Jama Masjid or Jama Mosque or Jami Masjid or Badi Masjid, one of the biggest mosques in India, is a 15th-century mosque created by Hussain Shah Sharki in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is one of the supreme tourist attractions in Jaunpur. The mosque is 2.2 km north-northeast of Jaunpur, 7.3 km northwest of Zafarābād, 16.8 km north-northeast of Mariāhū, 26.3 km west-northwest of Kirākat. Special prayers are clasped every Friday.
Regular prayers for five times are proposed every day. With an elevation of more than 200 ft. The mosque near Purani Bazar on the Shahganj road is a valuable sculpture of the Sharki period. Its foundation has been laid at the time of Ibrahim Shah’s rule and its construction was completed in various phases. It was wrapped up during the reign of Hussain Shah. This mosque is entirely extensive, cultural and glamorous and there are 27 steps to the height. Its southern gateway is 20 ft. overhead ground level.
Its inner premises broaden to 219 x 217 feet and it has a gate at each of the 4 cardinal points. The eastern gateway was demolished by Sikander Lodhi. The outer boundary of the mosque is 320 ft. on the East-West and 307 ft. on the North-south side. The adornments, its engravings in the Egyptian style, the twists of its arches, the uniqueness of the Lotus, sunflower and rose motifs, its screens etc. are worth noticing.
According to the chroniclers and other specialists, the Jami Masjid, Jaunpur holds a great deal of resemblance with those mosques that were constructed during the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq of the Tughlaq Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate.
The treasures of Jama Masjid
The magnificent impression of Jama Masjid at Jaunpur is exacerbated by numerous factors. The entire configuration of Jami Masjid, Jaunpur struts on a plinth that is six meters high. The double-arched, pylon-shaped gate at the entrance illustrates a majestic sight to the onlookers. The long steps leading to the front gate are promising to view.
The central portal lies in the focal point of the facade and exists about 26 meters tall and measures nearly 24 meters at the base. This was again a distinctive feature of the mosques created by the Sharqis. The feature which can be solely traced in Jami Masjid, Jaunpur is an enormous rectangular hall meant for prayers.
This hall is flanked by tunnel vaults on its either sides and is also wrapped by a dome, measuring 11.4 meters in diameter. There are tiny windows in the dome that permit sunlight to enter into the nucleus of the Jami Masjid, Jaunpur, thus developing a splendid sight. Another trait of Jama Masjid at Jaunpur that any of the other Holy Places in Jaunpur will discover hard to conform, is the elegant insignias that are visible on the walls on the interior and the exterior parts of the mosque.
Just 100 km east of Allahabad, on the banks of the Gomti river, lies the forgotten city of Jaunpur, known in history as the saddle of the mighty Sharqi Sultans. Named after the contentious Delhi Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, whose real name was Jauna Khan, the city went on to evolve the capital of the Sharqi dynasty established by a eunuch.
Jaunpur delivers ample clues to its rich history in the many exquisite monuments that dot the town. Ignored by most people now, Jaunpur was also once a significant seat of Islamic studies, a centre of the Ganga-Jamuni culture and a place held in awe by some. Jaunpur’s chronology can be traced back to the Vedic Age.
Tales testify that Rishi Jamadagni lived in the forests of this region and gave rise to its Tapasthali. According to Hindu beliefs, Rishi Jamadagni was one of the Saptarishis or ‘seven great sages’ of Hindu civilization. Lord Parashuram (the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) was Rishi Jamadagni’s son.
His ashram prevails to this day in Jaunpur and has been renovated into a famous temple. Furthermore known as Badi Masjid, the Jama Masjid of Jaunpur is the massive Friday-congregation mosque in the city which was created during the reign of the last Sharqi Sultan, Hussain Shah, between 1458 and 1478 CE. The pishtaq and iwan of the mosque are carved in typical Sharqi style, where the pylon has an arch that soars upward without constraint. The mosque is carved on a raised plinth and the main façade has intricate work with elements leased from Hindu architecture as well.
Architecture of Jama Masjid
In 1478, Hussain Shah attained the banks of the Yamuna and disregarded the Delhi Sultanate, which was then sanctioned by Sultan Bahlol Lodhi. After three consecutive battles, Bahlol Lodhi finally overthrew the Sharqis and thus began the destruction of the Jaunpur Sultanate. In 1479, the Sharqi Empire lost Jaunpur and Hussain Shah escaped to Bengal.
The burials of most of the Sharqi sultans and their nobles are near to the Jama Masjid. The tombs must have been an architectural marvel before they were axed by Sikandar Lodhi, who destroyed the city of Jaunpur after the decline of the Sharqi Sultans. The Victory of Emperor Akbar over Ali Quli and Bahadur Khan at the Gomti River, Jaunpur, 1561 CE, sketched by court artist Kanha in 1590-95 CE, from Akbarnama reiterates many of the indispensable features of the Jama Masjid on a larger scale.
The entire structure is raised on a plinth 16′-20′ in height and approached by abrupt but imposing aviation steps.
The courtyard is an enclosure of 210′ side.Enclosed by cloisters on three sides and sanctuary on the west.
Cloisters are two storeys high. They are two aisles in width as obstructed to the more spacious 5 aisles in Jama Masjid. In the centre of each cloister is an entrance hall covered by a noggin.
In the central part of the sanctuary facade is a pylon 85′ high and 77′ wide at the root. The arcaded wings of the side aisles are glimpsed on both sides of the pylon with the roofs of the two halls which form the transepts above them. The interior comprises the nave of 38′ side. The clerestory arcade is accessible to light the interior of the dome. On both sides of the nave are pillared side alleys with an upper storey. This has its openings filled in with stone jalis to furnish a private area for the royal ladies. Over the side aisles on both sides are two great vaulted halls, each 50′ long, 40′ wide and 45′ high. The interior of these halls has3 mihrabs each on the western wall, opposite which are the archways which unfold into the courtyard.
To accomplish such a large columnless space, the builders first hurled across the 40′ space a framework of two transverse ribs at wide intervals in the middle and two wall ribs or ‘formerets’ at each end. On this lasting centre were laid the infilling or ‘severity’ of flat stones fitting on the tails of the ribs. To counteract the thrust of the mighty a large vault, the sidewalls from the haunches of the ribs to the foundation were fantasized to 10′ thick. Such a large columnless space is an extraordinary occurrence in Indian architecture.
Jama Masjid remains to be a functional mosque. Its structure remains stunning and dignified, the mosque houses religious memorials and an ancient transcript of the Quran. You can visit this tremendous mosque to see yourself in the epitome of history, lineage and sophistication.