Badshahi Mosque

The Badshahi Mosque (Punjabi, Urdu: بادشاہی مسجد) is an iconic Mughal-era congregational mosque in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The mosque is located opposite of Lahore Fort in the outskirts of the Walled City and is widely considered to be one of Lahore's most iconic landmarks.

The Badshahi Mosque was built between 1671 and 1673 and by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The mosque is an important example of Mughal architecture, with an exterior that is decorated with carved red sandstone with marble inlay. It remains the largest mosque of the Mughal-era, and is the third-largest mosque in Pakistan. In 1799, during the rule of Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire, the mosque's courtyard was used as a stable and its hujras (cells) as soldiers quarters. When the British Empire took control of Lahore in 1846 it was used as a garrison until 1852. Subsequently, the Badshahi Mosque Authority was established to overse...Read more

The Badshahi Mosque (Punjabi, Urdu: بادشاہی مسجد) is an iconic Mughal-era congregational mosque in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The mosque is located opposite of Lahore Fort in the outskirts of the Walled City and is widely considered to be one of Lahore's most iconic landmarks.

The Badshahi Mosque was built between 1671 and 1673 and by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The mosque is an important example of Mughal architecture, with an exterior that is decorated with carved red sandstone with marble inlay. It remains the largest mosque of the Mughal-era, and is the third-largest mosque in Pakistan. In 1799, during the rule of Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire, the mosque's courtyard was used as a stable and its hujras (cells) as soldiers quarters. When the British Empire took control of Lahore in 1846 it was used as a garrison until 1852. Subsequently, the Badshahi Mosque Authority was established to oversee its restoration as a place of worship. It is now one of Pakistan's most iconic sights.

The sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, chose Lahore as the site for his new mosque. Aurangzeb, unlike the previous emperors, was not a major patron of art and architecture and instead focused, during much of his reign, on various military conquests which added to the Mughal realm.[1] The mosque was built to commemorate Aurangzeb's military campaigns in southern India, in particular against the Maratha Emperor Shivaji.[2] As a symbol of the mosque's importance, it was built directly across from the Lahore Fort and its Alamgiri Gate, which was concurrently built by Aurangzeb during construction of the mosque.[3]

The mosque was commissioned in 1671, with construction overseen by the Emperor's foster brother, and Governor of Lahore, Muzaffar Hussein - also known by the name Fidai Khan Koka.[4] After only two years of construction, the mosque was opened in 1673.[3]

Sikh era
 
 
Badshahi Mosque fell into disrepair during Sikh rule; the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh (white edifice on right) was built next to the mosque.

On 7 July 1799, the Sikh army of Ranjit Singh took control of Lahore.[5] After the capture of the city, Maharaja Ranjit Singh used its vast courtyard as a stable for his army horses, and its 80 Hujras (small study rooms surrounding the courtyard) as quarters for his soldiers and as magazines for military stores.[6] In 1818, he built a marble edifice in the Hazuri Bagh facing the mosque, known as the Hazuri Bagh Baradari,[7] which he used as his official royal court of audience.[8] Marble slabs for the baradari may have been plundered by the Sikhs from other monuments in Lahore.[9] In 1839, after his death, construction of a samadhi in his memory was begun by his son and successor, Kharak Singh, at a site adjacent to the mosque.

During the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1841, Ranjit Singh's son, Sher Singh, used the mosque's large minarets for placement of zamburahs or light guns which were used to bombard the supporters of Chand Kaur, who had taken refuge in the besieged Lahore Fort. In one of these bombardments, the fort's Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) was destroyed, but was subsequently rebuilt in the British era. During this time, Henri de La Rouche, a French cavalry officer employed in the army of Sher Singh,[10] also used a tunnel connecting the Badshahi mosque to the Lahore fort to temporarily store gunpowder.[11]

British Rule

In 1849, the British seized control of Lahore from the Sikh Empire. During the British Raj, the mosque and the adjoining fort continued to be used as a military garrison. The 80 cells built into the walls surrounding its vast courtyard were demolished by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, so as to prevent them from being used for anti-British activities. The cells were replaced by open arcades known as dalans.[12]

Because of increasing Muslim resentment against the use of the mosque as a military garrison, by the help of Khan Bahadur Nawab Barkat Ali Khan the British set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority in 1852 to oversee the restoration and to re-establish it as a place of religious worship. From then onwards, piecemeal repairs were carried out under the supervision of the Badshahi Mosque Authority. The building was officially handed back to the Muslim community by John Lawrence, who was the Viceroy of India.[13] The building was then re-established as a mosque.

In April 1919, after the Amritsar Massacre, a mixed Sikh, Hindu and Muslim crowd of an estimated 25,000-35,000 gathered in the mosque's courtyard in protest. A speech by Gandhi was read at the event by Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din, who would later become Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.[14][15]

Extensive repairs commenced from 1939 onwards, when Sikandar Hayat Khan began raising funds for this purpose.[16] Renovation was supervised by the architect Nawab Alam Yar Jung Bahadur.[17] As Khan was largely credited for extensive restorations to the mosque, he was buried adjacent to the mosque in the Hazuri Bagh.

Post-independence
 
The mosque is very busy during the Islamic festivals of Eid and Ramadan.

Restoration works begun in 1939 continued after the Independence of Pakistan, and were completed in 1960 at a total cost of 4.8 million Rupees.[17]

On the occasion of the 2nd Islamic Summit held at Lahore on 22 February 1974, thirty-nine heads of Muslim states offered their Friday prayers in the Badshahi Mosque, including, among others, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, and Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuwait. In 1993, the Badshahi Mosque was included in a tentative list as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[18] In 2000, the marble inlay in the main prayer hall was repaired. In 2008, replacement work on the red sandstone tiles on the mosque's large courtyard was initiated, using red sandstone imported from the original Mughal source near Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan.[19][20]

^ "Badshahi Mosque, Lahore (architectural details of the structure given)". Architecture Courses website. Retrieved 1 January 2021. ^ Cite error: The named reference Routledge was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b "Badshahi Mosque". Visit Lahore website. Retrieved 1 January 2021. ^ Meri, p.91 ^ "Welcome to the Sikh Encyclopedia". Thesikhencyclopedia.com. 14 April 2012. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. ^ Chida-Razvi, Mehreen (20 September 2020). The Friday Mosque in the City: Liminality, Ritual, and Politics. Intellect Books. pp. 91–94. ISBN 978-1-78938-304-1. In addition to the masjid's use as a site for military storage, stables for the cavalry horses, and barracks for soldiers, parts of it were also used as storage for powder magazines ^ Tikekar, p. 74 ^ Khullar, K. K. (1980). Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Hem Publishers. p. 7. ^ Marshall, Sir John Hubert (1906). Archaeological Survey of India. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. ^ "De La Roche, Henri Francois Stanislaus". allaboutsikhs.com. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2014. ^ Grey, C. (1993). European Adventures of Northern India. Asian Educational Services. p. 343. ISBN 978-81-206-0853-5. ^ Development of mosque Architecture in Pakistan by Ahmad Nabi Khan, p.114 ^ Amin, Agha Humayun. "Political and Military Situation from 1839 to 1857". Defence Journal website. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2021. ^ Lloyd, Nick (30 September 2011). The Amritsar Massacre: The Untold Story of One Fateful Day. I.B.Tauris. ^ Note: Reports on the Punjab Disturbances April 1919 gives a figure of 25,000 ^ Omer Tarin, Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan and the Renovation of the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore: An Historical Survey, in Pakistan Historical Digest Vol 2, No 4, Lahore, 1995, pp. 21-29 ^ a b "Badshahi Mosque (built 1672–74)". Asian Historical Architecture website. Retrieved 1 January 2021. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Badshahi Mosque, Lahore – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". UNESCO.org website. Retrieved 1 January 2021. ^ "Badshahi Mosque Re-flooring". Archpresspk.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014. ^ "Badshahi Mosque". Atlas Obscura website. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
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Romero Maia - CC BY-SA 4.0
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