Fatehpuri Mosque

Fatehpuri Mosque

Fatehpuri Mosque or Fatehpuri masjid as it is popularly called in Delhi is on the opposite end of Red Fort across the Chandni Chowk. Fatehpuri Begum, one of Shah Jahan's wives, built Fatehpuri Masjid in 1650. The majestic structure is primarily built of red sandstone, typical of all the buildings of that era. This is one of the oldest surviving mosques in India that has only one dome. The later Mughal architecture encouraged multi-domed masjid.

Towering minarets from each side flank the central structure. The mosque is primarily built on the conservative Afghan design that has the prayer hall in the very middle and have seven-arched openings. Among the seven arches, the central arch is the highest. The only unique aspect of the mosque is the presence of both the single storied and double storied apartments, which break the harmony along the line. These apartments were earlier used as Madarsa or the Religious school. The 1857 mutiny saw bloodbath in old Delhi and the effect was seen on the masjid as well. Muslims were barred from entering old Delhi and Hindu Baniyas and Punjabis who were loyal to the British were bestowed with the major chunk of property. The British auctioned some parts of the mosque to a Hindu family. Later in 1877 it was restored to the Muslims at the Delhi Darbar when the British allowed the Muslims back in Old Delhi.

Though Fatehpuri Masjid is an important mosque in Old Delhi but does not qualify as architectural marvel. Aesthetically speaking, the mosque is not a very fine example of Mughal architecture. The materials used in the mosque are of indigenous and sub-standard quality. The symmetry in the architecture is completely missing in the mosque and is thus considered a poor cousin of Jama Masjid. If one notices, especially the dome is not in proportion to the building and the overall effect is also not very pleasing to the eyes. However, different parts of the mosque individually are very attractive and have good Naqqashi work done.