Junagadh, Gujarat is an old city whose inhabitants were under the Indo-Greek kingdom centuries ago and lies 355 km from Ahmedabad. It is home to innumerable historical Muslim as well as Hindu monuments Among the Muslim heritage buildings, the magnificent Jama Masjid, commonly called Friday mosque is a remarkable place of worship. Standing just west of Manek Chowk, it was built in 1423 by the Ahmedabad's founder Ahmed Shah I. It is in the middle of urban madness, surrounded by hustle and bustle of hectic city life, but when you step in, the calm and quiet ambiance, occasionally broken by the chirping of birds, perching on the columns has a spell on you.
Built in Indo-Saracenic architecture, the monument is the most recognized structure of Junagadh city. The mosque has an open courtyard, floored with white marble and has a tank for ritual ablutions. Structure and arcades of the mosques are built of yellow sandstones and carved with intricate details. They are painted with giant attractive Arabic calligraphy. It is quite interesting that the main prayer hall has 260 columns that support the roof with 15 domes. One can not escape from the beautiful maze of light and shadows falling on the hall as one walks through inside the mosque. The domes of the mosques are carved like a lotus flower, very much to those of Jain temples.
In the 1819 devastating earthquake, though the two minarets on either side of the arched entrance collapsed, the bottom parts surprisingly remain unaffected.The other features worthy of mention are the bell-like carving hanging on a chain, similar to the ones in the Hindu temples and the carving of OM symbol in the interior part of on one of the windows.
One should visit Jama Masjid when on a trip to Junagadh as it is a good example of old, impressive Islamic architecture and one can not leave this place without appreciating the imagination of the designer, the highly skilled craftsmen, artisans and other workers of yore who translated the dream into reality.Women are not allowed inside the prayer hall
Archaeology department attached to the state and central governments should allocate funds for dying heritage structures to repair and restore them back to its glory so that our posterity will be benefited. Several centuries of historical foot prints should not be lost due to sheer negligence and lack of appreciation.
This Jama Masjid in this historical city of Nawobs deserves major repair work and restoration.