Badshahi Mosque or the ‘Royal Mosque’in Lahore,was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671. The Mosque was completed in 1673. It is the second largest Mosque in Pakistan and South Asia.It is the fifth largest in the world. It epitomizes the beauty,passion and grandeur of the Mughal era. It is Lahore’s most famous landmark and a major tourist attraction.
It can accommodate five thousand worshippers in its main prayer hall and another ninety-five thousand in its courtyard and porticoes.It was the largest mosque in the world from 1673-1986 until the completion of the Faisal mosque in Islamabad.It still is the second largest in Pakistan and South Asia.
To appreciate its large size,the four minarets of the mosque 13.9 ft. taller than those of the Taj Mahal.The courtyard of the Badshahi mosque is the largest in the world.
The architecture and design of the mosque closely resembles the smaller Jami mosque in Delhi, India.The Jami Mosque was built by Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan in 1648.
There was a considerable amount of damage under the Sikh rule.The huge courtyard was used as stable for his horses.The small study rooms were used as quarters for his soldiers. Ranjit Singh used the enclosed garden as his official Royal court of audience.
Mosque under the British rule it continued to be used as a military garrison.The British however sensed the resentment of the Muslims.They set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority in 1852 to oversee the restoration and return the mosque to the Muslims as a place for religious worship. Extensive repairs began from 1939 onwards.
In 1993 the government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of Badshahi Mosque as a World Heritage Site in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The Badshahi Mosque has architecturally influenced the design of the following mosques: Sheikh Zayed Mosque,Abu Dhabi UAE; Sir Syed Masjid,Aligarh,India, Taj-ul-Masajid, Bhopal, India.
I was fortunate enough to see this mosque. It is worth seeing!