Jama Masjid: the iconic Nawabi mosque in Lucknow

When Jama Masjid was built in Delhi by Shah Jahan in the 17th Century it was the largest mosque of the subcontinent, and it continues to be one of the largest mosques in India. However, in the year 1839 the construction of another Jama Masjid was started in Lucknow by the Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah with the intention to surpass it's brethren in Delhi. However, due to his sudden death while the mosque was still under construction, his dream could not be fulfilled. The mosque was finally finished by his wife Mallika Jahan Begum in 1845, but budgets had to be cut and the original ambitious plans curtailed.

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
The famous facade of the mosque

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
Onion domes of Jama Masjid

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
This gate leads from Chota Imambara to Jama Masjid

However, despite the slaying of the budget the Jama masjid is still an imposing structure and it's beauty is certainly unparalleled. There are stark differences with the mosque whose size it wanted to beat. While the Jama Masjid in Delhi is completely constructed with red sandstone (a favourite with the Mughals), the one in Lucknow is made with Lakhauri bricks and plastered with lime. Almost the entire building is covered with gorgeous stucco motifs, which make it quite a unique piece of architecture. The Jama Masjid in Delhi was primarily a Sunni mosque while the one in Lucknow is a Shia mosque.

The mosque is built on a square terrace and access to this area is only for Muslims. This is another significant difference from the Jama Masjid in Delhi which remains accessible to everyone except during the prayer hours. The Jami Masjid in Ahmedabad goes a step further and is accessible to all, even during prayer time. The prayer hall is humongous and facade on the western side is simply outstanding. The central doorway is not only huge, but also full of beautiful stucco work.

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
Jama Masjid in Lucknow

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
Imposing minaret...

jama masjid mosque lucknow nawab
As I walked away from the mosque...

I had been passing and longingly looking at this mosque over the last few years and it was only on my recent visit that I managed to actually visit the place. Unfortunately being a non-Muslim I couldn't go inside and took some pictures from outside. There is much discussion about this and it's possible that n future the mosque might be made accessible to all. It was afternoon so the western facade was against the light and pictures were all underwhelming; if you plan a visit to Jama Masjid, go early in the morning and you will catch golden light on the most beautiful part of the mosque :)



Timing for visitors: 8am onwards
Prayer timings: 5 times a day (check the time on the notice board outside)
Directions to reach: 

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely! I wish it was allowed to go inside as well...

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  2. How beautiful the mosque is. And amazing pictures, Sid! Would love to know about eat outs in Lucknow as well :)

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  3. One place that I totally missed visiting in Lucknow.. may be next time...

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  4. Fabulous images of this iconic mosque, Sid! The first time I knew about this landmark of Lucknow was from one of Madhu's posts. From this post of yours I learn even more, and hopefully one day I'll get the chance to visit it myself.

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  5. Lucknow humpe Fida.....
    Him Fida-ay Lucknow......Aadaab Arz Hai from Lucknowi

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  6. What a beautiful blog is this? Jama musjid is one of the very ancient and beautiful place in Lucknow. It is famous for Musliims religion which celebrated the entire year. if you visiting for sightseeing tour in Lucknow. So, you can hire cab service for.

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  7. I wish you were allowed to go inside! The pictures are fabulous Sid. Never been to Lucknow. Hopefully someday. Love the way you document mosques.

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  8. The exterior of this mosque is stunning! Too bad you couldn't go inside. I bet it is elegant and equally magnificent inside!

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  9. Wow, what a magnificent monument! Jama Masjid only reminds me of the one in Delhi. But seems the Lucknow one is no less in terms of grandeur!

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  10. What an incredibly striking specimen of Mughal architecture, beautifully captured in the photos.

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