Wazir Khan Masjid

The Wazir Khan masjid in Lahore, Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as 'a mole on the cheek of Lahore'.

It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and a governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan, a popular title bestowed upon him (the word Wazir means 'minister' in Urdu and Persian). The masjid is inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate. The masjid contains some of the finest examples of Qashani tile work from the Mughal period.Wazir Khan was the governor of the Punjab province in Mughal times and was also one of the Mughal court physicians. He built many buildings in the city of Lahore. The masjid was built in 1635 to enclose the tomb of Miran Badshah (a Sufi saint) and currently, his tomb lies in the courtyard of the masjid.

The masjid replaced the masjid of Mariyam Zamani Begum as the city's Jama Masjid (Friday masjid). Khan alloted the various shops as well as the houses on the sides of the streets adjacent to the masjid as waqf to the masjid. The income of the waqf along with the money raised from the sarais and baths nearby were used to built the masjid. Historian Stephen Alter writes that the "masjid itself is virtually impossible to see from outside" due to the various buildings surrounding the masjid. A Pakistani Lollywood movie "Khuda Ke Liye (For God Sake)" was shot in the masjid. The movie portrays themes of religion, religious perceptions and religious hypocrisy in Islamic Pakistani society.The masjid covers an area of 279 feet (85 m) x 159 feet (48 m). It has a single aisle and five bays. The masjid stands on an elevated plinth and is entered through a gate in the eastern side of the complex which has a octagonal interior chamber.

The prayer chamber of it is modelled on that of the masjid of Mariyam Zamani Begum which is located in the same city. High arched galleries surrounds its central brick paved courtyard - a typical feature of Iranian four aiwan masjid. It is also flanked on its four sides by 32 hijras (guestrooms). There are four minarets of the masjid, each located in one corner of the courtyard. The masjid is constructed of bricks which are laid in kankad lime. It is adorned with fresco paintings and tile decoration. The decoration also reflects the regional style, a concept which is uncommon in masjids of Mughal capitals. The details in the masjid's minarets and kiosks as well as the engraved patterns of honeycomb on the ceiling is similar to that of Alhambra. It is the first one in Lahore in which minarets were built - as previous ones did not have it. The masjid is decorated in Punjab's kasha kari works which is not seen in the Jama Masjids of Delhi and Agra.

The work is named so because of the tiles were imported from kasha, a city in Persia. This work was first used in Mughal buildings first time under Shah Jahan's reign at this masjid. The colours used in this work are lajvard (cobalt), firozi (corulean blue), green, orange, yellow,purple. The domes of the masjid are built in the Lodi style. The walls are divided into compartments "for the reception of glazed pattern". The walls also contain calligraphy in Arabic and Persian languages. Besides pottery decoration is also done on the walls. The grills of the masjid are made up of terracotta. A strange feature of it is that of the incorporation of 22 shops in its ground plan. These shops forming are located on the two sides of a brick paved passage leading to the masjid which exists even now.

Located at: Wazir Khan Masjid, lahore, Pakistan
Wazir Khan Masjid Detail Picture 1
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