Delhi’s arguably most beautiful mosque lies inside the touristy Qutub Minar complex in the south of the city. With its three onion-shaped domes, the Mughal Masjid is small; its two minarets look frail and it faces a little walled garden. Built during the late Mughal times, in the mid-19th century, when the suburb of Mehrauli was a favoured summer refuge of the Mughals, the ruined beauty lies in its sparseness.
The walls are devoid of any carving or sculpture. Not even a bit of marble; just rubble masonry. The decorative work on the entrance arches is hidden behind coats of paint. The original gateway on the south is closed and the entrance is through an opening in the east wall.
Against the glorious tower of Qutub Minar, the mosque goes largely unnoticed. Solitude just adds to its character. The stone courtyard smells leafy with the fragrance of
pomegranate, guava and gular trees. The cracks on the weathered structure
give the impression of Quranic inscriptions.
The white-walled prayer chamber remains absolutely quiet, in contrast to the heavy tourist traffic outside. The sole window opens into the lane, where tourists walk their way to the Qutub Minar. Those who spot the mosque are plain lucky.
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