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The Wazir Khan Mosque is a Mughal time mosque in the city of Lahore. The mosque was custom-built during the supremacy of the Mughal sovereign Shah Jahan in 1634 C.E., and completed in 1642.

 

To visit the most beautiful Mosque of South Asia, you will have to enter the Kashmiri Bazaar through Delhi Gate. Shahi Hammam is just inside the gate on the left. The Wazir Khan’s Mosque is about 300 metres further inside the bazaar and on the left. The Mosque and the Hammam were built in 1634 by Hakim Iimuddin popularly known as Wazir Khan, from chinoit the Governer of Punjab under shah Jehan. Made of bricks, this unique mosque is decorated with brightly coloured glazed mosaics of Mughal floral designs on a clear yellow background.

Architecture and Layout

The mosque is built on an elevated plinth, with the main portal opening onto the Wazir Khan Chowk. The outer perimeter of the Wazir Khan Mosque measures 279 feet (85 m) by 159 feet (48 m), with the long axis parallel to the Shahi Guzargah. It was built with bricks laid in kankad lime.

Decorative elements

Almost every interior surface of the mosque is richly decorated.

Wazir Khan mosque is renowned for its elaborate embellishment in a style which draws from the decorative traditions from several regions. While other monuments in Lahore from the Shah Jahan period feature intricate kashi-kari tile work, none match the enormous scale of the Wazir Khan Mosque.

Tile work

Bricks facing the mosque's exterior are richly embellished with Persian-style tile work known as kashi-kari Façades facing the inner courtyard are richly embellished with motifs and palette which display strong influences from 17th century Persia. Persian-style colours used include lajvard , firozi , white, green, orange, yellow, and purple, while Persian-influenced motifs include star-shaped flowers and grapevines. The mosque also contains motifs of trees, and is the first Mughal monument to have borrowed this motif from Persia.

 

The façade of the entry portal facing Wazir Khan Chowk is decorated with elaborate tile work and calligraphy that includes verses of the QURAN, verses of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, prayers for the Prophet, and calligraphic insignias. Above the iwanentrance to the main prayer hall are verses from the Quran's surah AL Baqara written by the calligraphist Haji Yousaf Kashmiri.

Frescoes

The mosque features highly-detailed Mughal Frescoes.

Walls facing interior spaces are plastered and adorned with highly detailed buon frescoes. The interior decorative style is unique for Mughal-era mosques, as it combines imperial Mughal elements with local Punjabi decorative styles. The main prayer hall contains a square pavilion over which the mosque's largest dome rests - a Persian form known as CHAR tag. The underside of the dome feature frescoes depicting trees in pairs, pitchers of wine, and platters of fruit, which are an allusion to the Islamic Concept of Paradise.

Architectural embellishments

Several archways in the mosque are decorated with Mugarnas.

The arched niche at the mosque's entrance facing Wazir Khan Chowk is richly decorated with floral motifs, and features one of Lahore's first examples of a Mugarna - an architectural element found at the Alhambra in Spain, as well as on several imperial mosques in Iran. The low domes over the prayer hall reflect the style of the earlier Lodi dynasty, which ruled Lahore prior to the Mughal time.

Entrance

The mosque's entryway features a large iwan that leads to a small town square.

Entry into Wazir Khan Mosque is through a large Timurid-style Iwan over a smaller portal which faces the Wazir Khan Chowk. The iwan is flanked by two projecting balconies. Above the iwan is the Arabic Islamic declaration of faith is written in intricate tilework. The panels flanking the iwan contain Persian quatrains written by the calligraphist Muhammad Ali, who was a disciple of the Sufi saint Mian Mir. The panel on the right of the iwan reads:

To all who turn towards the Qibla in prayer, may this door remain wide open with prosperity till the day of resurrection.

While the panel to the left of the iwan reads:

Tillers! Everything we sow in this world we will reap in the next. Lay a good foundation in this life, for everyone must pass through this gate to Paradise.

Entry to through the small portal leads into a covered octagonal chamber which lies in the centre of the mosque's "Calligrapher's Bazaar." The octagonal chamber lies in the centre of what is the first example of the Central Asian charsu bazaar concept, or four-axis bazaar, to be introduced into South Asia. Two of the four axises are aligned as the Calligrapher's Bazaar, while the other two align in a straight line from the mosque's entry portal, to the centre of the main prayer hall.

Courtyard

Façades facing the mosque's courtyard are embellished with intricatekashi-kari tile work.

Passage through the portal and octagonal chamber leads into the mosque's central courtyard. The courtyard measures approximately 160 feet by 130 feet, and features high arched galleries surrounding a central brick paved courtyard - a typical feature of imperial Persian mosques in Iran.

 

The mosque's courtyard contains a pool used for the Islamic ritual washing, Wudu that measures 35 feet by 35 feet. The courtyard features a subterranean crypt which contains the tomb of the 14th century Sufi saint Syed Muhammad Ishaq Gazruni, also known by the name Miran Badshah.

The courtyard is flanked on four sides by 32 khanas, or small study cloisters for religious scholars. The mosque's four 107 foot tall minarets are located in each corner of the courtyard.

 

Main prayer hall

The main prayer hall is richly embellished with Mughal frescoes.

The mosque's prayer hall lies at the westernmost portion of the site, and is approximately 130 feet long and 42 feet wide. It is divided into five sections aligned into a single long aisle running north to south, similar to the prayer hall at the older Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum.

The central section of the prayer hall is topped by a 31 foot tall dome with a diameter of 23 feet resting upon four arches that form a square pavilion - a Persian architectural form known as a "Char Taq." The remaining compartment in the prayer hall are topped by a 21 foot tall dome with a diameter of 19 feet, built in a style similar to that of the earlier Lodi dynasty. The northernmost and southernmost compartments also contain small cells which house spiral staircases that lead to the rooftop.

 

Walls of the prayer hall's interior are also decorated with calligraphy in both Arabic and Persian. Each wall is divided further, and contain unique mosaic designs. The acoustic properties of the dome allow for the Imam’s sermon to be projected across the mosque's courtyard.

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