The Kalan Masjid
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 Musjid (‘Mosque, Mahomedan place of worship’) Kullan (‘Great, applicable also to persons’) or Large Mosque, but from its sombre appearance denominated by Europeans the Kalee or Black Mosque was constructed in the reign of the Emperor Feroze Shah (‘Propitious King’), who flourished between 1351 and 1388, by one Khan-e-Juhan (‘Lord of the World’), whose tomb is within the building.
Although included within the present city built by the Emperor Shah Juhan(‘Lord of the World’) and called after him Shah Juhanabad (‘City or Abode of Shah Juhan, the King of the World’), this mosque must have existed certainly for two centuries before.
It is in the rudest style of Puttan (‘particular race and dynasty’) architecture with a succession of 34 small domes on the top and a steep ascent of 32 steps. It is now completely surrounded by houses and indeed is situated in the most populous part of the city. For many years previous to 1822 it had been occupied by a colony of silk manufacturers who were somewhat indignant at their ejection from a commodious habitation merely to gratify the taste of their European Rulers for improvement, and it so happened that in 1823/24 when undergoing repairs, by some untoward chance, the Black Mosque was white washed and it was estimated that the sum of Rs 3,000 would be required to restore it to its’ former antiquated appearance.
[The Kalan Masjid was built in 1387 by the son of Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah, Prime Minster of Feroz Shah Tughlaq (r.1351-88). The mosque was built in Ferozabad, the city built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq but was later included in Shahjahan's new city Shahjahanabad.]
Inscribed: naqsha-i masjid kalan ‘urf kali.