My posts are not in chronological order – we actually visited the largest and best-known mosque in India on our final day. But given that I blogged about Delhi yesterday (our visit to Humayun’s tomb) and the day before (Chandni Chowk), I wanted to continue. So here we go. On our final day, a Sunday, we made our way to the old quarter again to visit the Jama Masjid mosque that was completed in 1656.
It lies at the beginning of the Chawri Bazar Road, a very busy central street of Old Delhi. As a result, we were stuck in traffic and arrived after 8.30am. That was a shame, as we later realised. We should have gone earlier in the morning as the light would have been better.
We entered from the eastern gate – which was the rural entrance and has 774 steps. In the past these steps used to house food stalls, shops and street entertainers, but they were empty when we entered.
Anyway, we took off our shoes and the girls covered themselves in scarves (you should not even show your backside in a jeans) before we entered the massive courtyard. I had seen pictures with thousands of people in the courtyard, so it was surprising to see it that empty. Especially as we had joked the evening before that we’ll meet in front of the Mosque and we looked at the most crowded pictures we could find on the Internet (like here and here).
There were only a few worshippers and a couple of other tourists when we arrived – but by the time we left, around 10.30am, it was much more crowded – and the tourist buses were parking in front of the gates, so that was the time when we escaped to the backstreets of Chandni Chowk to take some final pictures and sip some Chai Masala.
Initially, we all stood outside – mesmerized by the sheer size of the courtyard and the huge building. We felt small and tiny. Slowly we started taking pictures – some of the architecture, others of the people surrounding us.
I then slowly walked inside – gazing at the beautiful mosaic tiles and arches surrounding me. The floor of the mosque is covered with white and black marble ornamented to imitate the Muslim prayer mat; a thin black marble border is marked for the worshippers – but when we arrived in the morning there were only a handful of worshippers.
I was trying to practice different skills and techniques, so I used one of the stand-up signs advertising a climb to the tower as my makeshift prop to take some interesting pictures of the front of the mosque. I sat there a while and took a number of shots, this one is probably the best given it has the covered up mother with her child and the pigeons flying…
… but actually I like this one too, where Monica and Patrick battle with each other. They clearly had fun pulling each other’s leg – and I used this to take the nice picture, which will always remind me of the fun times we had in Delhi!