Jama Mashjid is the oldest mosque of the city of Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is popularly known as the Friday Mosque. The mosque is too very much crowded on Fridays. Fridays hold great importance in Islam. It is the Namaz day for the Muslim Community. People of all faiths are welcome in here. A peaceful aura surrounds this place. In addition to this a very rich historical background surrounds this structure. One must visit this mosque when in Mumbai.
Historical Background of Jama Mashjid
The original structure of the mosque was destroyed at the commands of the Governor. But after facing much hurdles and issues the construction of Jama Mashjid was completed in the year 1802.
This structure had seen the cruelty was the past centuries. The present structure is not the original one. According to Urdu accounts that the original Jama Mashjid was situated near Dongri but was later erected at Esplanade. Then in the year 1770, this structure was again demolished at the orders of the then Governor William Hornby. At this very point this Mashjid was moved to a place known as Crawford.
Then in the year 1775, a Konhani merchant agreed to erect this mosque. He owned expansive gardens, open lands and a huge water tank. This has served as the site of the mosque. But the merchant had placed one condition that the water tank must be left untouched. Then eventually the construction started and the foundation of the structure was laid with great pomp and show. But little did they know that this was not the fate of the mosque and there were many more hard times ahead. Objections arouse with the construction of the mosque. The led to a delay in the plan of making the mosque till 1778 and this was followed by more disputes related to construction of illegal properties.
Then the construction of Jama Mashjid and this beautiful piece of architecture was completed in the year 1802. Then in the year 1814 an extra element was added on to the structure by the philanthropy of a Konkani merchant named Mohammad Ali Roghay.
Architecture of Jama Mashjid
The main building of the mosque is rectangular in structure. It is made out of bricks and stone. The entire mosque is encircled by a ring of terrace as well as double storeyed building. The mosque is painted in white and reverberates peace and serenity in its surroundings.
When one enters the Jama Mashjid, one is led to an open courtyard. This courtyard has steps and embankments. The courtyard is a part of the old tank. One can find a total of 16 black stone pillars that emerge from the tank and support the entire structure of the mosque. The upper storey which was added later on is supported by five rows of wooden pillars. Each pillar has a receptacle meant for storing ancient religious books.
The tank housed in here is a beautiful sight. It can hold ten feet of water and is fed by springs at the bottom. Fishes in gold and silver as well as turtles can be spotted in the tank. In addition to this the tank is use for ceremonial practices. One such practice is known as ‘Wudu’ in which certain parts of the body is washed using the water of this very tank.
There is a Madarsa house din the premises of the mosque too. It aims at providing free education to Muslim youths on religious texts. It has a hostel attached to it to.
In April 2015, a library was established in the mosque. Presently it’s completely digitalized. In additions to books, this library also houses rare manuscripts.
What to do when at Jama Mashjid
Jama Mashjid reverberates peace and tranquility. Seekers of quiet must visit this place. The very architecture of this mosque makes one want to become one with the almighty. The divine aura of this place is enticing.
A Tourist’s Guide
Jama Mashjid is open on all days of the week from 5 am to 9 pm. One can reach this place by public transport including bus, cab and auto. The nearest railway station from here is Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal. The nearest airport from here is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. One can easily find accommodation in the city of Mumbai both online and offline. A visit to this place will definitely be an endearing experience.