Masjid Wazir Khan – History revisited


I have been posting about historical places of Lahore on this blog. I’m sure the one I just visited is the most beautiful leftover from the Mughal reign.

Masjid Wazir Khan is extremely colorful and pretty mosque right in the heart of walled Lahore city. It was built in 1634-35 by Mr. Wazir Khan who was governor of Lahore at that time. This mosque was built a few decades before the glorious huge Badshahi Mosque Lahore (1673). I’m not trying to compare the two mosques here because one was built by the King himself ( Badshahi mosque) while other was built by a city-governor (Masjid Wazir Khan), but later is much more colorful, much more well built and well designed, much delicate and attractive and is in much original condition. Ironically, inspite of being so beautiful and attractive, it has not been much talked about.

The best way to reach the mosque is to enter the Walled-city of Lahore through Delhi-Gate and walk straight through the narrow and lively bazaar. A few hundred yards through the twisted path and there you see huge mosque minarets welcoming you. An open area outside the main entrance is still kept unpopulated and is a welcome change in contrast to highly dense populated area.

Right next to the entrance on both right and left sides are several small rooms that were originally designed to be shops. All shops were closed and locked but the veranda right outside each shop was very beautiful, especially the colorful ceiling.

Once you enter the mosque’s prayer area, you see a water pond for wuzu (ablution) in the center of the courtyard and a huge colorful mosque-building is visible at the other end of the courtyard. There are small rooms on both right and left sides of the courtyard that were closed and a couple were in use by the mosque administration, imam and the students.

The whole mosque both from outside and inside is a marvel of tile-work, colored paintings and calligraphy. The photo album posted at the bottom of this post contains several photos that prove my words above.

Quite interestingly, there was a mazaar (tomb) near the center of the mosque courtyard. On close inspection, it was discovered that the grave visible on the ground level was fake and the real grave was underground, some 10 feet right below the dummy grave on ground. The photo shows the name of the person. I have not yet been able to find who’s mazaar was this and how significant he was in the history.

On all four corners of the mosque are traditional high minarets. Unlike most of the mosques from the history as well as current day, these minarets are also covered completely with colored patterns and tiles that are in their original pretty colors even after almost four centuries.

Then I found a combination of steel ladder and staircase that took me to the roof top of the shops and I got a few clear shots of the mosque from there. Hundreds of pigeons were enjoying their free meal up there and were disturbed by my intervention.

After saying prayers, the mimbar (address chair) caught my attention. It was a beautiful wooden chair with a detailed wooden work. Looked pretty old but Imam sahib guided me to the label dug into the wood that said that it was a present to the mosque by Lord Curzon, Governor general India, who visited Lahore in 1899.

The whole mosque was colorful and patterned but keeping Islamic values in mind, no human or animal paintings could be seen. Either it was patterns and plants or it was calligraphy.

If you are in Lahore or you plan to visit, do plan a visit to this gorgeous mosque.

A photo album is available at following links.

Photo Album

Photo Album Map

History and info about the mosque

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