Some of India’s famous mosques have existed for centuries. While a few have been recently built, there are some that date back to the times of the Mughal and other Islamic empires. Mosques in India are not only sacred, they are rich in history and have interesting stories to tell.
Each of them have a close connection to Islamic art forms either by architecture or inscriptions. If you love art, architecture or sightseeing, come with us on a journey to the famous mosques in India, starting with one in Kashmir.
Famous Mosques in North India
1. Hazratbal Mosque
The Hazratbal Mosque sits on the banks of the Dal Lake and is the most famous mosque in Srinagar. The mosque is made entirely of white marble and it is famous for housings the ‘Moi-e-Muqaddas’ the beard hair of the prophet Muhammad.
Legend has it that the hair was brought from Mecca about a 100 years ago. The mosque is famous for its unique Kashmiri and Mughal architectural styles.
- Location: Srinagar
2. Jama Masjid, Srinagar
The Jama Masjid in Srinagar reminds one of a castle. Situated inside a lush garden the masjid is famous for its glorious architecture. Attractions here include the monumental spired gatehouses and the 378 roof-support columns made from the wood Deodar oak trees.
The prayer room is spacious and can accommodate thousands of devotees. Entry to the mosque is prohibited during prayer time to non-muslims.
- Location: Srinagar
3. Jama Masjid, Delhi
The Jama Masjid in Delhi is remembered for being Shah Jahan’s last architectural marvel. It is made using white marble and red sandstone. The mosque is believed to be India’s largest and can carry a whopping 25,000 people in its huge prayer room.
The Jama Masjid looks amazing at night when the lights of the mosque are turned on. The highlight here are the glorious towers on the sides. Entry to the top gives you splendid views of Old Delhi.
- Location: Delhi
4. Nagina Masjid, Agra
The Nagina Masjid is located inside the Agra Fort. It stands to the north left of the courtyard. A hidden gem, this mosque was built in typical Mughal style with white marble, arches and three domes.
The stand out attractions at the mosque are the lavish balconies that are carved with lattice screens and the raised terrace at the north end of the mosque where there is a black throne. From the balcony, one can gaze at the Taj Mahal from a distance.
- Location: Agra
5. Moti Masjid
The Moti Masjid in Agra is located inside the Agra Fort and it was the private mosque of Aurangzeb. A small mosque, it is well decorated on the outside with intricate Islamic carvings and the inner walls of the mosque are aligned to face in the direction of Mecca.
Although one can have a look at the mosque from the outside, entry to mosque is prohibited. It is famous for being Aurangzeb’s own private mosque.
- Location: Agra
6. Bara Imambara
Inside the Bara Imambara complex you’ll find a mosque and a quite large step well. The mosque is very attractive and is made entirely of white marble with typical Islamic architecture.
The highlight attractions at this place are the tomb of a famous Sufi saint and the vaulted galleries that have small replicas of Imam Hussain’s tomb in Karbala, Iraq.
- Location: Lucknow
Famous Mosques in Central India
7. Taj-ul Masajid
To get to the mosque, visitors have to enter from the South side. The mosque was built on order of Bhopal’s third female ruler Shah Jahan Begum whose aim was to build the largest mosque in the world. It was unfortunately built after her death, but the mosque still stands tall today.
The mosque has 27 scalloped ceiling domes at its main prayer hall and the mosque is surrounded by pink fortress-like walls. On the top of the mosque is an egg shaped dome, very typical of Islamic mosques.
- Location: Bhopal
8. Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad
The Makkah Masjid gets its name because the bricks used to build the mosque were got from the holy city of Mecca. It is one of the oldest buildings in Hyderabad and was the brainchild of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the first ruler of the city.
Entry to the main sanctum is restricted to Muslim men only. Tourists aren’t allowed – there is a separate balcony from where they can pray and have a look at the mosque.
- Location: Hyderabad
Famous Mosques in West India
9. Dargah of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti
This shrine is also the tombs of tomb of Sufi saint Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti. It was developed over the years my many rulers and is a famous pilgrimage spot. In fact, even King Akbar made a pilgrimage to this shrine every year.
Today, many celebrities also visit the shrine to pay their respects and honour Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti. Please note that certain parts of the mosque require you to cover your head. If you haven’t carried a scarf, there are plenty for sale outside the mosque.
- Location: Ajmer
10. Haji Ali Dargah
To get to Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah you need to walk through a long causeway from the main road to the centre of the sea. This mosque is built in the centre of the sea and is only accessible during the low tide.
The mosque is famous for housing the tomb of the Muslim saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
The best time to visit is on a Thursday or a Friday when qawwali sessions are often held. There may be crowds around so your best bet is to visit early.
Famous Mosques in South India
11. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid
This shrine is believed to have been established by the members of Jama-Athe. It sits on the bank of the River Meenachil and is made from brick and wood, unlike some of the other mosques in India that are made from white marble. Highlights are its wood carvings that are splendid and charming.
These are the most famous mosques in India. They’re excellent to see if you love art and architecture. While visiting you might want to pay attention to a few rules. While entering some mosques, take off your shoes and wear a headscarf. Do not click pictures inside the mosque.
It is okay to click pictures of the building. Avoid going on a Friday, as that is a when prayers are held and entry on those days is only allowed to muslims.