The busyness and chaos of Chawari Bazaar is at the foot of the mosque. You might be surprised to know that today there are more Muslim people living in India than in Pakistan because of the astounding numbers of the population.
The Muslims often wear a skull cap and a beard. The people who live in India are all Indians and the differences are religious. The Hindus, Muslims, and Christian are hard to distinguish without the clues of religious clothing. Sikhs are often very large men and wear a turban on their heads, but some Hindus wear turbans as well. Traditionally, Muslims live in the neighborhood of their mosque and Hindus live near their temples.
See from the image that in Delhi, the capital city of India, the rickshaws are powered by very thin Indian men on a bicycle. (Ahmedabad had motorized rickshaws.) We were quite far from the mosque when we started and hired one. After a few blocks , the man was sweating profusely with the exertion it took to pull two well fed Americans. We both felt terrible and as soon as we were in sight of the stite, we told him to let us out. He thanked us and was rewarded with a generous tip. It was a very hard living to be had on the streets of Delhi.
I have written about the steps in India before and I love the presence of them for a grand entry, resting place, and visiting place. These were very steep and lead us high above the crowded streets to the entry. We had to remove our shoes as in Hindu temples and the boys who had on shorts had to pay for a length of cloth to wrap around their waist to cover their legs. This was a first for them, but we always tried to be respectful and it was not a request but a command to follow to enter the courtyard of the Jama Majid.
I have said before that I really like the Mogul architecture of the mosques with the elegant simplicity and beautiful tiles and marble construction. The decorations are all geometric shapes, with no animals or human figures. This is by command of Muhammad to have no graven images, just like people of the Jewish faith. This courtyard holds 25,000 worshipers. It was built in 6 years from 1650-1656. The peacefulness and total blocking of noise from the street amazed us.
The required cleansing tank is mandatory for the prayers. Women were allowed in this mosque though, not in some of them. The men and women pray in separate spaces. We always tried to be respectful visitors with covered heads and no disruptive talking.
Through the grate, the tomb of the ruling mogul who built this mosques is marked with the large dome. You can see ,as well, the modern sprawl of Delhi. One detail is the fact that this Mosque has a relic which we had not heard before. We did not see it but there is an ancient copy of the Qu’ran written on a deer skin.
The Mosque and courtyard are a respite for prayer, reflection, rest, meeting, and quiet for followers and tourists alike.
This Is Incredible India! T I I I !
Images from Google , Public Domain