Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra Ajmer

By Prateek Nayak | 2021

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1. Entrance. U see 3 chatris. This mosque came up in 1192 one year before construction of Qutub Minar. After the 2nd Battle of Tarain (1192) where Muhammad Ghori defeated and killed Prithviraj Chauhan, Ghori passed through Ajmer. He was awed by the temples, ‘that he wanted them destroyed and replaced instantly.’

2. So Ghori asked Qutub-ud-din Aibak, his general to do the needful in 60 hours ie 2.5 days or Adhai Din (hence the name) so that Ghori could offer prayers on return. It was not possible to make this structure in 2.5 days so artisans built a brick screen in front of the biggest Jain shrine of the locality. ASI site says name probably comes from a fair that was held for 2.5 days.

3. Entrance gate from inside. 4 pillars (carved) are part of the wall. ‘It was converted into a mosque 1198. It was beautified by Illtutmish in 1213 AD.’ (Rajasthan Tourism State govt site). ASI site says mosque was a Sanskrit College in 12th century. It was built from material taken from the Hindu/Jain temples/College and built ‘almost entirely by Hindu masons and supervised by Afghan overseers.’

4. Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra literally means ‘shed of two-and-a-half days.’ Alternate name is Dhai Din ki Masjid. Times of India says, ‘It is believed that this mosque was built by converting a Jain temple into a mosque. The interiors of the mosque resemble a Hindu temple and you will still find some inscriptions written in Sanskrit on the pillars.’

5. 7 arches & in middle of Rectangular shaped wall. ASI site, ‘Iltutmish subsequently beautified it in AD 1213 with a screen pierced by corbelled engrailed arches which appears in this country for the first time. Per, ‘Main arch flanked by 6 smaller arches of Arab origin wherein tiny rectangular panels allowed for a lighting system, a thing followed in old Arabian mosques.’

6. Central Arch. Note dome under mosque. Per, ‘During rule of Chauhan dynasty, there was a Sanskrit college built by Vigraharaja IV or Visaladeva. A temple was also there that was dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati. Some historians say that the mosque was built by the materials used after the destruction of some old and abandoned Hindu Temples. Others say that the Sanskrit college was a college of the Jains.Local people say that Seth Viramdeva constructed the college to celebrate Panch Kalyanaka.’

7. PerTribune, ‘The archways are finely engraved with Kufi n Jughra inscriptions from the Koran. The edifice comprises a huge quadrangle covered from all four sides. Inside there is a screen wall with 7 pointed arches. The mosque is entered through a simple gateway in the north, and on its right stands a ruined minaret. The main arch is flanked by 6 smaller arches (built of yellow limestone) of Arab origin.’

8. U see Central Arch rear side+5 domes, are bell shaped as you will see later. Per Tribune, ‘Even the ceiling is an extensively carved affair, below which is a pulpit especially constructed to deliver sermons. There’s a tiny Sanskrit inscription on top of the main gate that reminds you of the actual origin of this historic monument.’

9. Top view of Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu. When I asked local guide why top part looked like a mosque, he said it was done to protect the temple from invaders. From a distance top part of temple looked like a mosque. Pic by S Nayyar.

10. Rudra Mahaya Sidhpur, Gujarat made in the 12th century. See how they tried to make a mosque out of a temple, is work-in-progress. Pic by S Nayyar. To see album

11. Close up of main mosque dome. Per Tribune, ‘Although the original pillars and the roof of the pre-Muslim structure were allowed to remain, many of the original carvings were defaced by the conquerors. Most of original carvings are now in the local Rajasthan museum, including the panels containing fine inscriptions from two popular Sanskrit dramas, Harakeli Natak and Lalilta.’

12. This is main area of prayer. The Mihrab in the mosque where is a semi-circular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. Pillars are supporting the whole floor and dome. ‘The exquisite mihrab in white marble set in the back wall of the sanctuary in a notable feature of this mosque.’

13. The Main Decorative chakra underneath the main central Dome of Mosque. Is it a Yantra? Please enlighten.

14. Bell shaped dome in Sas Bahu Temple, Gwalior Fort. It is supported by 4 pillars. In this mosque the many bell shaped domes supported by numerous pillars. Pic by S Nayyar.

15. Close up of dome centre in Sas Bahu Temple. To see album,-Gwalior-Fort.aspx

16. Right side dome inside ceiling design.

17. Close up of ceiling area, top of pillar. Right of pic is bell shaped dome.

18. Ceiling example supported by pillars. These are lotus flowers which represent the divinity of the Universe. It also represents the detached mind necessary to attain divinity or moksha. The Decorative floral design on the ceilings depict Hindu and Jain iconography. Please correct if wrong.

19. Per Tribune, ‘The interior of the mosque is more like a Hindu temple, with a main hall supported by numerous columns. 3 pillars are placed over each other while the roof is supported on square bays. The columns are of an uncommon design, heavily decorated n quite similar to Hindu and Jain rock temples. Their bases are large and bulbous, tapering as they gain height. Although the original pillars and the roof of the pre-Muslim structure were allowed to remain, many original carvings were defaced by the conquerors.’

20. Centre pillar has a Kalash. Kiradu Temples Barmer pillar have similar kalash design as you shall see in next pic.

21. Pillar in Kiradu Temples, Barmer. Pic by S Nayyar. To see album on Kiradu

22. See pillars, ceiling design. Each pillar has unique design. Intent of captions is to inform, not arouse and be factual. Happy to stand corrected.

23. Pillar supporting bell shaped dome.

24. Pillar, next to bell shaped dome. Note design, has a kalash too.

25. A close up shot. Murti disfigured. However, think it engraving of Goddess Saraswati. Please correct if wrong.

26. Each pillars has its own Design. Pillars supporting domes.

27. Close up pillars and ceiling. In front are elephant style brackets.

28. That Small shed-like structure is located on the left side of the entrance of the ground. It has pillars in which one can easily see decorative engraving of Gods and Goddess.

29. Close up of pillar of shed-like structure. They were made with so much perfection and detail, is it possible to make in 2.5 days.

30. Close up shot of pillar (earlier pic). Looks like dancing images (correct if wrong) Carvings disfigured. Considering made in 12th century condition very good.

31. These graves are situated at the right side from the entrance of the structure. Hope you enjoyed album. Do write in with feedback, we are always looking to do better. To read The Tribune art

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