Badshahi (Sultan) Mosque is one of the rare mosques with 8 minarets in the world in terms of number of minarets. There are mosques with many minarets in different places. But Badshahi (Sultan) Mosque architecture has a unique beauty in terms of the multiplicity of minarets.
Located in Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan, the Badshahi (Sultan) Mosque was built by the sixth sultan of the Mughals, Awrangzib, for the purpose of worshiping and meeting the sultans with the people. Sultan Construction appointed his brother Muzaffer Hüseyin to supervise. It is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest in the world. It has witnessed many historical events until today and has been used as a military garrison apart from the purpose of its construction. After its stunning architecture suffered great damage, it was started to be used as a mosque again with the reactions and efforts of the Muslim people. In 1993, it was included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
This mosque, which houses the tomb of Pakistan’s national poet Muhammad Iqbal, was designed in accordance with Islamic, Mughal, Indian and indo-Islamic architectural movements. Greek, Islamic and Indian culture is blended. Evrangzib’s desire for expansion, courage and splendor were emphasized in the design of the mosque. It drew strength and grace from Mughal architecture, and beauty and mystery from Indian architecture.
The construction of the mosque, whose construction process started on the west of Lahore Fort, at the foot of the Lahore Walls, was completed in two years despite its complex design. Red sandstone and white marble were used as building materials to represent strength.
It has a capacity of approximately 100,000 people with its large courtyard in which the Taj Mahal fits. Its courtyard is 276,000 m2 wide, paved with small kiln burnt bricks placed in a musalla pattern, the existing red sandstone flooring was applied during the restorations. The total height of the mosque is 69 meters. It has three 25-meter white marble construction domes and eight minarets, four of which are large and four of which are small. The minarets are lined with marble and red sandstone. The large dome is located in the middle of the mosque. The external façade of the mosque is decorated with stone carvings with marble cover on red sandstone. Sculpted panels form the walls, and at the corner of each wall is a tower complete with turret and dome. The turrets are made of sandstone and the domes are made of white marble. Since the northern perimeter wall of the mosque is close to the banks of the Ravi river, a door was not built, and to preserve the symmetry, a door was not built on the south wall, and unlike the Delhi Jama Masjid, a single entrance was created.
All sections are heavily decorated. Inspiration from nature combined with geometric design. The mosque architecture of the Muslim world reaches its peak with its various architectural features such as the wide square courtyard, side aisles, the four-cornered minaret, the protruding central passage of the prayer room, and the large entrance door.
The main chapel is decorated with plaster carving and fresco work and consists of seven magnificently carved arches. Three of the arches are double-domed and the rest are flat-domed. There is a curved bordered partition at the cornice level on the east side of the ceiling. The lotus patterns embroidered on the ceiling of the mosque symbolize Hinduism and Buddhism, and the past is embraced and sanctified in this way.
Unlike other mosques built in this period, it has only two inscriptions. One is at the main entrance and the other inscription with Islamic scripture called ‘Kalimah’ is located under the main vault in the main prayer hall. In the time of the Mughals there were very few rooms where they gathered for religious speeches and sermons. However, there is a section of holy relics inside the mosque. The turban, staff shoes, robe, which are thought to belong to the Prophet Muhammad. Ali’s turban Hz. Hussein’s robe is exhibited. The interior walls are decorated with marble inlays of detailed flower and cartridge motifs in painted plaster relief. It was built to form musalla by using cut and chipped bricks with marble and sangi abri lining on its original floor.
According to a rumor, the hands of the architects and masters who took part in the process were cut off so that a building as magnificent as this mosque would not be built again. Badshahi (Padişah) Mosque is still standing and waiting for its visitors in Lahore, the heart of Pakistan, with the tiredness of years.
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