Place

Taj-Ul-Masajid – crowd sourcing at Bhopal

Construction of Taj-Ul-Masajid Bhopal was initiated by Shahjehan Begum who became the ruler of Bhopal in 1868 She initiated the building of this great mosque, designed along the patterns of the Jama masjid Delhi erected by the great mughal emperor Shahjahan.

Taj-Ul-Masajid Bhopal is the biggest covered area mosque of Asia. The other big mosques of Asia like Sahi Masjid of Lahore, Jama Masjid Delhi, Mecca Masjid Hyderabad and Masjid Tipu sultan Deccan, are bigger then Taj-Ul-Masajid Bhopal only if open area is included.

Taj-Ul-Masajid Bhopal covers an area of 23,312 sq. ft., with the height of the minarets touching 206 ft. It was a project of breathtaking proportions with the expenditure touching sixteen lakh rupees during life time of the begum. Crystal slabs, designed for the floor were prepared in England at a cost of seven lakh rupees. Ironically, as their polished surfaces would have reflected the forms of the worshippers, their use in the mosque was forbidden.

This mosque could not be completed during Shahjehan Begums lifetime due to the costs involved. Efforts for completion of this mosque restarted  after independence of India by Bhopal people like Maulana Mohammad Imran Khan. Work on ground restarted in 1971, through the donations of general people of Bhopal. The incomplete constructions were completed by donations amounting to about 75 lakh rupees.

Taj-ul-masajid as left by Shahjahan begum
Taj-ul-masajid as left by Shahjahan begum
Taj-ul-masajid till 1971
Taj-ul-masajid till 1971
Taj-ul-masajid as left by Shahjahan begum

Elevated well above ground level, the mosque is visible from a considerable distance, as also from the palaces that surround the three lakes around which the development of Shahjehanabad was planned. Monumental flight of stairs ascends to the high pistaq octagonal eastern entrance from Kaiser embankment, inspired by the Buland Darwaza. The external eastern facade ends in pavilions at the two ends that are set high on octagonal towers. Like the Delhi Jama masjid, smaller square entrances from the south and north open into the central courtyard for the general public.

Tajmahal Bhopal from Taj-ul-masajid

The large prayer chamber is composed mainly of 12 carved sandstone pillars, surmounted by three domes covered with broken tiles and constructed much later.

Seven entrance arches pierce the eastern chamber’s eastern facade, the central one within a high pistaq of red sandstone with marble inlay around the arch. The three arches are framed on either side by smaller arched opening with an entrenched jharokha above. A band of white marble arches with sandstone jail railing crowns the three arches and is finished by sandstone crenellations. Two octagonal minars on either side of the eastern facade go several floors high to provide a vantage point from where the upper lake (several meters away) can be viewed.

The domes of the prayer hall are crowned with crystal finials that glitter in the morning sun

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