India's Largest Mosque
With over 200 million Muslims in India, the country has no shortage of mosques. Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the same emperor who built the iconic Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1656, the courtyard of Jama Masjid can accommodate 25,000 devotees. Visitors must comply with a dress code; traditional robes can be rented at the northern gate. The mosque is located in Old Delhi near other notable sites, including the Red Fort and Chandni Chowk market, so schedule extra time to explore the area. Note: No visitors are allowed during prayer hours.
By Allison Sodha, AFAR Local Expert
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Quiet Morning at the Mosque
There's little I love more than exploring new places at sunrise. Nobody's quite awake yet and time seems to be moving a little slower. A perfect place to start your early morning visit to Old Delhi is of course the picturesque Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Completed in the year 1656 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India. It lies at the beginning of the Chawri Bazar Road, a very busy central street of Old Delhi.
By Nina Dietzel, AFAR Ambassador
Old Delhi Downpour
About to ascend the steps of the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, I am forced to shelter when a sudden storm breaks over Old Delhi. An elderly Indian and I look out at the mosque from the safety of a nearby shop.
India: God's Own Country
At the Jama Masjid, many people come to quietly pray. But many foreign and Indian tourists come to see the architecture and learn about Islam. This man was praying and reading the Qur'an right in the middle of the hall, but as more tourists came in he retreated into a sunlight corner.
There seems to be an overwhelming problem of resident birds in Delhi. This man was swinging around a stick with cloth attached to scare off the birds which were being fed by some tourists. Once they took off, it created one of the best moments as they swooped in front of the Jama Masjid.
The Eye of the Storm
Right smack dab in the center of the chaos that is New Delhi, exists the quiet center of the universe: Jama Masjid. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, and completed in 1656, this is the largest and most popular mosque in all of India. It can hold up to 25,000 worshippers, yet be the quietest place on Earth at the same time. Within its walls is also held an antique copy of the Qur'an. The photo above is taken from atop one the of two 130-foot tall minarets. I made the trek up, only to find myself in the company of five teenagers just hanging out and enjoying the view. And what a view it is! You get a scope of the vast expanse of Delhi from this particular vantage point. I enjoyed my perch for a while, descended the steps, took in one last moment of solitude within the mosque, and waded back into the calamity outside its sacred walls.
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
Visit Old Delhi
Delhi offers both new and old sections for travelers to explore. Jama Masjid in the OLD Delhi section is one of the largest mosques in the world. Take a rickshaw ride around the narrow streets to see the vendors of food, produce, and a huge variety of goods. Outside the mosque you will find snake charmers waiting for photographers' tips. Then, when finished, go on to the tomb of Humayun. It is located in beautiful gardens and is a great contrast to the noisy crowded streets of Old Delhi. While there, don't miss the little gem—the tomb of Isa Khan. I LOVE India!
New Friends at the Friday Mosque
We were exploring Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Traveling is great and I never want to miss anything. But, because my knees were presenting a challenge, I needed to temporarily use a cane. Disappointed that I couldn’t climb to the top of a minaret with my son to get a bird’s eye view of New Delhi and miles of surrounding territory, I settled in by the center pool where men were performing cleansing ablutions in preparation for kneeling on their prayer rugs. It didn’t take long. Curious kids clustered ‘round. I was having fun making new friends and they were having fun, too, intrigued by the cane and its features.... a quick twist and it was long, another and it telescoped. Oh, my! It even folded into a fraction of itself. Each one just had to give a try. It fascinated them and they fascinated me. Often it is these spontaneous, unexpected encounters that make a day of travel so memorable. While we were having fun, my son had succeeded in scaling the steps to the very top. This photo of new friends is a treasure to spark a memory. Who will YOU meet at Jama Masjid?
By Vikki Morain
Jama Masjid is the biggest Mosque in Delhi, sitting in the middle of wonderfully chaotic Chandni Chowk (or Old Delhi). You can pay to climb up one of the Mosque's Minarets, from which you can see the densely packed buildings and streets for miles. Once you are done exploring the Mosque, exit out of the South entrance of the Mosque and find Karim's. (Walk just a few hundred feet on on Matiya Mahal.and enter on the left hand side of the street). I recommend the seekh kabobs! For dessert, wander the street and dig into some jalebis!
Meena Bazaar, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Sun - Sat 7am - 12pm, 1:30pm - 6:30pm