If you are intrigued not only by the Islamic religion but also about its architecture, Pakistan offers some sacred destinations that both cater to your cultural curiosity as well your love for fine art. One such structure is the Badshahi Mosque. Also referred to as the “Emperor’s Mosque,” this structure was constructed in 1673. It was built by Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. Located in Lahore, this mosque symbolizes and epitomizes the elegance and splendor of the Mughal Empire. Badshahi Mosque is now one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city of Lahore.
The mosque has the capacity of accommodating 55,000 worshippers. In Pakistan, this makes it the second biggest mosque in terms of capacity, after Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque. For its design, it was patterned after the Jama Mosque located in Delhi, India. The Jama Masjid was constructed 25 years earlier than Badshahi by Emperor Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb’s father. When he was still alive, the famous Koranic recitor Qari Basit used to recite the Koran here.
The interior of the mosque is richly embellished in Manbatkari or stucco tracery and a touch of fresco paneling in bold expression. The interior is also floored in marble. The exterior of the mosque meanwhile is decorated with carvings in stone as well as inlay in marble placed on sandstone in red. Loti form motifs in imposed relief decorate the walls. Influences of Indian, Central Asian, and Indo-Greek styles are found in the motifs and embellishments.
Muslim architecture is prevalent in the features of the mosque such as the dalans or the side aisles, the four minarets in the corner, the opulent entrance gate and the spacious courtyard. If you are a non-Muslim, inquire about tours specifically catering to you. Also, remember to observe proper attire if you plan to go make a visit.