Ramzan Special : Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad

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Makkah Masjid  is one of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad, Telangana in India, and it is one of the largest masajids in India. Makkah Masjid is a listed heritage building in the old city of Hyderabad, close to the historic landmarks of Chowmahalla Palace, Laad Bazaar, and Charminar.

History : Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, commissioned bricks to be made from the soil brought fromMecca, the holiest site of Islam, and used them in the construction of the central arch of the mosque, thus giving the mosque its name. It formed the centerpiece around which the city was planned by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah

Makkah Masjid was built during the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th Qutb Shahi Sultan of Golconda (now Hyderabad). The three arched facades have been carved from a single piece of granite, which took five years to quarry. More than 8,000 workers were employed to build the mosque. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah personally laid the foundation stone. The construction was later completed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after conquering Hyderabad.

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the French explorer, in his travelogue observed;”It is about 50 years since they began to build a splendid pagoda in the town which will be the grandest in all India when it is completed. The size of the stone is the subject of special accomplishment, and that of a niche, which is its place for prayer, is an entire rock of such enormous size that they spent five years in quarrying it, and 500 to 600 men were employed continually on its work. It required still more time to roll it up on to conveyance by which they brought it to the pagoda; and they took 1400 oxen to draw.

This mosque is one of the world’s largest, with 10,000 men praying here at major Muslim festivals, and also one of Hyderabad’s oldest buildings, begun in 1617 by the city’s founder Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah. Women are not allowed inside the main prayer hall, and male tourists are unlikely to be let in either (they can look through the railings). Female tourists, even with headscarves, may not even be allowed into the vast courtyard if their clothing is judged too skimpy or tight.

Several bricks embedded above the prayer hall’s central arch are made with soil from Mecca, hence the mosque’s name. An enclosure alongside the courtyard contains the tombs of several Hyderabad nizams.