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Begampuri Masjid - A Majestic Mosque

FACTS & FIGURES

Built in : 14th century AD
Built by : Ferozshah Tughlaq
Location : Delhi

A MAJESTIC MOSQUE

The little-known Begampuri Masjid is an austere but majestic monument that reflects the architectural prowess of the Tughlaq rulers who ruled the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century AD. It is located at Begampur village in South Delhi on the Delhi–Mehrauli Road.

INDO-ISLAMIC STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE

The Begampuri Masjid is a fine example of the Indo-Islamic school of architecture that took shape after the coming of the coming of the Muslim rulers into India. Indo-Islamic style is neither a local variant of Islamic art, nor a modification of Hindu art, but it is an assimilation of both the styles, though not always in an equal degree. It is so because each region in India has its own form of Indo-Islamic architecture, which varies from place to place and there is no standardization. On the other hand, Islamic art itself was a composite style, which had various Muslims influences—Turkish, Persian, and Arabic.

Rulers from different parts of the Muslim world who came to India and settle here, beginning with the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, brought with them the artistic traditions of their regions. The intermingling of such traditions with local Indian practices resulted in different examples of Indo-Islamic art. In Delhi, Islamic influences dominated, while in the Deccan, local styles were more prominent in the buildings. In Bengal, the indigenous practice of using bricks for building was adopted and the monuments were richly decorated with chiseled and molded decorations typical of Hindu temples.

The Begampuri Masjid like most Islamic monuments in Delhi has all the inherent elements of the Islamic style of architecture, like domes, tapering minarets, large courtyard, a central prayer hall, etc. Though the mosque is in ruins, it retains the uncomplicated and simple style of the Tughlaqs.

BEGAMPURI MASJID

The origin of the Begampuri Masjid is uncertain. Formal, simple, solemn, and austere without the rich ornamentation and luxuriance of the earlier Khilji structures, this mosque is at once recognizable as a Tughlaq structure with rows of domes, a large courtyard, and tapering minarets. This simple monument was probably built during the reign of Ferozshah Tughlaq (1351–88), the third king in the Tughlaq line. The Begampuri Masjid is a splendid work of architecture, though it is crumbling down at places. Once upon a time, prayer chants rising from the vast congregation of devotees who assembled in the courtyard of the mosque must have reverberated far and wide. It is believed that this was the big jami (congregational) masjid (externally measuring 307 feet by 295 feet) of Jahanpanah, the city that was founded by Muhammad-bin Tughlaq (1325–1351).

In the Islamic form of worship, emphasis is laid on congregational prayer that requires a spacious courtyard and a large prayer hall at its western end. The vast courtyard of this mosque measuring 94 m by 88 m is enclosed by long arched corridors with a row of windows on either side. A series of domes rise above the roof of the corridors and central aisle. The central compartment of the prayer hall is surmounted by a large dome. The façade of the prayer hall is broken by twenty-four arched openings with the highest arch placed in the center. The sides of the prayer hall have tapering minarets in Tughlaq style. The rubble-built mosque rises from a high plinth. While three gates to the north, south and east—with the last gate functioning as the main entrance—pierce the enclosing walls. A double flight of stairs leads up to the courtyards.

Unprompted and lesser known, this historic monument was one of the major works of construction that was undertaken during the time of Ferozshah who had an uncommon passion for architecture and gardening activities. Ferozshah himself said, “Among the many gifts which God bestowed upon me, His humble servant, was a desire to erect public buildings. So I built many mosques and colleges and monasteries so that the learned and the elders, the devout and the holy might worship God in these edifices and aid the kind builder with their prayers.” The Sultan’s interest in gardening led him to lay out 1,200 new gardens near Delhi and restore thirty old gardens of Ala-ud-din Khilji.

The Begampuri mosque was built under the supervision of Ferozshah’s prime minister, Muqbal Khan, or his son, Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah, and is one of the seven mosques in the city that was built during the reign of the builder king Ferozshah. A man with deep interest in history and hunting, Ferozshah founded Kotla Ferozshah, the fifth city of Delhi.

HOW TO REACH

Travelers can reach the Begampuri Masjid in many ways. They can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is situated in Begampur village off Aurobindo Ashram on the Delhi–Mehrauli Road in the southern part of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis for the purpose. One can take buses from the bus termini located at Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan to reach this monument.

 

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Alchi Charminar Chittaurgarh Fort Jantar Mantar Adlaj Vav
Red Fort Khirki Masjid Churches of Goa Ferozshah Kotla Karla Caves
Agra-fort Bandore Fort City Palace Jaipur Begampuri Masjid Kalinjar Fort
Hawa Mahal Cellular-Jail Meenakshi Temple City Palace Udaipur Fatehpur Sikri
Bijai-Mandal Fort George The Dilwara Temples Bhojeshwar-Temple Mysore Palace
Ellora caves Flora Fountain Chennakeshava Temple Rashtrapati Bhavan Karkala Temple
Akbar-Tomb Qutab Minar Brihadeeswarar-Temple Konark Sun Temple Bada-imambada
Golconda-Fort Amber Palace Palitana Jain Temples Indian Museum Kolkata Victoria Memorial
Ajanta Caves Humayuns Tomb Monolith of Gommateshwara

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