Illustrations by 211 Studio, New Delhi, India
As I sat back and thought for a moment and was gonna start off with something like this:
As I was going down the list, I realised that Delhi has lots of dome shaped buildings!
Mosque, tombs, Sikh gurdwara, mausoleum, and more tombs. Plus a big fort and 1/8 of the Bahai temples in the world.
Having been to most of the places mentioned above and more, first and foremost as a tourist on my maiden visit, and later an observer and finally a “photographer” (note the ” ” ) … my routine has been such:
But all in, I seriously still don’t get Jama Masjid… hence my MUST go destination every time, though it’s on my way to stocking up on dried apricots, figs and vanilla pods.
Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in the Asia Pacific region and was built by Shahjahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor of India, who also built the Red Fort (Lal Qila) across the road and the Taj Mahal in Agra (just in case you didn’t know … and oh, do visit the Night Show at Lal Qila for the whole mumbo-jumbo story of the sons, nephews, concubines, water mellons – I am serious!).
The open courtyard of the mosque is impressive, measuring approximately 100 meter square. If not for the 32 quirky looking steps chiseled from red sandstones with white painted stripes, the mosque’s intimidating huge gateway right at the top of the steps gives you a feeling of being looked down by Shahjahan himself. The prayer hall is a marvel with a magnificent facade of eleven arches, being topped off by three domes which are richly ornamented and has black and white marble stripes. The atmosphere and feeling is somewhat surreal if you can get past the fluttering pigeons and poo pockmarked floor.
But I don’t get the no shoe policy!
I mean, I get the no shoe policy in mosque. Period.
But honestly, what difference does it make when every square inch of the courtyard is covered with pigeon poo? And wouldn’t stepping barefooted all over pigeon poo prior to entering the internal arches and prayer area worse than removing one’s shoe before entering the non-poo zones?