Travel Secret #385 By Siddharth Birla
An evening spent at Jama Masjid is always special, for it’s full of sensory delights. Shah Jahan’s final architectural opus, the grand mosque provides a calm respite from Old Delhi’s mayhem. The red sandstone and marble walls are eye-soothing, while the loud crack of azaan is bound to give you goosebumps.
My last visit to the mosque was during Ramadan – a month of fasting observed by Muslims, to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. The visit was hosted by India City Walks, a venture that curates delightful heritage and festival experiences.
I had visited Jama Masjid a couple of times earlier, but I have to admit, the festivities of Ramadan gave it a different mood. The place was buzzing with devotees, who swarmed the place with their families for evening prayers. The workers were busy trying to make proper arrangements for iftar.
While nothing trumps actually being there, I have still tried to capture the essence of the place through my camera. And if this doesn’t get you to Jama Masjid during the next Ramadan, nothing will.
A devotee in the mosque’s corridor, immersed in the verses of the holy Quran.
Everything Shah Jahan’s lays his hands on, oozes opulence. Here’s a beautiful chandelier from the inner corridor.
Devotees patiently wait for sunset before they can proceed to break their fast.
The volunteers ensure no one goes away hungry. The arrangements for iftar are excellent.
India City Walks made a special arrangement for iftar, on the terrace of Jama Masjid.
The beautiful dome of Jama Masjid, a trademark of Mughal architecture.
The photographer couldn’t ask for a better setting.
Food for thought. Or thought for food?
Anything for that perfect shot…
The long wait. Families indulge in chit-chat to pass the time as the clock winds down.
They’re not the only ones waiting though.
A typical iftar snack – fruits and fried accompaniments. It is believed that the Holy Prophet used to break his fast with ripe dates before praying. This has now turned into a Ramadan tradition.
It ofcourse has scientific benefits as well. The high level of natural sugar in dates quickly convert into energy, something the devotees are in dire need of, after a daylong of fast.
As sunset draws near, a volunteer readies himself on the terrace with a green flag. At the set time he waves the flag outside. Another volunteers picks up the signal and fires up a loud cracker.
Within seconds, the azaan cracks from the loudspeaker signalling the time to break the fast…
… and Jama Masjid lights up like a bride.
The devotees swarm the corridor to offer the evening prayers.
Post the prayers, the crowd turns to Matia Mahal, a street right opposite to the Jama Masjid. The street is a foodie haven, serving everything from succulent kebabs to the heavenly shahi tudka.
About India City Walks
A brainchild of Sachin Bansal, India City Walks is a national award winning brand that curates mesmerising & localised India experience. Delve in the city cuisines, aromas, fabrics, landscape, architecture, and language with their perfectly planned itineraries.