Mubarak Begum Mosque-The Story of Mubarak Begum’s Love and Legacy

The Mubarak Begum Mosque, also known as Randi ki Masjid (Prostitute’s Mosque), is a significant 19th-century red sandstone mosque from the Mughal Empire era. Situated in Hauz Qazi, Shahjahanabad, Delhi, near the Chawri Bazaar metro station in India, it holds historical and cultural significance. The mosque is often referred to as a courtesan’s (tawaif’s) mosque, reflecting its association with the vibrant social fabric of the Mughal period.

Mubarak Begum Mosque-The Story of Mubarak Begum's Love and Legacy

On the Old Delhi heritage walk, where every step whispers tales of bygone eras and cultural richness. Discover the majestic Mubarak Begum Mosque, a jewel in the crown of historical landmarks, as you traverse the ancient lanes and vibrant bazaars of Shahjahanabad. Let the echoes of history guide your journey, revealing the timeless charm of Delhi’s heritage.

Mubaraka Begum Mosque: Architecture

The Mubarak Begum Mosque stands as a testament to exquisite Mughal architecture, crafted from red sandstone and lakhori bricks in a two-storey structure. Its upper floor houses a prayer chamber with three domed compartments, each adorned with red and white stripes, reflecting the mosque’s grandeur. Beneath these majestic domes lie three arched entrances, inviting worshippers into a realm of spiritual serenity.

Mubarak Begum Mosque-The Story of Mubarak Begum's Love and Legacy

This architectural marvel, last restored in 2016, bears the unique distinction of being created by an Indian ‘begum’ associated with a British Resident. Its meticulously crafted domes and minarets are adorned with intricate white lines and floral carvings, adding to its allure and splendor. The chronogram inscribed within the mosque’s design dates back to AH 1238, equivalent to 1822–23 AD, marking its historical significance. Measuring 29 feet north and 14 feet east and west, the mosque’s red sandstone structure exudes a timeless charm. Its lower storey, housing shops, adds a dynamic aspect to its architectural composition, blending commerce with spirituality in a harmonious blend.

Above the central arch, a white marble tablet proudly proclaims, “Mubarak Begum built this mosque, which is superior to the arched sky. Its dignity is not less than that of Jerusalem; call this a second Jerusalem.” This inscription encapsulates the reverence and admiration for the mosque’s grandeur, elevating it to a symbol of spiritual magnificence akin to the holy city of Jerusalem.

Mubarak Begum Mosque: Story of Mubarak Begum

In the vibrant city of Pune, nestled amidst the splendor of Maharashtra, I, Mubarak Begum, took my first breaths. Born into a family of Chitpavan Brahmin with comfort and privilege, little did I know that destiny had a different path carved out for me.

Mubarak Begum Mosque-The Story of Mubarak Begum's Love and Legacy

At a tender age 8 years, I was torn from the embrace of my home, abducted by forces beyond my control. Sold into a world where shadows danced with desire and secrets whispered in every corner, I found myself learning the art of seduction, of dance and music that enchanted even the coldest hearts.

A highly skilled dancer, I was termed as randi in accordance with the hierarchy that operated in those times of Bazaar-e-Husn as a lane dedicated to entertainment. This lane was hierarchically divided, evident through the size and type of accommodations. Small littel rooms or kotharis were for prostitutes known as bednis. Above them came the dominis, who were low skilled dancers well-versed in poetry, singing, and conversation.”and offered sensual performances to soldiers and middle-ranking officers. Those days skilled masters of Kathak dance were called tawaifs and lived in the kothas. Kothas were big apartments and hosted gatherings of the city’s elite, nawabs, and aficionados.

As the veils of innocence fell away, I emerged not just as Mubarak Begum, but as a courtesan in the illustrious Mughal court. Here, every step I took was a dance of intrigue, every note I sang a melody of whispered promises. In the midst of opulence and opium-laden dreams, I learned to navigate the delicate threads of power and passion.

It was in this tumultuous world that I caught the eye of a British officer, David Ochterlony. Our connection was more than mere physicality; it was a symphony of souls entwined in a dance of forbidden love. He saw not just a courtesan but a woman of substance, a muse whose every movement spoke volumes of untold stories.

Our love bloomed amidst the fragrant blossoms of Mubarak Bagh, a garden named in honor of our devotion. Though time may have erased the physical traces of our love, the echoes of our passion still resonate in the whispers of history, a testament to a love that defied conventions and soared beyond boundaries. During Ochterlony’s lifetime, I watched as the domes of the mosque reached towards the heavens, a symbol of my unwavering faith and the legacy I sought to leave behind. But my endeavors did not end there; I also had a house known as Mubarak Begum ki Manzil, a place where poetry and passion intertwined in the legendary Dilli ka Aakhiri Mushaira.

My journey from Pune’s cradle to the Mughal court’s embrace was not just a tale of trials and tribulations but a saga of resilience, of finding strength in the face of adversity, and of discovering the depths of love that transcend the boundaries of time and space.

My journey from Pune’s shores to the heart of Delhi’s splendor was not just a tale of love but a saga of strength, a testament to the indomitable spirit of Mubarak Begum—a courtesan, a confidante, and a queen of hearts in a world where passions burned bright and destinies were written in the stars.

Nearby: Jama Masjid Grandeur of the Mughal Dynasty

Mubarak Begum Mosque: Embracing Honor

Today is a day of overwhelming joy as the mosque is finally addressed by its rightful name, Mubarak Begum ki Masjid. as once known as Randi ki Masjid. Tears of happiness stream down my cheeks as I bask in the honor and fulfillment of receiving my due recognition. My beloved Manzil transformed into a police station, a reminder of the ever-changing tides of destiny.


Harry is an outstanding Delhi tour guide! Our experience with Harry was nothing short of fantastic. Not only did we have a blast, but we also gained a wealth of knowledge about Delhi. Harry's passion for the city and its history is contagious. He made every moment enjoyable, and his insights into the local culture and history were enlightening. We laughed, we learned, and we explored the hidden gems of Delhi together. Harry's personalized tour exceeded our expectations, and we left with unforgettable memories. If you're looking for a guide who can make your Delhi tour both fun and educational, Harry is the perfect choice! Thank you, Harry, for a remarkable experience.
View All Articles