Flâneur-ing through Ahmedabad–1: Jama Masjid
With just 5 and a half months left for me in Ahmedabad as of now, it dawned upon me to get to know this city, which I called home for such a long time, a little better. I believe there are various hidden treasures of Ahmedabad which many citizens don’t know about. Hence this series of blog posts under the title ‘Flâneur-ing through Ahmedabad’ where I try to visit those places. So beginning this journey with Jama Masjid…
Jama Masjid is one of the most enduring landmarks of the town. I had seen the picture of this beautiful place numerous times in the local print and elsewhere but never ever visited it, so one cold winter morning with the help of Wikimapia I set out for this Mosque. You will surely tend to overlook this place unless you are specifically looking for it. Located in the middle of the chaos of Gandhi road is this calm and serene place. Even I had missed it every time I visited Gandhi road to buy course books under Fernandez bridge simply because I didn’t know that it existed there. And when I reached the spot, my reaction was: ‘It was HERE?!’.
The moment you enter the vast compound you won’t realize where the boisterous and chaotic world behind you go, such is the tranquility of this place. Rightly it is said that the atmosphere of the mosque is conducive for worship of Allah, though I couldn’t check this claim for I am pretty much non spiritual but it surely gives you an escape from the frenzied world outside. Even a little time spent there, like the half an hour I spent doing nothing and observing the surroundings and the people, will give you that peace!
This mosque was built in 1423 by Sultan Ahmed Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad. It has in total 707 pillars including interior pillars and those in the veranda. The compound has a capacity of 25,000 people. This was the information I got from the two locals who were sitting by the fountain side.
While I was there, there were two groups of foreign tourists who had come along with their guide, I spoke to one fellow out of them named Daniel from the UK, who had came to India to study the Islamic and Mughal architecture. I was amazed at how people from miles away come to India to study our art but we being here pay little heed to it.
I wonder how surreal it would feel to be here during the prayer timings or Fridays, well, will try that too…