Jama Masjid Delhi
The Jama Masjid (Congregational Mosque) was constructed on a natural elevation by Shah Jahan about a mile west of Red Fort of Delhi, during 1651-56.
A vast open courtyard is enclosed by a low arcade with three massive gates on the north, east and south sides, each approached by exterior stairs in red sandstone. As customary, the sanctuary is on the western side, facing Mecca and consists of a wide central arch flanked on each side by five smaller ones terminating in slender, elegant minarets.
At the centre of a 9,000 square ft. courtyard is a large pool where Muslims perform their ablutions before prayer. Beside it stands a platform designed so that a second prayer leader could copy the main imam inside. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches and its walls and floors are of marble inlay panels with rich motifs of cusped arches. The use of black marble strips in the inlay decoration and on the domes produces a striking effect.