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Khirki Masjid

Khirki Masjid

Facts & Figures
Built in 15th century AD
Built by Khan-I-Jahan Junan Shah
Location Delhi

A Unique Mosque
Khirki Masjid, which was built during the time of the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, is a unique structure. The area of the mosque is covered completely by a roof, which is an extraordinary thing as far as building of mosques is concerned. The Khirki Masjid not only reflects the architectural achievement of the Tughlaq dynasty, but it is also a forerunner of later-day magnificent Islamic structures of India.

Indo-islamic Architecture
Khirki Masjid belongs to the Indo-Islamic style of architecture, which took roots in the Indian subcontinent during the time of the Delhi Sultanate (AD 1191-1526). The Indo-Islamic style of architecture is a distinctive blend of Islamic as well as traditional Hindu style of architecture. This amalgamation of exotic and indigenous architectural styles was possible due to a variety of factors. The Muslim rulers had to use, in most cases, Indian artisans and sculptors who were schooled in their own art traditions. Another factor that inadvertently contributed to this fusion of style was that during the early Muslim invasions, mosques were often built out of materials from Hindu and Jain temples and, sometimes, temples themselves were modified into mosques. Though both the Indian and Islamic styles have their own distinctive features, there are some common characteristics, which made fusion and adaptation easy. Both the styles favor ornamentation and buildings of both styles are marked by the presence of an open court encompassed by chambers or colonnades. A number of variations of this style can be seen in the medieval monuments built in different parts of India by different Muslim dynasties.

Khirki Masjid, like all other mosques, was used by devout Muslims to offer prayers. However, its roof is a unique thing, which is unheard of in Islamic mosque architecture. The presence of a number of domes on the roof covering the mosque and the latticework (jali) on the windows are suggestive of the Islamic style of architecture. The pillars and brackets within this structure show local Hindu influence.

Khirki Masjid
During the period of the Delhi Sultanate, Delhi witnessed the development of the Indo-Islamic architecture in all its forms, be it mosques, palaces, forts, etc. The different dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate-the Slave dynasty (AD 1191-1290), the Khilji dynasty (AD 1290-1316), the Tughlaq dynasty (AD 1316-1414), the Sayyid dynasty (AD 1414-1451) and the Lodhi dynasty (AD 1451-1526)-all made contributions in their own distinct way to the architectural repertoire of Delhi.

The masjid or the mosque formed an important part of the Muslim society in medieval India; it not only served the spiritual needs of the devout Muslims but was also a place for public gatherings. Mosques were also built by Muslim rulers of India to show off the power of Islam to the native inhabitants. The Quuwat-ul-Islam Mosque was the first mosque in India built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the founder of the Slave dynasty. This mosque hardly had Islamic elements, as it was made up of the building material from 27 Hindu and Jain temples demolished by the first Muslim rulers of India. It was unique in that it had pillars and various Hindu motifs within it. The later rulers of the Delhi Sultanate built bigger, better mosques, which truly conformed to the Muslim traditions.

The Khirki Masjid is an interesting edifice. It is a small quadrangle-shaped mosque, and the only one of its kind-a mosque, which is closed on top! Mosques usually have an open courtyard where the faithfuls offer their prayers to God. Khirki Masjid has elaborate latticework on its windows (carved stone screens), but compared to the intricate patterns of the later-day Mughal buildings, it is simple. The pillars and brackets in the mosque show a high degree of indigenous influence. The roof of the Khirki Masjid is divided into squares through which sunlight streams in. Most of the squares, however, sport groups of domes on them. The mosque, which is built with rubble masonry covered externally with plaster, has majestic steps leading up to it.

Khirki Masjid was built by Khan-I-Jahan Junan Shah, the prime minister of Ferozshah Tughlaq (AD 1351-1388). The mosque may have served as a private place of worship of Khan-I-Jahan Junan Shah. Ferozshah Tughlaq was himself a great patron of architecture. He built the Ferozshah Kotla, which was the fifth city of Delhi. The remnants of a number of important buildings within the precincts of this fort city speak highly of this great builder. The architectural importance of the Khirki Masjid is immense. It can be seen as a logical link and predecessor to the architecture that followed-the architecture of the Lodhi rulers (the last dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate period) and, later on, the highly ornate Mughal architecture.

How To Reach
Delhi is well connected by air, rail, and road with important centers of India. Travelers can reach Khirki Masjid in many ways. They can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument located in Khirki village, situated in the southern part of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis for the purpose. One can take buses from important bus stations like the interstate bus termini at Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan to reach this monument

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