A dream in the market.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Everything beautiful in this secretive city seems to be concealed ‘up a flight of steep dark stairs’.
This Mughal-era mosque, too, is such a revelation. Lost in the clutter of Old Delhi’s Chawri Bazaar, it lies atop small shops selling aluminum and copper rods.
Masjid Rukn ud Daula’s outer walls are a thing of beauty. They are spectacularly covered with stone carvings of flowers and leaves that you can gaze upon for hours. The dimly-lit prayer hall, lined with a series of green doors, remains immersed in quietness. The priest’s pulpit is of white marble. The Mecca-facing wall is adorned with floral patterns. This is a perfect escape from the city—an ideal place to surrender to a demanding novel. The mosque has a tattered copy of Quran—it looks like an object from beyond the moon.
Named after a Mughal-era noble of faraway Hyderabad, the mosque belongs to 18th century Delhi, though parts of it consist of modern-day structures. These late intrusions do not dishearten the eyes. The brick wall on the terrace, for instance, is like a dream. Its blue is of a breathtakingly beautiful shade, and the wall’s opacity is poetically interrupted by a small window, which looks like an abandoned boat at sea (see photo 9 below).
The other end of the terrace faces the street. The stone railing is broken in places.
Masjid Rukn ud Daula’s elderly caretaker makes his living as a rafu master, a tailor of torn clothes.
The beauty of the old times