Badshahi Mosque Lahore - A Visual Treat


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In an effort to mirror the character of its founder, architects designed the mosque to exude boldness, vastness and majesty. The mosque had been largest in the world at the time of its building. The interior has rich embellishment in stucco tracery (Manbatkari) and panelling with a fresco touch, all in bold relief, as well as marble inlay. Stone carving, as well as marble inlay on red sandstone, specially of loti form motifs in bold relief, decorates the exterior. Embellishments on the mosque display Indo-Greek, Central Asian and Indian architectural influence in technique and motifs.

Beautiful ornamental merlons, inlaid with marble lining, add grace to the perimeter of the mosque and beautify the skyline. In various architectural features, such as the vast square courtyard, the side aisles (dalans), the four corner minars, the projecting central transept of the prayer chamber, and the grand entrance gate, the history of development of mosque architecture of the Muslim world over the thousand years prior to its construction in 1673 culminates.

The north enclosure wall of the mosque had been laid close to the Ravi River bank, denying the building of a majestic gateway on that side. To ensure the symmetry of the gate, no majestic gate could be built on the south side, too. Thus a four aiwan plan, like the earlier Delhi Jamia Masjid, had to be abandoned. The walls had been built with small kiln-burnt bricks laid in kankar, lime mortar (a kind of hydraulic lime) but have a veneer of red sandstone. The steps leading to the prayer chamber and its plinth have been constructed with variegated marble. The prayer chamber, exceptionally deep, divides into seven compartments by rich engraved arches carried on enormously heavy piers. Out of the seven compartments, three double domes finished in marble have artistically superb curvature, while the rest have curvilinear domes with a central rib in their interior and flat roof above. In the eastern front aisle, the ceiling of the compartment runs flat (Qalamdani) with a curved border (ghalatan) at the cornice level.

The original floor of the courtyard had been laid with small kiln-burnt bricks set in the Mussalah pattern. The present red sandstone flooring had been laid during the last extensive repairs from 1939 to 1960). Similarly, the original floor of the prayer chamber had been constructed using cut and dressed bricks with marble and Sang-i-Abri lining, forming Mussalah. During the most recent repairs, they had been replaced by marble Mussalah.
Lahore < Lahore District < Punjab < Pakistan

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