Islam is a widely followed religion in India so much so that it has become the largest minority religion in the country. There are various beautiful mosques in India which date back to the time of the Mughal Empire and also to the time when Islam reached India through the shores. These mosques are not only a perfect place to connect with the supreme power but also to find some peace of mind as there is a strange numbness of thoughts that surround you once you enter these places just like when you enter a soundproof room and all the noise just vanishes. So let us take you to the top 10 most famous and sacred mosques in India.
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Cheraman Perumal mosque in Kerala is considered to be the oldest mosque to be built in India. Malik Bin Dinar, a famous Arab merchant and one of the very first propagators of Islam in India, built this mosque in 629 CE to pay homage to the region’s king Cheraman Perumal who embraced Islam by getting influenced by the religious principles followed by this merchant, Malik Bin Dinar and his followers. He got so inspired that he left his kingdom and started his pilgrimage to Mecca where he stayed for years. When Cheraman Perumal decided to return to his land, he fell ill on the way and died. However, his journey was completed by Malik Bin Dinar and his followers who also brought a letter written by Cheraman Perumal which requested the local rulers to allow the propagator to build this region’s and also India’s first mosque. The mosque has been renovated time and again with its first renovation in 11 Century CE. But the inner wall of the mosque and the famous lamp that has been burning since the mosque was established which means more than a thousand years have been preserved as they were in ancient times.
Jama Masjid or the Mosque of Friday in Old Delhi is one of the most magnificent mosques across India and is built across the road from Red Fort. This mosque was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as his principal mosque and depicts the religious fervor of Mughals. Its spacious courtyard can hold a total of 25,000 devotees at once and its magnificent facade can be seen from all the nearby areas. This mosque is also known as Masjid-ul-Jahanuma or the mosque commanding the view of the world. You can see thousands of people offering Namaz on Eid from Jama Masjid on various TV channels. This mosque is built on the Bho Jhala which is one of the two hills of the old city of Shahjahanabad in Old Delhi. This mosque is a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture and was built by Shah Jahan in 10 Crore at that time. This mosque is also often said to be the bigger version or the replica of Moti Masjid in Agra.
Hasrat Bal shrine
Hazrat Bal shrine in Kashmir situated on the banks of the Dal Lake is considered the holiest shrine in India and was built by Inayat Begum. Inayat Begum was the custodian of an Islamic relic called Moi-e-Muqqaddas which is the hair of Prophet Mohammad. The relic was brought by Inayat Begum to Kashmir in 1700 when Emperor Shah Jahan and Subedar Sadiq Khan constructed the shrine at the place equivalent to heaven on earth, Kashmir. This building was named Ishrat Jahan or the Pleasure of the world. However, the emperor ordered the palatial structure to be converted into a prayer hall in 1634 and since then this shrine is frequented by devotees from all over the world. This building has a Persian influence in its architecture and faces the beautiful scenic view of Dal Lake and the mountains. In this mosque, only men are allowed in the inner prayer hall while the women are allowed to the outer hall only. This picturesque mosque is also been featured in various movies like Haider, Fanaa, and Mission Kashmir because of its beauty.
Makkah Masjid or Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad is one of the most exquisite and magnificent mosques in India after Jama Masjid. This mosque has been built with substances from the holy land of Mecca and hence the name Mecca Masjid. The mosque was constructed by Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shahi, the fifth Qutb Shahi Sultan of Golconda (now Hyderabad) in 1614. The arched gallery in the mosque contains the tombs of all the Nizams from the 1800s. This mosque was built over 77 years completed by Aurangzeb with 8000 masons and can accommodate around 10,000 people at a time. The granite used in the mosque was obtained after 5 years of quarrying. The mosque is adorned with verses of the Holy Quran on the doors and arches and flower motifs all over the Masjid. The Mosque is also decorated with Belgium crystal Chandeliers. Makkah Masjid is extremely close to Char Minar and you can also include Char Minar in your itinerary.
Malik Dinar Mosque
The historic Malik Bin Deenar mosque is one of the mosques believed to have been founded by the first Arab propagator of Islam to India, Malik Bin Dinar, and his companions. According to the tales, Malik Bin Dinar along with his brother Sharaf Ibn Dinar and Malik Bin Dinar’s son Malik Ibn Habeeb Ibn Malik landed in India with the mission of not only trade but to propagate Islam in India. Their unique trade practices and propagation of this new religion soon attracted the attention of King Cherman Perumal who later on embraced Islam after being inspired by them. Soon this mosque was erected and the son of Malik Ibn Dinar, Malik Ibn Habeeb Ibn Muhammad was nominated as the Qazi of the mosque. This mosque was reconstructed in 1809 A.D. and it now also contains the grave of Malik Ibn Muhammad inside the premises. The main festival celebrated at this mosque is the arrival of Malik Ibn Dinar and his followers in India and the place is also considered sacred by Muslims.
Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque was named such by Shah Jahan because the mosque shines like a pearl on a moonlit night. The Moti Masjid is situated some 4.5 km away from the Agra cantonment railway station and 2.5 km from Taj Mahal in the north of the Diwan-e-Aam complex of the Agra Fort. The style of Moti Masjid is typical of the times in which Shah Jahan used to reign over the Mughal Sultanate and took nearly 4 years to reach completion. This mosque too is among the grandest mosques built by Mughals in India. You can also see a marble tank and a sundial mounted on an octagonal marble pillar inside the mosque. The main prayer hall has chambers with lattice screens made with marble which used to be the place where the women of the court used to worship. The magnificent mosque has three main gates out of which the eastern gate is the grandest of all and intricately designed. The other two gateways the northern and the southern are crowned by square chhatris. The mesmerizing architecture is one of the main attractions of Agra apart from being a famous place of worship.
Contrary to the popular belief that Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India, Taj-ul-Masjid happens to be the original mosque which is not just the largest mosque in India but is also the second-largest mosque in entire Asia. While the construction of this mosque started in the 1800s by Sultan Shah Jehan Begum of Bhopal, the construction was stalled due to lack of funds and was then again started in 1971 with the efforts of Maulana Sayed Hashmat Ali Sahab of Bhopal and Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari. The mosque has 3 domes and 2 minarets in total and is built alongside the Motia Talab. The meaning of the name of this mosque is the Crown of all Mosques and the exquisite architecture depicts very much the same. The Taj-ul-Masjid bears a remarkable resemblance to the Jama Masjid of Delhi in architecture and this mosque is also made of red stone. The Masjid is open on all days but the non-Muslims who visit the mosque are not allowed inside the premises on Fridays.
Nizamuddin Markaz Mosque
Nizamuddin Markaz mosque situated in Nizamuddin west of south Delhi is one of the most famous and sought-after mosques for Muslims not just in India but also from across the world. This is the birthplace and the global headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat Movement which is a reformist and missionary movement initiated by Muhammad Ilyas Khandlawi. Nizam-ud-ddinmosque is also known as the Banglewali Masjid has the marble shrine of the famous Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya along with the tomb of Jahanara, the daughter of Shah Jahan. People come to the Dargah and Mosque every Thursday to witness the heavenly atmosphere of the mosque where devotees can be seen involved in the Qawwali session. This is a remarkable and very important place of pilgrimages for Muslims in India.
Haji Ali Dargah and Mosque
Haji Ali Dargah and Mosque is one of the most famous Dargahs in India and people from all around the world come to seek blessings from the Sufi saint buried here. The Haji Ali dargah and Mosque is built in the memory of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Bukhari who hailed from Bukhara a place in Uzbekistan. There are famous tales of how great the saint was. One of the tales says that once Bukhari saw a poor woman crying on the road holding a vessel in her hand. When he approached her and asked why she was in despair, the woman said that she had spilled oil and that her husband would thrash her if she went home with an empty pot. Haji Ali asked her to take him to the spot where she spilled the oil. There he jabbed his finger in the soil and the oil came out. The rejoiced woman collected the oil in her vessel and went away. But Haji Ali had recurring and disturbing dreams that he had hurt the earth with his actions and started keeping unwell. After that, he traveled all over the world in the mid 15th century and then came to Mumbai with his brother. He kept spreading knowledge and Islam until his last breath and his devotees would come from far away to visit him. Before his death, he advised his followers not to bury him properly but drop his Kafan in the Arabian Sea such that the shroud is buried by the people who find it. The followers did so and the reason why the Dargah and mosque are surrounded by the sea at all sides is that the shroud rested on a rock in the middle of the sea there. This 600-year-old Dargah is crowded on Fridays and most revered even by Bollywood stars that come to seek blessings for their upcoming ventures.
Ajmer Sharif dargah and mosque
Ajmer Sharif Dargah and mosque probably has to be the most visited Muslim shrine in India. This Dargah is built in the memory of Persian Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti who is considered to be the direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad. It is also said that saint Chishti came to India when Muhammad advised him to do so in his dreams. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti came to India in 1192 AD and remained here till his death in 1236 AD. There are several mosques inside the Dargah complex which were built by Akbar and Shah Jahan who made it a ritual to visit this place at least once a year. His shrine however was built by Humayun and to reach the main Dargah, one needs to go through a series of doors made of silver. The tomb of the Sufi saint is carved out of marble with a gold plating on the top. This is one of the most serene places you can visit in your life.
These mosques are not just a symbol of the religious fervor of Muslims in ancient times and the Mughal emperor especially but all a remarkable representation of the outstanding form of architecture that they used in their mosques. The beauty of the mosques lies in the intricate designs, carvings, verses of the Quran inscribed on the doors, walls, and pillars and all the beauty contributes to making the place peaceful and perfect to offer your prayers to the almighty God.
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