The beauty of Islamic architecture is that it is the richest and most profound type of architecture that has taken shape through a 1400-year fusion of the greatest civilizations in the world such as Arabic, Turkish, Central Asian, Persian and incorporated their styles with strong Islamic character.
The Grand Jamia Masjid in Bahria Town Lahore is a fine specimen of this fact from the 21st century. Designed using the Indo-Islamic spirit of construction, with the center of its inspiration driven by “Lahori” construction traditions, it maintains the true essence of Islamic spirit incorporated with modern elements. This mosque has truly marked a new era in Lahore’s cultural heritage.
Holding the tittle of being the world’s 7th largest mosque it has the capacity to accommodate 70,000 worshippers. The indoor capacity is 25,000, which exceeds that of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, making this Pakistan’s largest mosque. The masjid has been designed by the world-renowned architect Mr. Nayyer Ali Dada.
The base of the entire structure is elevated 20 feet above the ground, with the rooftop elevating to 80 feet and the Grand Dome placed in the center like a majestic crown surrounded by 20 smaller domes. Marking the extremities of the entire structure are the towering minarets standing 165 feet tall, the Grand Jamia Masjid instantly makes a powerful impact on the beholder. The mosque invites you in magnanimously, with 6 arched shape wooden doors and then dazzles you with views of white chandeliers, tile-mosaic and frescos of extraordinary beauty.
The Center Dome is the crown jewel of this magnificent piece of craftsmanship. Rising 40 ft. in height and spreading 50 ft. in width, it gives the feel of royalty to the entire mosque.
The tradition of the usage of domes in Islamic architecture comes from the “Dome of The Rock” in Jerusalem, which was the first dome built by Muslim Arabs. It represents the vault of heaven and is a symbol of Heavenly transcendence in Islam.
The Hands of a craftsman engaged in his craft are always pure
The indigenous Architecture is woven in entirely local materials, reflecting the true essence of Indo-Islamic architecture with a rich blend of modern elements. The main structure is created from “Brick Gutka” made of special “Multani Mitti” to avoid saltpeter commonly found in Lahore Bricks.
The unique feature in this masterpiece is the way the brick structure has been extensively decorated with vibrant colored glazed tile mosaic art, displayed in geometrical shapes and floral patterns. 4.5 million handmade ceramic tiles were hand placed by the craftsmen, which alone took 4 years.
The octagonal shaped minarets stand majestically tall at 165 ft. and are a beautiful exhibit of craftsmanship. The base of each minaret has 4 arch shaped wooden doors decorated with extensive mosaic art in vibrant colors that ascend all the way to the top of the structure. Each minaret has wooden balconies made from “Sheesham” and the rooftops are copula shaped canopies. The true purpose of these soaring structures is to spread the Azan as far as possible and glorify the presence and grandeur of the masterpiece they represent.
Paradise Garden Design Courtyard
The beautifully landscaped courtyard has been designed in the typical “Charbagh” style, which is a Persian-style garden layout seen in many great mosques of the Sub-Continent. The quad shaped garden is divided into four sections, through four walkways with a beautiful water fountain in the center.
The courtyard is walled by corridors on all sides, made up of arch shaped aisles and columns that form rows of endless arches which create a magical effect like that of an arch shaped tunnel leading into a completely new dimension.
In Islam the garden prefigures Paradise and the tradition of paradise garden designs originated from the Mughals. The courtyard serves as an outdoor praying facility as well as a getaway, rich with greenery and an abundance of trees and flowers.
Architecture of The Veil
Islamic architecture is often referred to as “the architecture of the veil”, and the Grand Jamia Mosque is testament to this fact. What seems like a simple yet elegant structure from the outside, transforms into a mystical journey of Islamic art and tranquility that absorbs the beholder deep into its beauty & serenity.
The magnificent interior is a treat in the daytime and an absolute delight to feast on during the evening with a mood enhancing ambiance created by the hundreds of luminous “Persian-Shamadan” style chandeliers imported from Turkey, reflecting crisp white light.
The extraordinary blend of calligraphy, geometrical forms and floral decoration along with large-scale “Kashi Kari” creates an ambiance like none other. “Kashi Kari” is a Persian mosaic art that involves ceramic assortments on tiles in geometrical shapes and patterns. The finest craftsmen from Multan, Lahore and Hala were chosen for the tile-work.
Main Prayer Hall
The inner side of the Center Dome is beautifully decorated with mosaic art in subtle colors and inspiring patterns that descend into the elegantly detailed “Mihrab”. To the right of the Mihrab is the “Minbar” and the mosque has been designed such that the Imam is visible to all the worshippers even when the prayer hall is full. The Minbar is simple yet elegant, made from “Sheesham”, standing 12 ft. high and placed strategically so the voice of the Imam is able to travel to all four corners of the mosque through a natural echo which is created when the sound waves bounce back from the main dome and travel through the surrounding domes.
The walkways are furnished with a fine quality wool carpet that has been custom-made and imported from Turkey. There are 3 layers of cushioning beneath the carpet making it extraordinarily comfortable and relaxing. The floors are tiled with stone color marble and the walls have woodwork done on them complemented by mosaic art. The ground floor comprises of the main prayer hall that is divided into 4 compartments, each separated by an arch and a staircase leading to the 1st floor. The first floor has wooden balconies made from black “Sheesham” which blend in perfect harmony with the luminous white chandeliers hanging from the Center Dome.
The ablution area is located in the basement, beneath the courtyard and has a separate entrance. It comprises of gracious layouts with marble tiling and imported fixtures. There are also shower cabins to perform “Ghusal” and Indian style toilets with Muslim showers. The ablution area can accommodate hundreds of people at a time.
Islamic Heritage Museum
The 1st floor comprises of an Islamic heritage museum displaying rare Quranic collections, an Islamic library and also an Islamic art gallery with various antique artifacts. There is also a dedicated praying area for women on the first floor so that women can also get the opportunity to offer their prayers in the mosque and attend the Friday prayers & Eid prayers.
The basement comprises of an Islamic academy that is completely functional and is offering religious courses along with modern education. It is a state-of-the-art institute offering the finest educational services & facilities of the 21st century.
New Grand Masjid under construction in Bahria Town Karachi
Bahria Town has also announced to build a mosque with a capacity of over 800,000 in Bahria Town Karachi. Mr. Nosherwan, the eldest employee of Bahria Town Karachi 73 years old, recently did the groundbreaking for the Masjid.