shah jahan mosque

Written by Aleena Imran 8:19 pm Pakistan Unveiled

The Shah Jahan Mosque: A Lasting Gift for the People of Sindh

Built in 1647 in Thatta, during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, the Shah Jahan Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques constructed at the time. The mosque was presented as a gift to the people of Sindh, who provided Shah Jahan a refuge from his father. The mosque has no minarets, and has a hundred domes, making it truly one of a kind. The acoustics are such that sounds over 100 decibels are easily heard in all corners of the mosque. The remarkable structure and intricate decor allow both locals and tourists to witness the majestic grandeur of Mughal architecture.
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About the Author(s)
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Aleena Imran has an MBA from NUST and has worked as an HR professional at companies like MPCL, Coke, Jazz, and LMKT. In her spare time, she runs her home-based baking business. Apart from being an avid reader, she enjoys writing, photography, and art.

Mughal Emperor’s Mosque in Thatta

The Shah Jahan Mosque is located in eastern Thatta, the capital of Sindh in the 16th and 17th centuries before Sindh’s capital was shifted to nearby Hyderabad. It is located near the Makli graveyard, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is approximately 100 kilometres from Karachi, and is now one of the most important landmarks of Sindh.

Construction started in 1644, and the mosque was completed in a mere three years, in 1647. The mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a gift for the people of the area, since they showed him immense hospitality when he was seeking refuge from his father.  It cost 9 lakh rupees at the time.

Shah Jahan Mosque

The Shah Jahan Mosque is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture, which is characterized by its grandeur, elegance, and symmetry. The mosque is built entirely of red brick and decorated with blue tiles, giving it a striking appearance. It has 100 domes (the largest number in Pakistan), with 6 big domes, and the remaining smaller in size. It also has 33 arches, and interestingly, does not have a single minaret.

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The foundation of the mosque is 12ft–15ft deep, and there are a total of five entrances. Moreover, the mosque can accommodate a massive 20,000 people at a time! The mosque has been designed in a special way to amplify the sounds (above 100 decibels) – which people believe can be attributed to the large number of domes. The prayers, recitations, and speeches of the royal Khateeb/Imam Janab Allama Qari Hafiz Abdul Basit Siddiqui would resound throughout the mosque without the need for any speaker systems.

Mughal architecture

Moreover, the vents and airways throughout the mosque were designed in a way to ensure that every corner was well-ventilated. The Shah Jahan Mosque’s architectural style is overtly influenced by Turkic and Persian styles. The mosque is characterized by extensive brickwork and the use of blue tiles, both of which were directly influenced by Timurid architectural styles from Central Asia − from where the previous rulers of Sindh, the Tarkhans, had hailed before the region was annexed by the Mughals in 1592.

Jamia Mosque of Thatta: A Fusion of Art, Culture, and Religion

The Shah Jahan Mosque is a cultural and religious icon, with delicate floral patterns evocative of 17th-century Kashi art from Iran adorning the spandrels of its great arches, and square tiles displaying sophisticated geometrical motifs in a series of panels. The mosque not only represents Sindh’s rich cultural legacy but also acts as a beloved landmark in Pakistan, owing to the extraordinary talents of Mughal architects and craftsmen.

Mughal architecture

Throughout its history, the Shah Jahan Mosque has undergone numerous repair operations to ensure that its original beauty is preserved. This amazing structure was designated a UNESCO World Heritage structure in 1993, raising awareness of its great cultural value on a global scale. 

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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