Moti Masjid Delhi

Placed inside the Red Fort in Delhi is the beautiful and impressive Moti Masjid. The masjid is built from white marble and hence the name “Moti” Masjid. It was constructed on command of Aurangzeb and functioned as his private mosque. The complex of Red Fort is located on the western banks of Yamuna River. The entrance to the complex is located on the north, south and western ends of the complex. The eastern end of the complex overlooks Yamuna River and was reserved as the private palace of the king.

The northern end of the Red Fort Complex was reserved for conducting business and the southern end served as the women palaces. Towards the west of the complex was a hall for public gatherings. The entire complex of Red Fort was destroyed during the British invasion in 1857 and even a part of the Moti Masjid was destroyed. The entire complex has been restored beautifully.

At present the Moti Masjid can be seen standing on the western part of the masjid. It is one of the most beautiful mosques of its era and a must see for anyone planning a visit to Delhi.


The mosque was built on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The Moti Masjid was built for the personal use of the emperor and was constructed between 1659 and 1660. It is a known fact about Aurangzeb that he was prompt in offering his prayers and the Jama Masjid was a little further from the Red Fort. The mosque was decorated with white marble and carved beautifully. At that time, the mosque was built at an expense of Rs 160,000. The mosque is located on the western side of the hammam. It is said that even the females from the harem were allowed to pray inside the mosque. There was an entrance from the northern side of the masjid made especially for the women. This door was however closed when the masjid was renovated.

It is suggested that the domes of the masjid were originally covered with copper. The copper was later removed by the British and sold. Archeologists tried their best to restore the copper work on the domes but were unable to do so; however they were successful in restoring the embossing on the walls.


The Moti Masjid stands on an area of 22x15 meters. The walls of the complex rise to a height of 20 feet and was originally built from red sandstone. For visitors to the complex, the sight of the three marble domes and slim minarets with lotus tops is an indication of the location of the mosque, as the entire structure of the mosque remains largely hidden. The walls of the complex have been restored and a combination of arched and rectangular panels has been used to provide support to the structure. The compound wall has been restored to align with the rest of the complex. The interior walls are aligned in the direction of Makkah.

The masjid can be accessed by a short staircase that leads through a vaulted entrance. The entry to the masjid is a few steps north from the stairway. The courtyard of the Moti Masjid is rectangular in shape and has three arcades. The main prayer hall is to the west of the arcades. Both the interior and exterior of the mosque is decked in white marble. The mosque features three domes also crafted from white marble. The domes were largely damaged during the 1857 siege and were not repaired until the 1880’s. The present domes are quite contemporary in design and were added by the British in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The exterior of the mosque is not much decorated, the interior is completely pearly white in color with floral motifs and curvilinear designs. The main door of the masjid is embossed with brass sheets. There is a second archway that leads to the walkway of the compound walls. The Moti Masjid is designed beautifully and gives an elegant look. There are twelve pillars that support the structure of the masjid. There are separate prayer room especially designed for women and are located on either side of the main prayer hall. The architectural style of the mosque is from the era of Shah Jahan and boasts of hard work and fine craftsmanship. The masjid courtyard also has a small pond meant for ablution.

There is another mosque by the same name built by Bahadur Shah, the son of Aurangzeb. This mosque is located near Ajmeri gate in Mehrauli and is placed close to the dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. This other mosque is a replica of the Moti Masjid in the Red Fort complex.

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had built a Moti masjid in Lahore Fort in 1645. This mosque is located in Lahore in present day Pakistan. Shah Jahan was the father of Aurangzeb.


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