The third largest mosque inside the Walled City of Delhi is a lesser known mosque made by Shah Jahan in the memory of his lesser known wife Fatehpuri Begum.
This is a red sandstone structure without any tall minarets or huge domes. Even though the central dome of this mosque looks like of marble, which is actually of lime mortar.
Fatehpuri Masjid history is filled with pathos. After the 1857 revolt at Delhi by British Indian Army, this mosque was first damaged by the Britishers and than sold to a Hindu merchant and was returned to the faithfuls.
The Fatehpuri mosque facing the Mughal power, the Red Fort, is a mute witness to the unfolding drama of history right from the period of the Mughal empire and British rule till date. Fatehpuri Masjid was built in the year 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum who was one of Shah Jahan’s wives. The mosque is built with red sandstone on a large scale and is crowned by a single dome.
This mosque is an example of the magnificence of Mughal architecture flanked by towering minarets, the mosque has a traditional design with the prayer hall having seven arched openings; and amongst the seven, the central arch remains the highest.
The masjid has three gates; one is in front of the Red Fort at Chandni Chowk, and the other two are in the North and South directions. Khari Baoli is in the North end and Katra Baryan in the South. The central courtyard is laid with red stones. One can find a very large tank in the courtyard of the mosque which is made of marble. The tank is used for ablution. The platform inside the mosque is built of marble and has four steps. There are rows of red stone pillars, which stand on both sided of the mosque. In the courtyard, there are more than 20 graves of Islamic scholars. The mosque has single and double-storeyed apartments on the sides.
The History Of The Mosque According to history, the mosque was home to the Indian troops in Delhi during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. It is also believed that during the Sepoy Mutiny, the British sold some parts of the mosque to a Hindu merchant, Lala Channa Mal. Later on, the mosque came back to the Muslims in the year 1877. During the Mughal days, the mosque housed some beautiful fountains and a huge central tank but were destroyed by the British troops after the 1857 mutiny. In 1873, the government wanted to buy back the mosque from Lala Chhanna Mal for Rs 1,20,000 to return it back to the Muslims, but Lala did not agree. However, in 1876, when the then British Queen visited India, who also held her court in Delhi, she ordered the mosque to be returned back to the Muslims.
The main mosque is built on a three-and-a-half feet high platform. There are strips of white marble on the main arch and on the domes of the mosque. The main dome is mammoth in structure and it has been plastered in such a way that from a distance, it would resemble a marble dome, but is actually built by lime mortar. The mosque has two minarets, each of which is 80 ft high, which are also built using lime mortar. The mosque has a traditional design with the pillared prayer hall made up of multi-lobed arcades and columns.