Much has changed in Delhi since 1911. But a few things have retained their old forms. Jama Masjid, circa 1656, is one of them. Built on a hill by Shahjahan, the mosque’s three domes look over to a city that has changed its face over the march of centuries. A hundred years ago, the view of the city from its minarets was very different from what it is now.
But we still insist you to take a look. The more-than-100-feet-tall southern minaret, closest to the mosque’s Gate 1, is open to people. Beware, the steps are steep and the stairs dark, but the sight from the top is breathtaking.
A panoramic 360-degree view exposes Delhi in all its splendour and ugliness. Red Fort ramparts, a little distance away, shimmer through a mist of factory fumes while ugly buildings fill up the remaining canvass.
The immediate scenes are more striking — the serenity of the masjid courtyard on one side and the teeming commerce of Urdu Bazaar on the other. The red sandstone of the mosque contrasts the concrete shacks of Meena Bazaar.