Seven Delhi Mosques Built by Khan Jahan Junan Shah

Firoz Shah Tughlaq was well known as a prolific patron of architectural projects, but it seems like his wazir (prime minister) Khan Jahan Junan Shah was the same, credited with commissioning seven major mosques in various parts of Delhi in the second half of the 14th c. According to Lucy Peck in her book “Delhi: A Thousand Years of Building”, four of these mosques are known and extant, and there is speculation about the other three.

 

The four known mosques are (along with their year of construction and locations when they were built):

Khirki Masjid (late-14th cAD, within the walls of Jahanpanah, the second Tughlaq city after Tughlaqabad)

Kali or Kalan Masjid (1370 AD, Kotla Nizamuddin)

Kalan Masjid (1387 AD, near the grave site of Shah Turkman, which later came within the walls of the Mughal city of Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi)

Kalu Sarai Mosque (late-14th c, Jahanpanah)

 

Peck lists out three other mosques that are speculated to be built by Khan Jahan Junan Shah, but there are various levels of uncertainty about the veracity of their inclusion in the list of seven. At Kalan Masjid in the Turkman Gate area of Old Delhi, there is a signboard that also lists seven mosques. Apart from the four mentioned above, the list differs from Peck’s by one name, and so the list of “possible” mosques below which includes both Peck and the signboard’s candidates consists of four names:

Chausath Khamba (1370s, within or near Firozabad, the “city” built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq near his Kotla)

Begampur Masjid (mid-14th c AD, Jahanpanah)

Mosque in Firoz Shah Kotla (1354 AD, Firoz Shah Kotla)

Mosque on Qutb Road (late-14th c/15th c, east of Qadam Sharif)

 

Signboard at Kalan Masjid, Turkman Gate with its list of seven mosques (at the bottom of the board)

00 01 mosques

To add my two cents to the speculation, I think that if Junan Shah had built mosques near the dargahs of Nizamuddin Auliya and Shah Turkman, it is possible that he had also built one in Mehrauli near the dargah of Bakhtiyar Kaki and one near Chirag Dilli’s dargah, but that these don’t survive anymore. In any case, I recently completed my visits to the mosques on the lists above (the last of the visits was to Kalan Masjid in the Turkman Gate area of Old Delhi), so thought I’d put photos of them all together in one post.

 

Map indicating the locations of the mosques in the list (click on the map to go the Google Map)

7 mosques map

 

Probables

These are the mosques that were probably or confirmedly built by Junan Shah.

Khirki Masjid

This mosque built sometime in late-14th c AD within the walls of Jahanpanah, now in the village of Khirki, has a lot of similarities with two of the other probable/confirmed mosques on the list, the Kali Masjid in Nizmauddin and Kalan Masjid in the Turkman Gate area of Old Delhi. These similarities include the entrance gateway, the rounded bastions on the outer corners of the mosque, the shape of the interior arches and pillars, and the shape and arrangement of the numerous small domes that roof the covered portions of the mosque. Like the Kali Masjid at Nizamuddin, the inside of this mosque has covered passageways that divide the inside space into four smaller courtyards, instead of the usual single large courtyard and main prayer hall.

Mosque entrance

01 01 khirki

Inner courtyard and arches

01 02 khirki

01 03 khirki

01 04 khirki

01 05 khirki

01 06 khirki

01 07 khirki

Outer wall, fenestration and corner bastion

01 08 khirki

 

Kali (or Kalan) Masjid, Nizamuddin

This mosque built in 1370 AD is very similar to the Khirki Masjid above, though it has been altered to a large extent, and is in use currently.

Entrance

02 01 nizamuddin

Inner courtyards and arches

02 02 nizamuddin

02 03 nizamuddin

02 04 nizamuddin

02 05 nizamuddin

Entrance from the inside

02 06 nizamuddin

Outer walls, corner bastion and current adjacent buildings

02 07 nizamuddin

02 08 nizamuddin

 

Kalan Masjid, Turkman Gate, Old Delhi

This mosque built in 1387 AD was probably located to be in proximity to the grave of Shah Turkman. It is now within the walls of the 17th c Mughal city of Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), and in the 14th c was to the north-west of Firozabad and Firoz Shah Kotla. Unlike the two mosques above, it consists of a single large courtyard. It is also in current use and has been heavily altered.

Entrance

03 01 turkman

03 02 turkman

Interior courtyard, arches and arcades

03 03 turkman

03 04 turkman

03 05 turkman

03 06 turkman

03 07 turkman

Main prayer hall arcade

03 08 turkman

03 09 turkman

Outer wall, corner bastion and current adjacent buildings

03 10 turkman

 

Bastion and current adjacent buildings

03 11 turkman

Kalu Sarai Mosque

This late-14th c AD mosque, also within the walls of Jahanpanah, is in a state of disrepair, with half of the mosque having broken down. The similar domes, arches and eaves brackets are noticeable.

04 01 kalu

04 02 kalu larger

 

Possibles/Improbables

These are the four mosques that either have less of a likelihood to have been built or probably weren’t built by Junan Shah, but are on the lists.

 

Chausath Khamba

This mosque built in the 1370s AD near or within Firozabad could have been built by Junan Shah since it shares some similarities with the mosques above, including the brackets and the overall shape of arches and pillars.

05 01 chausath

05 02 chausath

 

Mosque on Qutb Road

This mosque near Qadam Sharif and to the west of Shahjahanabad, is different in style to the others above. To me, the layout of the mosque and the nearby tomb/gateway resembles much more the later mosque/tomb complexes of Shah Alam and Makhdum Sahib.

Mosque

06 01 qutb road

06 02 qutb road

Tomb/Gateway

06 03 qutb road

 

Begumpur Masjid

Begumpur Masjid was probably the main mosque of Jahanpanah, and built a little before the other mosques, in the mid-14th c AD. It shares some similarities with the other Junan Shah mosques, such as the domes, arches and pillars, arcades and brackets, but the overall feel of the mosque is different, and stylistic differences include the entrance gateways, the iwan around the main arch of the prayer hall facade and inner facade of the east entrance, and the triple arch arrangement within these two main arches. This could have been a precursor to the Junan Shah mosques. For me, Begumpur Masjid is the hidden gem of Delhi’s historical sites, mostly unknown, but beautiful and serene in it’s austerity.

 

Entrance

07 01 begumpur

Courtyard

07 02 begumpur

Iwan around main arch of prayer hall

07 03 begumpur

07 04 begumpur

07 05 begumpur

07 06 begumpur

Inner facade of east entrance

07 07 begumpur

07 08 begumpur

Arcade of the main prayer hall

07 09 begumpur

Outer walls and domes

07 10 begumpur

07 11 begumpur

 

Mosque at Firoz Shah Kotla

Not much remains of the main mosque inside Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s palace complex, but it was built in 1354 AD, a little before the other Junan Shah mosques, and could have been similar to the Begumpur mosque in Jahanapanah.

 

Entrance gateway and courtyard

08 01 firoz kotla

Gateway

08 02 firoz kotla

Courtyard

08 03 firoz kotla

Outer walls

08 04 firoz kotla

08 05 firoz kotla

As an aside, Khan Jahan Junan Shah was the son of Khan Jahan Tilangani, the first wazir of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Tilangani’s tomb is also located in Kotla Nizamuddin, and is the first of six octagonal tombs built in Delhi.

One thought on “Seven Delhi Mosques Built by Khan Jahan Junan Shah

  1. Pingback: Shahjahanabad IX: Sitaram Bazaar Road Area | Sarson ke Khet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s