Moti Masjid Agra
The era of the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a connoisseur of art and architecture marked as one of the significant period in the history of creation of some the most famous architectural wonders in India. One such architectural delight is the Moti Masjid in Agra. The structure is built of pure white marbles that gives it a shiny white velvety look similar to that of pearls. Thus it was christened as Moti Masjid as "Moti" means "Pearl". Situated inside the compound of the famous Agra Fort in the vicinity of river Yamuna, this structure no doubt is a treat to the eyes of the tourists and is one of the frequently Places to visit in Agra.
History and Architecture
The Moti Masjid was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a place of worship for the royal members of the court. The architectural features of the Mosque bear remarkable resemblance to that of the St. Basils Cathedral in Moscow. The mosque built between 1648 and 1654 is situated to the right of the Diwan-E-Aam or the hall where the Emperor held darbar for the common man. The ground where the masjid stands slopes from east to west to north of Diwan-E Aam complex. The three domes of the mosque built of white marbles, resting on the red sandstone walls looks magnificent and one can observe the splendid symmetrical design that is formed. Along the parapet, a series of domed kiosks are built that are designed after Hindu architecture. Supported by piers and lobed arches, seven bays are there that are divided into aisles. In the center of the court of the mosque, a marble tank is situated and a sundial made on an octagonal marble pillar standing in one corner gives quite an interesting and intriguing look. The prayer chamber is placed on the western side while the northern, eastern and southern sides are surrounded by arcaded cloisters with twelve sided pillars and beautifully cusped arches.
There are three gates to the mosque, the main and largest entrance being the one in the eastern side as also the most beautiful one. The other two subsidiary gates are on the northern and southern sides. Arches and three square chatris crowning the gates give them a royal look. The main gateways are built of red sandstone exterior and marble interior and can be approached by two staircases. An arcade of seven arches is there in the prayer chamber. A total of twenty-one bays are there of which only three have vaulted soffits. The western wall has an inlaid mirhab that is beautifully carved with six niches corresponding to the arches. The main prayer chamber has latticework screen made of marble on either side to separate the portions from the main chamber hall. These portions were used by women to offer their prayers. Above the parapet there are seven chatris beautifully designed and square in shape with an octagonal tower with domed shape marble structures at each corner. Unlike the usual case where the pulpit can be reached by climbing three steps, the pulpit of this Masjid has four steps.
The exquisite craftsmanship of the artisans of India can be easily reflected from the rich architecture of the mosque. The masjid that took four years to complete was constructed at a cost of one lakh and sixty thousand rupees.
Open time: Sunrise to Sunset
Location and How to reach
The Moti Masjid is situated inside the compound of Agra Fort which is quite close to the city center. One can avail regular bus service from the Power House Bus Stand. The main railway station, The Agra Fort Railway Station is also located near the Fort. One can also avail flight to reach Agra. The Agra Airport is located at south-west side at a distance of 8 km from the fort.
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