying oneself before prayers. The structure follows distinctly Mughal aesthetics with floral patterns and three onion domes like we see at the Jama Masjid or at the Lahore mosque.
The real name of this mosque is Taj Ul Masajid and not Masjid … the name means the crown amongst the mosques. With the interior area of about 43000 square feet it with space for about 1,75,000 people to pray. The eastern gateway looks grand even today.
There are beautiful chhatris in four corners of the mosque and the minars are about 18 storey in height. There are no ornate carvings here but the balance and symmetry is enchanting.
There is a lot to explore in Bhopal … so I will soon add a blog dedicated to the city of lakes. Keep reading this space!