Delhiwale: A classic neighbourhood ruin of domes, turrets and staircases | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Delhiwale: A classic neighbourhood ruin of domes, turrets and staircases

The centuries-old Moth Ki Masjid is uniquely welded to its present. It has absorbed the life of the neighbourhood village while giving it its name

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2017 15:50 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
The masjid shares architectural characteristics with prominent historical mosques in Delhi such as Quila-e-Kohna in Purana Quila and Jamali-Kamali in Mehrauli.
The masjid shares architectural characteristics with prominent historical mosques in Delhi such as Quila-e-Kohna in Purana Quila and Jamali-Kamali in Mehrauli.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

It was built as a mosque but we have never seen prayers being offered here. Even so, Moth ki Masjid is full of life.

The stone mosque takes its name from moth (beans), after a harvest big enough to finance its construction. Commissioned by Miyan Bhoiya, a minister in the court of Sikandar Lodi (1488-1517), the masjid has domes, turrets, and staircases. The gateway is carved with Arabic inscriptions and ornamental outlines. The domed chattris still possess a few original blue tiles. The courtyard is shaded with leafy trees.

The masjid shares architectural characteristics with prominent historical mosques in Delhi such as Quila-e-Kohna in Purana Quila and Jamali-Kamali in Mehrauli. However, its most defining feature is firmly fixed to the present — the ruin has absorbed the life of its neighbourhood, a village called… well, Masjid Moth.

Boys play cricket in the mosque’s courtyard. Girls walk on the terrace. Arched openings look over parks and power cables. The surrounding houses appear to be a composition of water tanks and dish antennas. Hindi film songs stream out of their grilled windows.

You might spot an elderly man staring at you from one door, and a woman from another. Cars and carts are parked on one side of the masjid. Parts of the mosque are reflected into the glass panels of a commercial building.

As the evening sky darkens, the young cricketers leave the courtyard, and the mosque loses its vitality. The morning after, it returns to life.