Taj-ul-Masajid (the crown of mosques, also spelt as Taj-ul-Masaajid and
Taj-ul-Masjid) is a mosque situated in the City of Lakes, Bhopal, Madhya
Pradesh, the very heart of India.
The mosque is also used as a madrasah (Islamic
school) during the day time.'Taj-ul-Masajid' literally means 'The Crown of Mosques'.
The construction of the
mosque was started by Sultan Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal (1868-1901).
the mosque was not completed due to lack of funds, and after a long lay-off,
construction was resumed in 1971 by great efforts of Allama Mohammad Imran Khan
Nadwi Azhari of Bhopal.
The mosque has a pink facade topped by two 18-storey high octagonal minarets
with marble domes. The mosque also has three huge bulbous domes, an impressive
main hallway with attractive pillars and marble flooring resembling Mughal
architecture the likes of Jama Masjid in Delhi and the huge Badshahi Mosque of
It has a courtyard with a large tank in the centre. It has a double-storeyed
gateway with four recessed archways and nine cusped multifold openings in the
main prayer hall. The Quibla wall in the prayer hall is carved with eleven
recessed arches and has fine screens of trellis work.
The massive pillars in the
hall hold 27 ceilings through squinted arches of which 16 ceilings are decorated
with ornate petaled designs.
The Taj-Ul-Masajid is the biggest covered area mosque of Asia. The other big
mosques of Asia are Sahi Masjid of Lahore, Jama Masjid Delhi, Mecca Masjid
Hyderabad and Masjid Tipu Sultan Deccan, which are all bigger then
Taj-Ul-Masajid of Bhopal only if open area is included. The Taj-Ul-Masajid of
Bhopal covers an area of 23,312 sq. ft. the height of the minarets touching 206
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.
as their polished surfaces would have reflected the forms of the worshippers,
their use in the mosque was forbidden.
The mosque could not be completed during
her lifetime due to the costs involved. Work on completion of this great mosque
started in 1971, through the efforts of donors like Maulana Mohammad Imran Khan.
The 4-feet thick roof of the mosque, and other incomplete constructions were
completed by donations amounting to about 75 lakh rupees. 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 Juma Masjid, smaller
square entrances from the south and north open into the central courtyard for
the general public.
The large prayer chamber composed mainly of 12 carved
sandstone pillars is 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
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.
Aalmi Tablighi Ijtima, (an annual three-day congregation) that draws people from
all over the world was held at Taj-ul-Masajid. But due to the shortage of space,
it has been to shifted to Ghazi pura, a place outside the city.