The Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the largest masjid in India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 at a cost of 1 million rupees, and was inaugurated by an imam from Bukhara, present-day Uzbekistan. The masjid was completed in 1656 AD. The architectural plan is similar to that of Badshahi Masjid, built by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb at Lahore, Pakistan.
The masjid has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The northern gate has 39 steps and the southern side has 33 steps. The eastern gate was the rural entrance and it has 35 steps. Out of all these gateways, the eastern one, which was used by the emperors, remains closed during weekdays.The masjid is built on a red sandstone porch, which is about 30 feet (9.1 m) from ground level and spreads over 1200 square metre. The dome is flanked by two lofty minarets which are 130 feet (40 m) high and consists of 130 steps, longitudinally striped by marble and red sandstone. The minarets consists of five storeys, each with a protruding balcony. The adjoining edifices are filled with calligraphy. The first three storeys of the minarets is made of red sandstone, the fourth of marble and the fifth of sandstone.
The courtyard can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and occupies 408 square feet. The masjid is about 261 feet (80 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide. The prayer hall measures 61 metre in length and 27.5 metre in breadth. It is made up of high cusped arches and marble domes. The cabinet located in the north gate has a collection of relics of Muhammad – the Quran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprints implanted in a marble block.
The floor plan of the masjid is similar to that of the Jama Masjid of Agra. It is covered with white and black ornamented marble to look like a Muslim prayer mat. Beside it, a thin black border measuring 3 feet (0.91 m) long and 1.5 feet (0.46 m) wide is marked for the worshippers. There are 899 total such boxes. The architecture and plan of Badshahi Masjid which was built by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb in Lahore is closely related to that of the masjid. Before the Revolt of 1857, there was a madrasa near the southern end of the masjid, which was during the revolt destroyed.