India is the home to the second largest Moslem population in the world and the Moslem community is a vital and important sector of the Indian society. The Moslems have erected many beautiful Islamic historical buildings that many travelers still visit until today as part of their vacations in India.
The Moslems in India has given the best example of coexistence with the non Moslem majority of the Indian population. They have also contributed greatly in the spread of Islam and its teachings.
India has known Islam as early as the beginning of the spread of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and since that date and for more than fifteen centuries they have played a major role in the political, economic, and cultural aspects of the Indian life.
Islam was spread in India, in the beginning of the sixth century AD, through the Arab Moslem tradesmen who used to travel to far regions to promote for their business. These businessmen enjoyed great reputation because of their morals and their fair means of trading. Therefore, Islam which they brought to India was met with respect from all sectors of the Indian community.
The kings and rulers of India have left over many marvelous Islamic constructions including the Jami Mosque of Delhi and the Qutb Minar, one of the highest minarets in the whole world which many tourists visit when they travel to India to view the greatness of Islamic architecture.
Islam has also contributed in presenting new principals and concepts to the Indian community that contributed in the rationing of laws and establishing administrational institutions.
When the Moguls came in power in India, they continued what their ancestors have established and they were able to found one of the strongest empires at the time. They have constructed marvelous buildings that still amaze the travelers coming from all around the world to spend vacations in India.
The constructions of the Moguls include Taj Mahal, the Red Fortress, and the Jami Mosque in Delhi which have competed with other magnificent Indian style buildings. These structures have become among the most popular touristic attractions that travelers visit as part of their India packages.
The mosques in India
India hosts thousands of mosques that have played a major role in the spread of Islam in India and in the whole region. These amazing constructions have attracted many students from all around Asia to come and study human sciences and Arabic language.
When the Moslems took control of the Northern section of India at the end of the 12th century, India was witnessing a sublime style of architecture. The Moslems have learned the architectural arts from the peoples of Egypt, Persia, and Turkey. However, there were little similarities between the architecture of these regions and the building style spread in India at the time.
This is because the mosques in these regions consisted mainly of large buildings occupying a wide space of land divided into many halls and large chambers in many cases. On the other hand, the Indian architecture was more supplicated with many ornaments, symbolizations, and human decorations.
Due to the perfect communication of the Moslems at this ancient time, an amazing mixture between these two types of architectural arts was created. Large superb mosques and Islamic establishments were built in many sections of India to act as a solid evident on the Islamic heritage in India. The mosques of India are usually included in most tours to India.
The first mosque to be constructed in India was built in the year 701 in Kadnglor, the old capital of the state of Kerala located on the Western shores of India. Historians stated that the Prophet Mohamed has sent a message to the king of Kerala in 628 and that the king traveled to Mecca to meet the Prophet.
Afterwards, a group of Moslems traveled to Kerala to spread the teachings and concepts of Islam and they settled in Kadnglor in the beginning and they traveled all over the Indian provinces and districts to make more and more people know about Islam. This group of Moslems has also founded some mosques and Islamic establishments in India.
The group of Moslems who visited Kerala has constructed around 11 mosques in all the regions of the state at the time. Many of these mosques are still finely preserved until today and many tourists visit them in their custom tours to India.
The first mosques constructed in India
The first mosque that was ever constructed in India was built in Kadnglor and it is now known with the name the mosque of Cheraman Juma Masjid and it was constructed in 629. Prayers are still carried out in this mosque until today and it has become one of the popular destinations for tourists and scholars as well.
The first mosque to be constructed in Delhi was the complex of Qutb which is nowadays holding the Qutb Minar, one of the oldest and highest minarets in the whole world that was added to the list of Human Heritage list of the UNESCO, the fact that attract thousands of tourists to explore it as part of their holidays in India.
This mosque was built between 1191 and 1196 and it was constructed according to the relatively new architectural design known as Indo Islamic style.
The mosque consists of a square shaped building that includes a large prayer hall in its Western section. Some renovations have been implemented in the mosque afterwards during the reign of King Iltutmish in 1230.
Nothing remains of the Qutb complex today, other than the minaret, but the main structure, some columns, and walls that have magnificent decorations and ornaments. Many India tours include a visit to the Qutb Minar.
In the year 1310, another large mosque was erected near the mausoleum of Nezam El Deen, the well-known Islamic preacher who lived in the 13th century in India. This mosque was considered to be the first true mosque in India meeting all the requirements of Islamic architecture at the time. The mosque consisted of three chambers with high built domes, a Minbar, and an ornamented Mihrab.
Another remarkable mosque was erected in Delhi in 1641 by Sultan Sher Shah, the founder of the Sur Empire in India. This mosque is famous for its elegant decorations and motifs.
Delhi has witnessed the construction of many notable mosques at this period from the middle of the 16th century. This includes the mosque of Kali Masjid and the mosque of Kehraki Masjid. All of these mosques had many large gates, domes; towers, windows and most of them are still operating until today and welcoming a large number of tourists who travel to India every year as well.
The Mogul emperor, Shah Jahan, the builder of Taj Mahal, the most famous mausoleum in the world, has constructed a fabulous mosque in 1656 in front of his palace near Pakistan. This mosque was considered to be one of the largest and greatest mosques in India and the whole world. A large number of people still visit this mosque as part of their group tours to India.
Shah Jahan chose a plateau to construct his mosque because he wanted the mosque, the house of Allah, to be higher than his house. Three marble domes were erected to decorate the Western section of the mosque. With the two high minarets of the mosque, the mosque was truly an amazing piece of architectural art.
The main gate of the mosque was located in its Eastern section directly facing the famous Red Fortress, the residence of the emperor and the seat of his government. Shah Jahan, being a great builder, has also constructed a smaller mosque inside the Red Fortress and it was produced out of pure marble and this was why it was called the mosque of pearl and it is still visited by hundreds of tourists going on affordable tours to India all year long.