Bearing little or no resemblance to its name: “Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra” the magnificent mosque complex is located in ‘Ajmer City’, Rajasthan. Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra which literally means “shed of two-and-a-half days”. Some ‘Sufis’ claim that the name signifies a ‘Humans temporary life on the Earth’. It is also believed that the name is associated with a two and a half-day fair held annually nearby.
As for Indian Muslims and other tourists who travel to Ajmer and see Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra, they would be tempted to wonder why similar mosques are no longer built, a wonderment that is only partially explained by the fact that ‘Sultans’ and ‘Badshahs’ no longer rule the world. This is no place of worship that was built over weeks and months for the faithful to congregate five times a day(Namaz), it is a monument to honour ‘Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghauri’ who travelled through Ajmer after defeating, and killing, ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’ in the second battle of ‘Tarain’ in ‘1192 AD’.
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Stunned by the beauty of the temples of Ajmer and shocked by such idolatry, he ordered ‘Qutubuddin Aibak’ to sack the city and build a mosque, a mission to be accomplished in two-and-a-half days, so that he could offer namaz on his way back. Qutubuddin Aibak and other artisans couldn’t fulfill the task of two-and-a-half days(60 hours) but constructed a brick screen wall where one could offer prayers. By the end of the century(1199 AD) complete mosque was built.
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra – Indo-Islamic
It is the superb example of ‘Indo-Islamic’ architecture. The mosque was originally a ‘Sanskrit College’ by the ‘Jain Institute’ and building materials were taken from the ‘Hindu’ and ‘Jain Temples’. The archways are finely engraved with ‘Kufi’ and ‘Jughra’ inscriptions from the ‘Koran’. The mosque has 10 domes supported by 124 pillars.
It is an architectural marvel with a seven-arched wall inscribed with verses form the Koran in front of the pillared hall. Even the ceiling is an extensively carved affair, below which is a pulpit especially constructed to deliver sermons.
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There’s a tiny Sanskrit inscription on top of the main gate that reminds you of the actual origin of this historic monument. A staircase will take you to a tower from where the muezzin called the faithful. Yellow limestone arches mark the front side of the facade. The walls of the main hall are chiseled into small screens to allow sunlight to enter. The interior of the mosque is more like a Hindu temple.
So during your tour to Rajasthan don’t miss to visit Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhonpra in Ajmer.