Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Amazing architecture of Jamali and Kamali mosque, Delhi.

 Jamali kamali Mosque, Delhi/pixels-memories.blogspot.com
In the realm of Muslim architecture, Delhi has a unique place in the world because it has countless monuments steeped in history. For several centuries until the last descendant of the Mogul rulers, Delhi served as the capital of many Muslim dynasties starting from the slave dynasty. Among the Muslim monuments in Delhi  Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb located in the Archaeological Village complex in Mehrauli, is worth a visit. Further, this monument is in a serene quiet environment just away from the noise busy traffic of Delhi city.  
south side  entrance gate to the Jamali kamali Mosque, Delhi. en.wikipedia.org
It is quite interesting to note that over  300 listed buildings of archaeological, architectural and historical significance dot the Mehrauli area with over 100 of these located in the green belt south of the Qutub World Heritage Site. Many more monuments, it is believed,  are still hidden somewhere and yet to be discovered.  The vast site has monuments from practically each period of Delhi’s history. Many of them are quite popular as the historic mosque of Jamali Kamali and the step-well known as Rajon Ki Baoli.
Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb, interior. en.wikipedia. org
This site has two monuments  side by side, one is the mosque and the other being  the tomb of two persons with the names Jamali and Kamali. The name "Jamali" a Urdu word is the derivative of "Jamal" which means "beauty". "Jamali", on the other hand another name ( a sort of alias)  given to Shaikh Fazlu'llah, who was also known as Shaikh Jamali Kamboh or Jalal Khan, a distinguished Sufi saint even before the advent of Mogul rulers. During Lodi's period from the rule of Sikander Lodi to the Mogul Dynasty rule of Babur and Humayun. Jamali was  a well-respected and revered person, whereas  Kamali was an unknown person but was closely associated with  Jamali and  and there are no records about  his  achievements. For the simple reason that these two had close association, upon their death they were buried in the same place adjacent to each other.  Hence their names are  are tagged together as "Jamali Kamali" for the mosque as well as the tomb.  Between 1528-1529, the mosque and the tomb were  built. As for  Jamali, he was buried in the tomb after his death in 1535.
Interior, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Delhitripadvisor.com/
Built in red sandstone with marble embellishments, the Jamali Kamali mosque became a sort of precursor to Mogul Mosque architecture in India. This combination of red sandstone and marble stones was not tried before. This mosque and tomb structure is located in a sprawling garden and has  a southern entry.  The prayer hall, with  a large courtyard in the front, has  five arches with a domed  central arch. The unique feature is the  size of arches increases towards the central arch; the largest being the Central one  nicely embellished with beautiful ornamentation. The spandrels of the arch are decorated with medallions and ornamentation. Fluted pilasters exquisitely decorate the central arch. The prayer wall on the west has decorated niches with mihrab.  A few  decorated Koranic inscriptions can be seen on the niches and mihrab. The two-storied mosque can be accessed  through a porch  and the four corners are adorned with  octagonal towers. The rear end of the mosque has oriel windows, apart from a small window on the central arch.
Jamali kamali mosque and tomb. alamy. com
The square shaped tomb located on the northern side of the mosque  is a well decorated structure, measuring 7.6 m (25 ft) with a flat roof. Inside the  chamber in the inner part has an ornate flat roofing  and is plastered.  Painted in red and blue with some Koranic inscriptions, the walls have  nicely coloured tiles with inscriptions from Jamali's poems. The decorations in the tomb  are done in such a way one gets the feeling that one is "stepping into a jewel box". The embellishments are quite inspiring and it shows the ingenuity of the builder.  Two marble graves are in the Jamali Kamali  mosque - one is that  of Jamali, a saint and poet of great repute and the other is that of  Kamali, Jamali's associate.  The name  Kamali  is tagged with Jamali as the name  rhymes well with Jamali.Introduced to Sufism  by Sheik SamauddinJamali, coming from a Sunni merchant family, took keen interest and became a popular poet as well. Widely travelled across Asia and, in particular, middle east, at last, he settled down as a court poet during Lodi Dynasty rule and continued to enjoy the patronage of the Mogul  rulers, Babur and his son Humayun. His poetry covered Persian mysticism of the times.  "The Sun and Moon" and "The Spiritual Journey of the Mystics" are believed to be his well-known works. It was Humayun's period his tomb was completed.

Way back prior to 2010, the ASI took the conservation work on the monuments before the start of  the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Under the ASI Delhi Circle, there are 172 monuments identified for restoration work.  The central Government released about Rs. 1.5 million (US$30,000)  for the initial restoration work. 

Coming under the category of "non-living heritage structures"  Friday prayers are not allowed in the mosque. However, the fakirs call upon Jinns on every Thursday as the place is  said to be haunted. People  reported  to have been slapped by some  invisible forces and have heard various  strange voices coming from adjoining graves.

It is to be noted that the area of Mehrauli  has been  probably the oldest continuously inhabited area of the city, hence it is rich in old monuments - an architectural  legacy of many centuries, covering various dynasties. Lal Kot, the first fortification of the city of Delhi, was established by the Tomar Rajputs in the Mehrauli area in AD 1060. The Chauhans extended this by adding the fortifications of Qila Rai Pithora, and after them the Il-Bari Turks continued to rule from this location. An interesting fact is this area was not abandoned by many rulers, though they established the capital in other places. Many important buildings  built during successive dynasties - the Khaljis, Tughlaqs, Lodis, Moguls, and the British continue to exist and many of them are fairly in good shape. This area is a haven for tourists when they look for different varieties.