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It’s a reality about travel that sometimes the best and most wholesome experiences are to be had ‘off the beaten track.’ This is especially true of places famous for their monuments, where if you take time away from the ‘main attraction’, there’s much more to see. With a sizeable Muslim population and a rich history as the centre of Mughal power, the walled city of Old Delhi is a fantastic maze of narrow, winding lanes, pastel homes and the grim, majestic monuments of a very powerful and magnificent empire.
But take your eyes away, for once, from the great gates of the walled city, from the towering Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, and look around at the other landmarks in this crowded, teeming hive of human enterprise. You’ll then see much that’s both beautiful and majestic. The Fatehpuri Masjid stands at one end of Chandni Chowk, the former imperial boulevard, with the Red Fort being at the other end. Built in the mid-17th century by Fatehpuri Begum, a wife of Shah Jahan who seems to have shared his love for buildings, the mosque is smaller and less imposing than the Jama Masjid but has a quiet, elegant charm of its own.
The Architecture Itself
Picture Credits: melyturner
Built in red sandstone and marble, this mosque has breathtakingly beautiful inscriptions from the Qur’an running along its walls, and a little hauz in the middle where many a quiet hour can be spent looking at the fish easing their way through the water. The mosque also houses a small ‘madrasa’, a seminary where clerics impart religious instruction to their young wards. Do not wrinkle your nose at the out-of-order clock above the gate. Presumably, they lack the money to get it in working order *sighs*.
Peaceful And Serene
Picture Credits: salamdennis
The Fatehpur Masjid is a bubble of peace and quiet amid the mad rush of the old city, where traders, laborers, tourists and residents jostle for space and the right of way. Purani Dilli can get on your nerves after a point, and at such times the best thing you can do is walk into the mosque, wash away your weariness at the hauz, and sit in peace under the arches, for as long as you please. From inside the mosque, you can see the hustle and bustle outside, and the insulation from it breeds a very welcoming feeling.
Mornings are usually the best time to see the mosque, when crowds run thin and one is able to use a place of worship for its best purpose: to sit in peace and reflect. However, it’s also advisable to visit this mosque on Fridays and on Eid when the sight of thousands of people standing side by side, social distinctions cast aside, are united in prayer, a spectacle not to be missed.
Do come by on a fine evening for a dollop of peace and solitude in middle of bustling Old Delhi!
Location | Fatehpuri Mosque - Shahi Imam Masjid Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk