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History Of Badshahi Mosque

Badshahi Mosque

 Badshahi Mosque Lahore:

Badshahi Mosque is located in the heart of Lahore city. It was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1673. It is the second largest mosque in the country and fifth largest in the world. It is one of the Lahore’s most famous landmarks and major tourist attraction along with Lahore fort which is adjacent to Badshahi Mosque. It accommodates over 5,000 worshipers in main prayer hall and 95,000 in the courtyard which covers the area of 278,784 sq ft (25,899.9 sq meters). It remained world’s largest mosque from 1673 till the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, was built in 1986, for a period of 313 years . The costruction work on badshahi mosque was stared in May, 1671 under the order of Emperor Aurnagzeb Alamgir , and completed in the month of April, 1673. It was constructed under the supervision of also known as “Fidai Khan Koka” who was appointed as governor of Lahore in 1671 specifically to oversee this project.
In July 1799 Sikhs took control over Lahore under the command of Maharaja Hari Singh, they inflicted severe damage to the mosque. They used mosque’s courtyard as stable for the horses of army and 80 hujras (rooms) built into the outer walls of the mosque, which were originally study rooms, as quarters for soldiers. Under the British occupation of sub-continent, misuse of mosque continued as practiced by the Sikhs. After sensing increasing resentment by Muslims against the use mosque as military garrison, they established Badshahi Mosque authority in 1852 to oversee the restoration and return of mosque to Muslims, but not much of the repair work done in that time. The extensive repair work was started in 1939 under the eye of architect Nawab Zen Jung Bahadur. The repair work continued after the formation of Islamic state of Pakistan. The restoration of Badshahi Masjid was completed in 1960 with the cost of 4.8 million rupees.
The architecture and design of Badshahi Masjid is inspired by Jama Mosque Delhi, India, which was built by Aurangzeb’s father Emperor Shah Jahan 1648. It is a beautiful amalgamation of Islamic, Persian, Central Asian, and Indian architecture. The mosque’s foundation and structure is built with bricks and compacted clay. The structure then covered with red sand stone tiles brought from stone quarry near Jaipur in Rajasthan. The main prayer hall is decorated with fresco work, stucco tracery, and inlay marble. The exterior is decorated with stone carving and inlay marble on red sand stone.

History Of Badshahi Masjjid:

The mosque was built under the patronage of the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb Alamgir. It was completed in 1673 under the supervision of Aurangzeb’s foster brother Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidaie Khan Koka) who was appointed governor of Lahore in May 1671 and held this post until 1675. He was also Master of Ordnance to the emperor.
The construction of the mosque took about two years, from May 1671 to April 1673. The mosque was built opposite the Lahore Fort, illustrating its stature in the Mughal Empire. In conjunction with the building of the mosque, a new gate was built at the fort, named Alamgiri Gate after the Emperor.
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. On the occasion of the second Islamic Summit held at Lahore on February 22, 1974, thirty-nine heads of Muslim states offered their Friday prayers in the Badshahi Masjid, led by Maulana Abdul Qadir Azad, the ‘Khatib’ of the mosque.
Recently a small museum has also been added to the mosque complex, which contains relics of Muhammad, his cousin, and his daughter, Hazrat Fatima Zahra.

What to See:

Like the character of its founder, the mosque is bold, vast and majestic in its expression. It was the largest mosque in the world for a long time. The interior has rich embellishment in stucco tracery (Manbatkari) and panelling with a fresco touch, all in bold relief, as well as marble inlay.
The exterior is decorated with stone carving as well as marble inlay on red sandstone, specially of loti form motifs in bold relief. The embellishment has Indo-Greek, Central Asian and Indian architectural influence both in technique and motifs.
The skyline is furnished by beautiful ornamental merlons inlaid with marble lining adding grace to the perimeter of the mosque. In its various architectural features like the vast square courtyard, the side aisles (dalans), the four corner minarets, the projecting central transept of the prayer chamber and the grand entrance gate, is summed up the history of development of mosque architecture of the Muslim world over the thousand years prior to its construction in 1673.
The north enclosure wall of the mosque was laid close to the Ravi River bank, so a majestic gateway could not be provided on that side and, to keep the symmetry the gate had to be omitted on the south wall as well. Thus a four aiwan plan like the earlier Delhi Jamia Masjid could not be adopted here. 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. The prayer chamber is very deep and is divided into seven compartments by rich engraved arches carried on very heavy piers.
Out of the seven compartments, three double domes finished in marble have superb curvature, whilst the rest have curvilinear domes with a central rib in their interior and flat roof above.
In the eastern front aisle, the ceiling of the compartment is flat (Qalamdani) with a curved border (ghalatan) at the cornice level. The original floor of the courtyard was laid with small kiln-burnt bricks laid in the Mussalah pattern.
The present red sandstone flooring was laid during the last thorough repairs (1939-60). Similarly, the original floor of the prayer chamber was in cut and dressed bricks with marble and Sang-i-Abri lining forming Mussalah and was also replaced by marble Mussalah during the last repairs. There are only two inscriptions in the mosque: one on the gateway and another of Kalimah in the prayer chamber under the main high vault.

Total History:

Construction of the Badshahi Mosque was ordered in May 1671 by the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, who assumed the title Alamgir (meaning “Conqueror of the World”). Construction took about two years and was completed in April 1673.
The Badshahi Mosque was built opposite the Lahore Fort, emphasizing its stature in the Mughal Empire. It was constructed on a raised platform to avoid inundation from the nearby Ravi River during flooding. The mosque’s foundation and structure was constructed using bricks and compacted clay. The structure was then clad with red sandstone tiles brought from a stone quarry near Jaipur in Rajasthan and its domes were clad with white marble.
The construction work was carried out under the supervision of Aurangzeb’s foster brother, Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidai Khan Koka), who was appointed Governor of Lahore by Aurangzeb in May 1671 to specifically oversee the construction of the mosque and held that post until 1675. He was also Master of Ordnance to Aurangzeb. In conjunction with the building of the Badshahi Mosque, a new gate was built at the Lahore Fort opening into the Hazuri Bagh and facing the main entrance of the Badshahi Mosque, which was named Alamgiri Gate after Aurangzeb.
Inscribed in a marble tablet on the entrance of the Badshahi Mosque are the following words in Persian:
“The Mosque of Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, Victorious King, constructed and completed under the superintendence of the Humblest Servant of the Royal Household, Fidai Khan Koka, in 1084 A.H.”

Mosque under Mughal Rule (1673-1752):

When it was completed in 1673, the Badshahi Mosque was not only the largest mosque in the Mughal Empire, but also the largest mosque in the world – a record it would hold for 313 years until 1986. It was also one of the largest buildings in the Mughal Empire and the world. On a clear day, it could be seen from a distance of 15 km. The Badshahi Mosque elevated Lahore to greater political, economic and cultural importance in the Mughal Empire.

Mosque under Sikh Rule (1799-1849):

On 7 July 1799, the Sikh militia of the Sukerchakia chief, Ranjit Singh, took control of Lahore. After the capture of the city, the Badshahi Mosque was severely damaged when Ranjit Singh used its vast courtyard as a stable for his army’s horses and its 80 hujras (small study rooms surrounding the courtyard) as quarters for his soldiers and as magazines for military stores. Ranjit Singh used the Hazuri Bagh, the enclosed garden next to the Mosque as his official royal court of audience.
In 1841, during the Sikh civil war, Ranjit Singh’s son, Sher Singh, used the Mosque’s large minarets for placement of zamburahs or light guns, which were placed atop the minarets to bombard the supporters of the Sikh Maharani Chand Kaur taking refuge in the besieged Lahore Fort, inflicting great damage to the Fort itself. In one of these bombardments, the Fort’s Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) was destroyed (it was subsequently rebuilt by the British but never regained its original architectural splendour.During this time, Henri De la Rouche, a French cavalry officer employed in the army of Sher Singh used a tunnel connecting the Badshahi Mosque to the Lahore Fort to temporarily store gunpowder

Mosque under British Rule (1858-1947):

When the British took control of India, they continued the Sikh practice of using the Mosque and the adjoining Fort as a military garrison. The 80 cells (hujras) built into the walls surrounding the Mosque’s vast courtyard on three sides were originally study rooms, which were used by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh to house troops and military stores. The British demolished them so as to prevent them from being used for anti-British activities and rebuilt them to form open arcades or dalans, which continue to this day.

Mosque’s Return to Muslims and Restoration:

Sensing increasing Muslim resentment against the use of the Mosque as a military garrison, which was continuing since Sikh Rule, the British set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority in 1852 to oversee the restoration and return of the Mosque to Muslims as a place of religious worship. From 1852 onwards, piecemeal repairs were carried out under the supervision of the Badshahi Mosque Authority. Extensive repairs commenced from 1939 onwards. The blueprint for the repairs was prepared by the architect Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur.

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