Monday, December 27, 2010

Badshahi Masjid: then and now

Fascinating picture of Badshahi Masjid in Lahore from somewhere between 1858 to 1861, via the Met, taken during British rule:

Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Compare that image to one that I took in November 2010:

Copyright: Umar Shakur, 2010
The Masjid is next to Shahi Qila, the Lahore Fort, and both pictures are taken from that vantage point. The top picture also shows Ranjit Singh's palace, in white and on the right, built in Hazuri Bagh (a garden) when the Sikh's took over Lahore (1799-1849). 

The beauty of Badshahi Masjid remains, but look how open the grounds around the masjid are in the old picture.  There are large, grassy fields surrounding the complex.  Today, it is full of people, roads, buildings and the bustle of thousands. In fact, essentially across the street, stands the Minar-e-Pakistan.

Another interesting tidbit, Badshahi Masjid was built in about 2 years at the direction of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, son of Shah Jehan, and features some of the finest Islamic architecture in the world.  Its minarets are taller than the Taj Mahal's and it remains the 5th largest masjid complex in the world.

Compare that to the 8 years it took to build Minar-e-Pakistan in the 1960s. Amazing to consider how efficiently and masterfully the Mughals did their construction work.

Finally, a brief video I took of the adhan at maghrib time in the Badshahi Masjid.  The spirituality and sense of peace one finds there remain intact, over 300 years later:

1 comment:

T-Rex said...

That second picture's awesome.