Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), Delhi, India

It was ironic that the last mosque we would see, would be our most unfortunate encounter, not because of its architecture – the simple red sandstone facade with contrasting white onion-style domes was quite beautiful, but due to the disappointing etiquette in which we were treated.

Having visited a number of mosques throughout our travels in the middle east and more recently the Silk Road, we had learnt a lot about Islam and always ensured we respected and abided by the general rules and etiquette of a mosque when visiting.

It started when we were charged three-hundred rupees to enter the mosque, masked as a camera charge. This was a first as mosques we had visited had never asked for a financial contribution from visitors. They wouldn’t even let us in if we agreed to not take photographs.

After payment, Sonya was forced to wear a chodor (an open cloak), even though she was modestly dressed there, with long sleeved blouse, ankle length skirt and even a scarf to cover her hair. We were confused seeing so many women wearing short sleeved sleeves and uncovered hair when we stepped inside.

Inside wasn’t much better either, with children and women playing with the water of the ablution pond and people using their mobile phones near the qibla.

Travis on the main steps leading to Jama MasjidThe eastern gate of the mosque was the rural entranceNorthern entrance of the mosque viewed through the southern entrance
Minaret of the Jama Masjid, notice the call to prayer speakersThe bazaar leading up to the eastern entranceBazaars surrounding the Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid (mosque) eastern entrance gateEastern entrance gate, the domes of the mosque can be seen in the backgroundEastern entrance gate of the Jama Masjid
The entrance to the Jama Masjid prayer roomCorner minaret of the Jama MasjidEastern entrances viewed from the inner courtyard of Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid with two onion shaped domesJama Masjid with minaret and dome on either sideView of Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque)
Close up of Jama Masjid onion shaped domesThe ablution pond inside Jama MasjidView of Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque)

Delhi, India – Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort

From Amritsar we caught a final train to our last Indian city Delhi. Whilst we spent a lot of the time buying clothes (four under one-hundred dollars a whole formal outfit including suit, shirt and shoes can be purchased) and souvenirs, we did explore some of the main tourist attractions in Delhi.

Our hostel was in the touristy area of New Delhi, Paharganj; a very short walk from New Delhi train station. The location made it a very comfortable and enjoyable final few days, there was plenty to eat and buy only walking distance from the hostel.

As normal in any new city we visit, first exploration was by foot to nearby Chandni Chowk located in the Old Delhi area. We reached the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), the largest mosque in India. Having now visited a huge number of mosques, we were quite shocked at how poorly it followed Islamic etiquette, so shocked that I thought I would write about it in a separate post.

Around the mosque were huge bazaars selling Islamic clothing, food and general knick-knacks, plus the occasional chicken and goat.

Humayun’s Tomb

A beautiful red sandstone tomb designed by a Persian architect. The tomb was set in a standard Charbagh (literally meaning four gardens) style garden with water dividing the grounds into four separate quadrants, similar to the Taj Mahal.

The main gate leading to the entrance of Humayun's TombThe main gate of Humayun's TombHumayun's Tomb seen from the Western gate
Humayun's Tomb viewed from the Western gateHumayun's Tomb and the Charbagh style gardensStalactite minor arch of Humayun's Tomb
Row of exterior arches of Humayun's TombStairs leading up to the main tombOne of the main exterior arches of Humayun's Tomb
View of the west gate and Charbagh style gardens from Humayun's TombHumayun's TombCarved stone screen typical of Mughal architecture
One of the main exterior arches of Humayun's TombEastern main exterior arch of Humayun's TombView of the Eastern side of Humayun's Tomb
View to the north from Humayun's TombView of the western arch of Humayun's TombView of the north-western corner of Humayun's Tomb

Red Fort

Our final site in Delhi was the Red Fort (or also named Lal Qila), named from the red sandstone used during construction.  The Red Fort had a grand entrance gate and high walls; inside featured the usual traits of Mughal palace complexes.

Delhi Red Fort (Lal Qila) signRed Fort West Lahore GateDog-leg entrance through Lahore Gate
Domed arcade containing shops called the Chatta Chowk (covered bazaar)Diwan-i-Aam of the Red FortMarble Throne and Bungalow in Diwan-I-Am
The splendid Rang Mahal in the Red Fort complexMarble inlay flower found on the columns of the Diwan-i-KhasMarble inlay flower found inside the Diwan-i-Khas in the Red Fort
Diwan-i-Aam with marble inlay of flowersSteps leading to the door of the Moti Masjid (mosque) in the Red FortSouthern small marble pavilion known as Hira-mahal
Zafar Mahal at the Red FortRed Fort Complex mapNaqqar Khana a drum house at the Red Fort
Intricate carved flowers in the red sandstoneThe Naqqar Khana viewed from the westLahori Gate inside the red fort
Western fortification walls of the Red FortPre entry gate leading to Lahori GateThe western entrance of the Red Fort