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JAMI MASJID

JAMI MASJID

THIS GRAND MOSQUE, with three imposing black and white marble domes, and twin minarets framing its great central arch, was built in 1656 by the Emperor Shah Jahan, on a natural mound. It took six years and 5,000 workers to construct, at a cost of nearly a million rupees. A magnificent flight of sandstone steps leads to the great arched entrances. In Aurangzeb’s time, the area attracted horse sellers and jugglers; today, shoe minders and beggars mill around. The huge 28-m (92-ft) square courtyard can accommodate up to 20,000 people at Friday prayer sessions and at Id, when it looks like a sea of worshippers. Next to the dukka (water tank) for the ritual ablutions, is the platform where, before loudspeakers took over, a second prayer leader echoed the imam’s words and actions for worshippers too far from the pulpit for a clear view.

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