City Monument - Mughal Masjid, Mehrauli

Unembellished beauty.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Delhi’s most heartbreakingly beautiful mosque, it is inside the Qutub Minar complex.

With three onion-shaped domes, the mosque is small, its two minarets look frail, and it faces a little walled garden. Built during the late Mughal times when Mehrauli was a favoured summer refuge for royalty, its beauty lies in its sparseness. There is no carving or sculpture — not even a bit of marble — just rubble masonry.

The decorative work on the entrance arches is concealed behind coats of paint. The original gateway to the south is closed and the present entrance is through an opening in the east wall.

Set against the glorious Qutub Minar, the mosque goes largely unnoticed. But its solitude adds to its character.

A large neem tree leans over the central dome and the stone courtyard smells leafy with mulberry, pomegranate, guava and gular (ficus) trees. The cracks on the weathered structure give an illusion of Quranic inscriptions.

The white-walled prayer chamber, which has three compartments, remains amazingly quiet considering the heavy tourist traffic outside.

The sole window opens onto the lane through which tourists pass on their way to the Qutub Minar. Those who spot the unassuming mosque are the lucky ones.

Where Qutub Minar Complex Nearest Metro Station Mehrauli Time 6am to 6pm

Leafy retreat

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