Beautiful Mosques in Pakistan

Wazir Khan Mosque , Lahore

Masjid Wazir Khan

The Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as ‘ a mole on the cheek of Lahore’. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634-1635 A.D., during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Shaikh Ilmuddin Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and later, the Governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan. The mosque is located inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate.
Main Entrance

Shahjahan Mosque , Thatta

The Shah Jahan Mosque was built in the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It is located in Thatta, Sindh province, Pakistan. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage and has been to preserved since its entry.

In the town of Thatta (100 km / 60 miles from Karachi) itself, there is famous Shahjahani Mosque with its beautiful architecture. This mosque was built in 1647 during the reign of Mughal King Shah Jahan, also known as the builder King. The mosque is built with red bricks with blue coloured glaze tiles probably imported from another Sindh’s town of Hala. The mosque has overall 100 domes and it is world’s largest mosque having such number of domes. It has been built keeping acoustics in mind. A person speaking inside one end of the dome can be heard at the other end.

Masjid e Tooba , Karachi

Locally, it is also known as the Gol Masjid. Masjid e Tooba was built in 1969 in Defense Housing Society, Karachi. It is located just off main Korangi Road. Masjid e Tooba is often claimed to be the largest single dome mosque in the world. It is also major tourist attraction in Karachi. Masjid e Tooba is built with pure white marble. The dome of the Masjid e Tooba is 72 meters (236 feet) in diameter, and is balanced on a low surrounding wall with no central pillars. Masjid e Tooba has a single minaret standing 70 meters high. The central prayer hall has a capacity of 5,000 people. It has been built keeping acoustics in mind. A person speaking inside one end of the dome can be heard at the other end. This mosque was designed by Pakistani architect Dr Babar Hamid Chauhan.
Faisal Mosque, Islamabad
Faisal Masjid
Aerial view of the Faisal Mosque
The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is the largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the sixth largest mosque in the world. It was the largest mosque in the world from 1986 to 1993 when overtaken in size by the completion of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Subsequent expansions of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina, Saudi Arabia during the 1990s relegated Faisal Mosque to fourth place in terms of size.

Faisal Mosque is conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan. It has a covered area of 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) [citation needed] and has a capacity to accommodate approximately 300,000 worshippers (100,000 in its main prayer hall, courtyard and porticoes and another 200,000 in its adjoining grounds). Although its covered main prayer hall is smaller than that of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca (the world’s third largest mosque), Faisal Mosque has the third largest capacity of accommodating worshippers in its adjoining grounds after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina. Each of the Mosque’s four minarets are 80 m (260 ft) high (the tallest minarets in South Asia) and measure 10 x 10 m in circumference.
The Faisal Mosque is named after the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who supported and financed the project.
Faisal Mosque at night
Faisal Mosque at night
The impetus for the mosque began in 1966 when the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia supported the initiative of the Pakistani Government to build a national mosque in Islamabad during an official visit to Pakistan. In 1969, an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. After four days of deliberation, Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay’s design was chosen. Construction of the mosque began in 1976 by National Construction of Pakistan, led by Azim Borujerdi, and was funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, at a cost of over 130 million Saudi riyals (approximately 120 million USD today). King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz was instrumental in the funding, and both the mosque and the road leading to it were named after him after his assassination in 1975. The mosque was completed in 1986, and used to house the International Islamic University. Many conservative Muslims criticised the design at first for its non-conventional design and lack of the traditional dome structure, but virtually all criticism was eventually silenced by the mosque’s scale, form, and setting against the Margalla Hills upon completion.
The mosque is located in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. It is situated at the north end of Faisal Avenue, putting it at the northernmost end of the city and at the foot of Margalla Hills, the westernmost foothills of the Himalayas.
The Faisal Mosque is the work of famous Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay who won the Aga Khan Architectural Award with this project. The mosque’s relatively unusual design fuses contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin’s tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. However, unlike traditional masjid design, it lacks a dome. The minarets borrow their design from Turkish tradition and are thin and pencil like. The interior of this prayer hall holds a very large chandelier and its walls are decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist Sadequain. The mosaic pattern adorns the west wall, and has the kalimah writtern in early Kufic script, repeated in mirror image pattern.
Prayer hall
The mosque’s architecture is a departure from the long history of South Asian Islamic architecture. It is one of the most outstanding and modern Islamic architecture examples in the world.

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

The Badshahi Mosque (بادشاھی مسجد) or “Emperor’s Mosque” was built in 1673 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore, Pakistan. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks and a major tourist attraction epitomising the beauty and grandeur of the Mughal era.
Red sandstone exterior of Badshahi Mosque. Photo: Scott Christian
Capable of accommodating over 55,000 worshippers, Badshahi is the second largest mosque in Pakistan, after the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The design of the Badshahi Masjid is closely related to the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India, which was built in 1648 by Aurangzeb’s father, Emperor Shah Jahan.
Badshahi Masjid is one of the famous locations where Qari Basit (1927-88), a widely acclaimed Egyptian Qur’anic Recitor, recited the Qur’an.
The mosque was built under the patronage of the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb Alamgir. It was completed in 1673 under the supervision of Aurangzeb’s foster brother Muzaffar Hussain (also known as Fidaie Khan Koka) who was appointed governor of Lahore in May 1671 and held this post until 1675. He was also Master of Ordnance to the emperor.
The construction of the mosque took about two years, from May 1671 to April 1673. The mosque was built opposite the Lahore Fort, illustrating its stature in the Mughal Empire. In conjunction with the building of the mosque, a new gate was built at the fort, named Alamgiri Gate after the Emperor.
From 1852 onwards, piecemeal repairs were carried out under the supervision of the Badshahi Mosque Authority. Extensive repairs were carried out from 1939 to 1960 at a cost of about 4.8 million rupees, which brought the mosque to its original shape and condition. The blueprint for the repairs was prepared by the late architect Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur.
Badshahi Masjid at night from Iqbal Park
In 2000, the repair work of marble inlay in the main vault was repaired under the supervision of Saleem Anjum Qureshi. On the occasion of the second Islamic Summit held at Lahore on February 22, 1974, thirty-nine heads of Muslim states offered their Friday prayers in the Badshahi Masjid, led by Maulana Abdul Qadir Azad, the ‘Khatib’ of the mosque.
Recently a small museum has also been added to the mosque complex, which contains relics of Muhammad, his cousin, and his daughter, Hazrat Fatima Zahra.
View from the main hall of Badshahi Mosque
What to See
Like the character of its founder, the mosque is bold, vast and majestic in its expression. It was the largest mosque in the world for a long time. The interior has rich embellishment in stucco tracery (Manbatkari) and panelling with a fresco touch, all in bold relief, as well as marble inlay.
The exterior is decorated with stone carving as well as marble inlay on red sandstone, specially of loti form motifs in bold relief. The embellishment has Indo-Greek, Central Asian and Indian architectural influence both in technique and motifs.
The skyline is furnished by beautiful ornamental merlons inlaid with marble lining adding grace to the perimeter of the mosque. In its various architectural features like the vast square courtyard, the side aisles (dalans), the four corner minarets, the projecting central transept of the prayer chamber and the grand entrance gate, is summed up the history of development of mosque architecture of the Muslim world over the thousand years prior to its construction in 1673.
The north enclosure wall of the mosque was laid close to the Ravi River bank, so a majestic gateway could not be provided on that side and, to keep the symmetry the gate had to be omitted on the south wall as well. Thus a four aiwan plan like the earlier Delhi Jamia Masjid could not be adopted here. The walls were built with small kiln-burnt bricks laid in kankar, lime mortar (a kind of hydraulic lime) but have a veneer of red sandstone.
The steps leading to the prayer chamber and its plinth are in variegated marble. The prayer chamber is very deep and is divided into seven compartments by rich engraved arches carried on very heavy piers.
Out of the seven compartments, three double domes finished in marble have superb curvature, whilst the rest have curvilinear domes with a central rib in their interior and flat roof above.
In the eastern front aisle, the ceiling of the compartment is flat (Qalamdani) with a curved border (ghalatan) at the cornice level. The original floor of the courtyard was laid with small kiln-burnt bricks laid in the Mussalah pattern.
View of Badshahi from outside the monumental gate
The present red sandstone flooring was laid during the last thorough repairs (1939-60). Similarly, the original floor of the prayer chamber was in cut and dressed bricks with marble and Sang-i-Abri lining forming Mussalah and was also replaced by marble Mussalah during the last repairs. There are only two inscriptions in the mosque: one on the gateway and another of Kalimah in the prayer chamber under the main high vault.
The measurements of Badshahi, as provided by a sign at the mosque, are:
* Courtyard: 528′-8″ x 528′-4″ (Area: 278,784 ft2), divided into upper and lower levels
* Prayer Chamber: 275′-8″ x 83′-7″ x 50′-6″ high, with its main vault 37′-3″ x 59′-4″ high and a total area of 22,825 sq ft
* Corner Minarets: 67′ in circumference, 176′-4″ high are in four stages and have a contained staircase with 204 steps.
* Central Dome: Diameter 65′ at bottom (at bulging 70′-6″); height 49′; pinnacle 24 ft and neck 15 ft high.
* Side Domes: Diameter 51′-6″ (at bulging 54′-2″); height 32 ft; pinnacle 19 ft; neck 9′-6″ high.
* Gateway: 66′-7″ x 62′-10″ x 65 high including domelets; vault 21′-6″ x 32′-6″ high. Its three sided approach steps are 22 in number.
* Side aisles (Dalans): 80 in number. Height above floor 23′-9″; plinth 2′-7″.
* Central Tank: 50′ x 50′ x 3′ deep (Area: 2,500 sq ft)
Quick Facts
Names: بادشاھی مسجد; Badshahi Mosque; Shah Badshahi Masjid; Emperor’s Mosque; King’s Mosque
Type of site: Mosques
Dates: 1673
Location: Lahore, Pakistan

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