The largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid is a stunning example of an Islamic worship site and can accommodate a whopping 25,000 people within its red sandstone and white marble striped exterior. The Mughal-style monument is highly decorative and characterised by tapered, onion-like domes, three gates, four towers and two minarets.
Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 and thousands still gather here to pray, particularly on Fridays earning it the moniker of ‘Friday Mosque'. The entire structure has a peaceful and serene air about it as a marked contrast to the busy Delhi streets outside.
Climb the 41m-high south minaret for Rs50 to view the domes of the mosque up close. Inside the mosque, you can catch a glimpse of the pulpit carved from a single slab of marble in the prayer hall, and in another room are the marble footprints of the Prophet Mohammed. Over the arched entrances of the prayer hall there are large white marble tablets inscribed with details of the history of the building and extolling Shah Jahan's virtues in black marble. The interior and exterior entrances and arches have inlay detailing and cusped shapes while the iron doors of the main entrance also have fine patterns inlaid. There's also a pool in the middle of the courtyard for people to wash their face, hands and feet before entering the mosque and the monument is also home to a number of pigeons.
As this is a holy site, tourists will need to hire robes from the northern gate to cover knees and shoulders, and non-Muslims are not allowed into the mosque during prayer hours. There are certain areas that women are not able to access without being in the company of a male as well. Entry to Jama Masjid is free, however the use of cameras or video cameras attracts a fee of Rs200. To visit, take the Metro Yellow Line and alight at Chawri Bazaar Station. From the station, it's a 10-minute walk down Chawri Bazaar, then into Urdu Bazar Road and the main entry point for Jama Masjid.