This winter if you are planning to visit Delhi, Sakie Ariyawansa of The Travellore would like to take you on a ride to one place that should not be missed out on your to-do list in Delhi. The famous Jama Masjid, a mosque visited by all people, and the story is as good as it is today.

My first visit to Delhi was in 2011, November and it will be the most memorable one ever. Delhi has such an irreplaceable place in my heart and will always keep welcoming me into her arms.

We were traveling from Bangalore by train and arrived at Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi.  After a two nights journey, finally we were at the national capital of India. The first place we wanted to be was Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, between 1644-1656.

Jama Masjid

The mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 metre high Minarets constructed of strips of Red sandstone and white Marble. The courtyard of the mosque can accommodate more than 25,000 worshipers at a one time. Jama Masjid is in Old Delhi, near Meena Bazaar, an over populated, crowded, and packed area. The area is well known for its Muslim dominance, and the mouth-watering chicken kebabs, and Qurmas of the authentic Muslim food culture.

We mounted a rickshaw which was the most common and economical mode of transport around the narrow lanes of the area. As soon as we turned to the Meena Bazar lane, the Minars (towers) came into sight, above the buildings and trees that were the only barrier between us and the mosque.

The street was colorful with different merchandise on display, carpets, silver and golden antique home pieces, shawls and groceries. It was a hand-trembling situation as we realized that we were about to make a long lasted dream come true within a few minutes time.  It was almost the time for the afternoon prayer, and the sight of the men in white, heading towards the mosque from nearby neighborhoods was mesmeric.

Place of solace

The steps that led to the courtyard seemed like a carpet to the heavens, and the voice of the prayers (Nimaz) which was broadcasted to the city aloud, felt like an invitation for a peaceful journey, that could set a soul free.  It is mandatory to enter the courtyard, with barefoot, and well dressed. As soon as the feet touch the cool marble floor, one realizes that a lifetime can be spent here.

It was that divine feeling of being in a place you always longed to be. Wasim started the talk; he was explaining me about the history of the Mughal Empire, which was least interesting at that moment, honestly. The open courtyard was glowing with the beams of sunlight, reflecting in the water of the magnificent pond in the middle of the yard of which the worshippers are to wash their hands and face before prayer.  How can one not be mesmerized with all that? We had all the time to ourselves to walk around the mosque, and indulge in its majestic glory, and the enormous walls that stood as a guardian angel between the black and white world. Right in the middle of a city such as Delhi, where people live rough lives, and fight battles of immense pain and struggle, stands this divine piece of heaven, which can only attract us more each time we pay a visit.  The pigeons that flew in flock rising above the mosque towers symbolized the spirit that was set free, free of evil and desire.

Not many people are fascinated by religious places which are not of theirs, but Jama Masjid in Old Delhi has its own breath-taking sight with its silent glory only felt at heart. Divinity has no proper name or place; it is only a place which makes one feel closer to peacefulness.  It has been 4 years since then, and by today we have been there for nearly 20 times. Every time we travel to Delhi, it turns energetic with hope and faith. It is a place not to be only seen, but to be felt deep within one’s heart where it could only be showered with immense blessings.

The post is originally published on The Travellore

Published in Asia, Destination
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