Jami Masjid, Delhi ff. 10v-11
Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)
Medium: Ink and colours on paper
[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]
The Jameh Musjeed or the Great Cathedral was erected by the Emperor Shah Jehan, commenced in the fourth and completed in the 10th year of his reign, at an Expense of 10 Lacks of Rupees. It is situated about ¼ mile from the Palace. Its foundation was laid on a rocky eminence, scarped out for the purpose, called the Jugula Pahar.
The ascent to it is by a flight of red stone steps 35 in number through a handsome Gateway of the same material. There are three Entrances of the same description to the East, North and South. The Terrace on which the Mosque stands is a square of about 1400 yards, and in the Centre is a fountain lined with Marble for the necessary ablutions previous to prayer.
An arched Colonnade surrounds the whole of the terrace with octagon Pavilions at the four corners. The Mosque is of an oblong form 260 feet in length, surmounted by three magnificent Domes intersected by black stripes and flanked by two Minarets rising to the height of 130 feet. Each Minaret is ascended by a winding staircase of 130 Steps, and has three projecting Galleries of white marble, crowned with light octagon Pavilions of the same.
No Endowment, as is usual with Mohummudan Public places of Worship was ever assigned to this Mosque, it being considered the special charge of the Crown, and from the inability of the King to defray the expense of the repairs, the British Government in 183[blank] expended the sum of Rs [blank] in renewing the North Minaret partly destroyed by Lightning.
The Emperor Shah Jahan (the King of the World) was the son of Jahangeer (the Conqueror of the World) and succeeding on the death of his father took formal possession of the Throne on 28th January AD1628. When firmly established in his Government, he gave loose to the passion for magnificent Buildings and Expensive Entertainment’s. He erected Palaces in his principal Cities, and on the first anniversary of his accession he had a suite of Tents prepared in Cashmere, which if we may believe his Historian it took two months to pitch, and on that occasion he introduced new forms of lavish Expenditure, for besides the usual Ceremony of being weighed against precious substances, he had vessels filled with jewels waved over his head or poured over his person (according to the superstition that such offerings would avert misfortunes) and all the wealth so devoted was immediately scattered among the bystanders or given away in presents. The whole Expense of this Festival, including Gifts of Money, Jewels, rich drapes, Arms, Elephants and Horses amounted to 1,600,000 £ Sterling. Notwithstanding Shah Jahan’s love of ease and pleasure,
[The Jami‘ Masjid at Delhi, the ‘iwan from the east. The Jami Masjid, the largest mosque in India, was the last great architectural venture of Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1628-58), the most prolific builder of the Mughal dynasty. It took six years to build and functioned as a congregational mosque which could hold 250,000 people. Approached via broad flights of steps its three gateways lead into a huge courtyard with a central tank for ritual ablutions. The mosque is built of red sandstone with white marble. The main building is topped by three onion-shaped domes of white marble striated with thin strips of black marble, and is flanked by two minarets, 130 ft high]
Inscribed: naqsha-i masjid jami‘-i shahjahanabad. Mazhar ‘Ali Khan.
the time spent away from his Capital and the Erection of those Celebrated Structures in which he took so much delight, he never remitted his Vigilance over his internal Government, and by this and the judicious choice of his Ministers, his Reign was perhaps the most prosperous ever known in India. Though often times engaged in foreign Wars, his own Dominions enjoyed almost uninterrupted tranquillity together with a larger share of good Government than often falls to the lot of Asiatic Nations. But nevertheless this able Prince was dethroned by his 3rd son Aurungzeb in AD1658, and unaccountably as it may seem without any of his old servants attempting to stir in his favor. He was still treated with the highest respect: but altho’ he lived for some Years longer, his reign ends at this Period. Shah Jahan was the most magnificent Prince that ever appeared in India. His Retinue, his State Establishments, his largesses and all the Pomp of his Court were beyond all they had ever attained to under his Predecessors, and yet they neither occasioned any increase to Exactions nor any Embarrassment in his finances; the most striking instance of his pomp was the construction of the Peacock Throne, so designated from a Peacock with its Tail spread (represented in its natural Colour of Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies and other appropriate Jewels) which formed the chief ornament of a mass of Diamonds and