Heritage Times

Exploring lesser known History

Dil of DelhiFreedom MovementHeritage

Zinat Un Nisa Masjid: Which was used by the British as barrack and later as a bakery.

Also called Ghata Masjid is one of the famous historical mosques of Shahjahanabad (Dehli). The name of the mosque is after the person who commissioned it.

Another name, ‘Ghata masjid’ may be derived from the close proximity to the riverside (ghat) of Jamuna in the past or after the cloud covering the minarets of the mosque. Winter fog in the photograph gives some resemblance and justification to the later name.

Zinatun Nissa Begum and Shivaji Maharaj; And the story of two mosques.

Below is another name of the mosque, recently I learned from the book ’The Status of Muslim Women in Medieval India’ by Sudha Sharma.

View of the mosque from the flight of stairs to the courtyard.

“Zinat un Nisa Begam, the daughter of Aurangzeb, built 14 caravanserais. Norris confirmed to have visited on of these caravanserais when he arrived at Navapur.

She constructed Zinat ul Nisa Masjid (Kuari Masjid) at her own expenses and was buried there after her death. The Masjid became the meeting place for Urdu poets in early 18th century.”

The mosque 1920s – view from the side of Yamuna, which was diverted by the British. Walls of Shahjahanabad is still visible. The white building on the right side might be another Haveli of Nawab of Jhajar. The Nawab of Jhajar was hanged because of his support to revolt in general and not giving protection to Metcalfe in particular.

During the 1857 rebellion, the mosque was desecrated and her grave was leveled. It was used by the British as a barrack and later as a bakery. Another account of this mosque is in ‘Twilight of the Mughuls’ by Percival Spear.

Renovated grave of Zinat us Nisa Begum. Original tombstone was removed by the British. Following is the translation of writing in Persian from the tombstone. ‘For a friend in my grave, God’s forgiveness is alone sufficient; The canopy of my grave, is the shadow of the cloud of God’s mercy, In the hope of a righteous end. Fatima Zinat ul Nisa Begum, daughter of Badshah Mohiuddin Muhammed Alamgeer Ghazi. May God illuminate his works: 1122 Hijri.”

“The Beautiful ‘Ornament of Mosque’ in the Daryaganj quarter, built by a daughter of Aurangzeb, suffered still longer. After the mutiny it was used partly as dwelling place and partly as a bakery until 1875. The mosque was then closed and neglected. Lord Lytton’s vigour did not quite extend to this building and the mosque had to wait for rehabilitation nearly twenty years longer, until it caught the eye of Lord Curzon”.

View of mosque from the side where Zinat Un Nisa Begum is buried.

These are few photographs taken in winter of 2010, during my one of many visits to this mosque and grave of Zinat in Nisa Begum. The Black & White photograph is from my personal collection; from a private album of an English serviceman stationed in India. More details written under each photograph.

Share this Post on :

M S Siddiqui

Dr. Mohammad Siddiqui is a UK based Medical doctor. Apart from Medicine he is interested in history, culture, art and architecture. He is an avid collector of rare photographs, postcards, maps, artefacts, rare books and magazines on different themes like ‘Hajj pilgrimage’, ‘Delhi’, ‘Islam in Britain’ and ‘The role of Indian soldiers in WWI.’