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HOLY PLACES (MOSQUES

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BADSHAHI MOSQUE

The Badshahi Mosque or the
'Emperor's Mosque, was built in 1673
by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in
Lahore, Pakistan. It is one of the city's
best known landmarks, and a major
tourist attraction epitomizing the
beauty and grandeur of the Mughal
era.

Capable of accommodating over
55,000 worshipers, it is the second
largest mosque in Pakistan, after the
Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The
architecture and design of the Badshahi Masjid is closely related to the Jama Masjid
in Delhi, India, which was built in 1648 by Aurangzeb's father and predecessor,
emperor Shah Jahan.

Even when the British took control of India, they would use the mosque for their
military practices by using the mosque for gun practices, cannons, etc. Even when
they sensed Muslim hate for the British, they demolished a large portion of the wall
of the mosque so the Muslims could not use it as a kind of "fort" for anti-British
reasons. After a while, they finally returned it to the Muslims as a good will gesture
even though it was in terrible condition. It was then given to Badshahi Mosque
Authority to restore it to its original glory.

From 1852 onwards, piecemeal repairs were carried out under the supervision of the
Badshahi Mosque Authority. Extensive repairs were carried out from 1939 to 1960 at
a cost of about 4.8 million rupees, which brought the mosque to its original shape
and condition. The blueprint for the repairs was prepared by the late architect
Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur. In 2000, the repair work of marble inlay in the main
vault was repaired under the supervision of Saleem Anjum Qureshi.

Recently a small museum has also been added to the mosque complex. It contains
relics of Muhammad (peace be upon him), his cousin Hazrat Ali (may Allah be
pleased with him), and his daughter, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (may Allah be pleased
with her). On August 14, 1947, the Pakistani people celebrated their independence
from the British command. Pakistan(Urdu: "land of the pure"), a country of 160
million people, is now the second most populous country in the Muslim world.

The walls were built with small kiln-burnt bricks laid in kankar, lime mortar (a kind of
hydraulic lime) but have a veneer of red sandstone. The steps leading to the prayer
chamber and its plinth are in variegated marble.
HOLY PLACES (MOSQUES)

Wazir Khan Mosque

The Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore,
Pakistan, is famous for its
extensive faience tile work. It has
been described as ' a mole on the
cheek of Lahore'. It was built in
seven years, starting around 1634-
1635 A.D., during the reign of the
Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was
built by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a
native of Chiniot, who rose to be
the court physician to Shah Jahan
and later, the Governor of Lahore.
He was commonly known as Wazir
Khan. The mosque is located inside
the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate.

The material used in the construction of the Mosque is a small tile-like brick
universally used by the Mughals when stone was unusable or too costly. The only
stone used in the building is used for brackets and some of the fretwork (pinjra).
The walls were coated with plaster (chunam) and faced with a finely-soft quality of
the same material tooled to a marble-like surface and coloured. All the external
plasterwork was richly coloured a rich Indian red, in true fresco, and the surface
afterwards picked out with white lines in the similitude of the small bricks beneath.
The extreme severity of the lines of the building is relieved by the division of the
surfaces into slightly sunk rectangular panels, alternatively vertical and horizontal,
the vertical panels having usually an inner panel with arched head or the more florid
cusped mihrab. These panels, where they are exposed to weather, are generally
filled with a peculiar inlaid faience pottery called kashi, the effect of which must
have been very fine when the setting of deep red plaster of the walls was intact.'

'With the minars, however, the facade of the sanctuary, and the entrance gateway,
where a small portion of the surface was left for plaster, the effect of the gorgeous
colours against the soft blue of a Punjabi sky, and saturated with brilliant sunlight
and glowing purple shadow is indescribably rich and jewel-like.'

In the pavilion on the south side is a fountain set in a circular scalloped basin, and
served from the main which supplies the tank in the quadrangle. Within the inner
courtyard of the mosque lies the subterranean tomb of Syed Muhammad Ishaq,
HOLY PLACES (MOSQUES)

known as Miran Badshah, a divine from Iran who settled in Lahore during the time of
the Tughluq dynasty. The tomb, therefore, predates the mosque.