Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masajid-Old Delhi Heritage Walk

The Zeenat-ul-Masajid, also known as the Ghata Masjid or the Cloud Mosque, is a Mughal mosque built in 1707 located in Dariya Ganj Ring Road at Old Delhi, India. This historic mosque, commissioned by Zeenat-un-Nissa, the second daughter of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, is a significant stop on the Old Delhi Heritage Walk. Explore the architectural splendor and historical significance of this iconic structure as you immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Old Delhi.

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masajid-Old Delhi Heritage Walk

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masjid: History Overview

Zeenat-ul Masjid, also known as Ghata Masjid or the Cloud Mosque, was built in 1707 AD by Zinat-ul-Nissa, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb‘s second daughter. Ghata Masjid stands in Daryaganj, echoes the grandeur of Jama Masjid at Chandni Chowk, and its impressive domes and minarets resemble monsoon clouds. Over time, its ownership shifted from Anjuman Muayyed-ul-Islam to Sunni Majlis-E-Awakf. The mosque suffered damage during the 1857 war and was repurposed as an artillery barrack and bakery. Despite these changes, it remains a fascinating part of the Old Delhi Heritage Walk, showcasing Delhi’s diverse history and architectural heritage.

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masjid: Architecture

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masajid-Old Delhi Heritage Walk

The Ghata Masjid or Zeenat-ul-Masajid mosque is built on a raised platform. It has three domes made of marble with red sandstone stripes, and they are topped with upside-down lotus designs. The main entrance of the mosque, called the pishtaq, is decorated with marble and surrounded by slender turrets. On each side of the main entrance, there are three arches supported by pillars. At both ends of the mosque’s front, there are tall minarets with three levels. The mosque’s design is influenced by Shah Jahan‘s Jama Masjid, especially in the height of the entrance and domes, but it also shows features of Aurangzeb-era architecture in the shape of the domes and the style of the entrance arches.

As one ascends the dark staircase, the majestic features of the mosque unfold, evoking the imagery of rain clouds. Adjacent to the city wall, a terrace with 13 rooms once graced the mosque, flanked by arched entrances. Today, part of this space houses the Crescent School. Despite its smaller scale, Ghata Masjid echoes the grandeur of Jama Masjid, adding to the charm of the Old Delhi Heritage Walk.

Ghata Masjid Built By: Begum Zeenat un Nisa

Zeenat-ul-Nisa Begum, born on October 5, 1643, was a Mughal princess, the second daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb and Dilras Banu Begum. She held the title of Padshah Begum, a honor bestowed by her father. Educated in Islam like her sisters, Zinat chose to remain unmarried, dedicating herself to her father’s household and supporting her step-brother, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh, despite conflicts within the family.

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masajid-Old Delhi Heritage Walk

Zeenat-un-Nissa, known for her architectural contributions, built the Zeenat-ul-Masajid in Daryaganj, Delhi. She also constructed fourteen caravanserais and undertook a project to build inns along the highway connecting Awadh with Bengal. These stops were crucial for trade, communication, and travel across the vast network of trade routes throughout the empire. Her efforts earned her praise from her father, Emperor Aurangzeb. Additionally, she had the Zeenat-ul-Masajid-(“Ornament of Mosques”) Ghata Masjid constructed near the Red Fort in Delhi, where she was eventually buried. Legend has it that she used the amount of her dowry from her father to fund the construction of the mosque.

During Aurangzeb’s later years, Princess Zeenat was his close companion and managed his household in the Deccan until his death in 1707. Her tomb, originally built within a mosque’s enclosure, was later relocated and rebuilt as a memorial to her. However, the exact location of her remains remains unknown. Her legacy lives on as a symbol of Mughal history and the royal court’s intricate dynamics.

In the embrace of eternity, the serenity of my resting place is adorned with the benevolent shade of God’s mercy; With hope embraced in righteous closure, Fatima Zeenat-un-Nisa Begum, daughter of the illustrious Badshah Mohiuddin Mohammad Alamgir Ghazi, finds solace.


Guide to Visiting Ghata Masjid: Metro, Entry Fee

Ghata Masjid-Zeenat-ul-Masajid-Old Delhi Heritage Walk

Reaching the Mosque: If you’re coming from Old Delhi, a cab or auto-rickshaw is convenient. The nearest metro stations are Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk, but you’ll need additional transport from there.

Entry Fee: No entry fee is charged for visiting Ghata Masjid, making it accessible to all visitors.

Timings: You can visit the mosque anytime from sunrise to sunset, as there are no fixed opening or closing hours.

Dress Code: While there’s no official dress code, it’s advisable to avoid wearing shorts during your visit to maintain cultural respect.


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