Results 11-12of 12 Reviews
London, United Kingdom
October 17, 2001
Very close by to the wall-less building is the complex’s religious area. The mosque was founded in the 12th century, and has been built and re-built many times, into its present graceful form. The mosque is fairly small, and has that serene air of many centuries' worship - I got the feeling there that I have also had in Cathedrals in Europe - Westminster Abbey, or Smarden parish church among others, that this is a place "in which prayer has been valid". If you venture inside the mosque (taking off your shoes, and either leaving them with the boy guard and paying him a rupee or two a pair, or carrying them with you) you can see that the façade is better preserved than the interior and rear of the building. Like other mosques in India, such as that at Fatephur Sikri, or the Jama Masjid in Delhi, the centre is open to the sky, and the edges are roofed in. The walls have carved stone windows, with amazing lattice work which allows in a breeze, and deep window seats people can sit in and observe the scene. The pillars, some 12 inches thick, show most clearly the remains of the temples from which parts of this building were constructed – there are some parts which obviously once had faces or animals carved into them, the faces smashed when they were incorporated into the mosque to avoid Islam’s ban on grave images. The far side of the mosque is not complete – there are entire sections of the back wall missing, and the odd monkey wanders in and out to have a look at the scene.
From journal Delhi - exciting, vivid, and hot!
The complex consists of various buildings set among calm gardens. There are the usual Muslim buildings found elsewhere in India (for example, a hall of private audience) and a few whose function now can only be guessed at. There is a mosque, cloisters, the remains of what were probably living quarters, and the tower itself.
As you enter the complex, dodging enthusiastic hawkers and buying your $10 ticket, you walk under a red stone tunnel-arch. It’s a transformation from Delhi to peace – the cooler air, shade from the sun, and quiet as the hawkers are left behind. On your left and right, after you emerge from the stone tunnel, are crumbling buildings whose significance is not obvious; they may have been living areas. There are lawns surroundings the buildings, with large striped squirrels running up and down the trees, and Indian families picnicking in the shade of the bigger shrubs. The gardens and buildings are walled in, and from here you can see the mosque straight ahead of you, the Minar itself to your left, and the stump of the follow-on version to your right. The first time I came here, in 1998, we were near the end of our summer-time trip, and spent a morning here; the serenity of the place is wonderful. The second time, when I was in India with my mother in Sept. 2001, I brought her here on the afternoon of our first day, to counteract the panic that the overwhelming nature of India can breed. Delhi, although a fascinating place, is so hot, noisy, and polluted that a morning or afternoon at somewhere like this is just what the doctor ordered to recharge your batteries.