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Fatehpuri Mosque during the time of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar Fatehpuri Shahi Masjid
A mute witness to the travails of Dillee 

If Delhi is the heart of India, the historical Fatehpuri Masjid in Chandni Chowk is its heart-beat. Facing the historical seat of the Mughal power, the Red Fort, Fatehpuri is a mute witness to the unfolding drama of history right from the period of the Mughul and British rules till date. 

This mosque was built in 1650 by Begum Fatehpuri, wife of the Mughul Emperor Shah Jehan and hence it is named after her. It is situated on the western end of Chandni Chowk. The mosque boasts of two towering minarets on both sides besides a large dome. It has three gates: one is right in front of the Red Fort and the remaining two are in the North and south. Khari Baoli is in the north end and Katra Baryan is situated in the south of this mosque. There are parapets (kangoorahs) made of red stones on the gates of the mosque and small domes at the end. Inside, there is a big courtyard where red stones are laid.

There are double verandas towards the south in the main mosque, with large rooms to the left and right. There is a very large tank (hauz) in the courtyard of the mosque. This marble tank is used for ablution. Formerly this tank was fed with water directly from the river but now it is filled with tap water.

The main mosque is built on a three-and-a-half foot high platform. Its main arch is very high, with kangoorahs and large domes on both sides. Two domes are on the back of the mosque. There are strips of white marble on the arch and domes of the mosque. The main dome of the mosque is very large and it has been plastered in such a way that from a distance it looks like a marble dome. There are black and white strips on this dome. The dome is built of lime mortar. There are two verandas, 12 ft. apart, on both sides of the main arch, with kangoorahs on their roofs also. The mosque has two minarets, each of which is 80 ft. high and the domes are also built in lime mortar. Lotuses are built on the gates of the mosque. There are galleries below the kangoorahs. There are three steps each in front of the main and other arches. The pulpit inside the mosque is built of marble which has four steps. There are rows of pillars of red stone on both sides of the mosque.

The magnificent Chandni Chowk at that time. According to Brij Kishan Chandiwalla’s book Dilli ki khoj (Discovery of Delhi) troops were stationed in this mosque in 1857. Later on, this mosque was confiscated and auctioned for Rs. 19,000, which was bought by Lala Chhanna Mal.

In 1873 the government wanted to buy back this mosque from Lala Chhanna Mal for Rs. 1,20,000 to return it back to Muslims but the Lala did not agree. However, in 1876 when British Queen visited India and held her court in Delhi, this mosque was handed over to Muslims. There are a few graves in the courtyard of the mosque also, including those of Hazrat Nanoon Shah and Shah Jalal. Hazrat Meeran Shah Nanoon hailed from Thaneswar. After coming to Delhi, he settled down in a room of the mosque. He died at the age of 80 and was buried in the court of this mosque. Hazrat Shah Jalal was the Khalifa of Hazrat Nanoon Shah and he spent his whole life in prayers in this very room. His grave is also in the courtyard of the Fatehpuri mosque.

In addition, there are also graves of Mufti Muhammad. Mazhar, Maulana Muhammad Musharraf Ahmad and Maulana Dr. Muhammad Sayeed in the same mosque. There is also a well in the mosque that is said to have its source in the wells of Lal Kuan.


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