Agra was once the capital of the Mughal era. This led to rapid development of the city then and many gigantic monuments were built which still remind one of the sheer power and intelligence of the Mughal emperors. Moti Masjid in the Agra Fort at Agra is the best place to witness the same. The Mughal era was an era of prosperity and happiness marked by the various architectural marvels dotted throughout India and especially the beautiful city of Agra. One of such beautiful monuments is Moti Masjid of Agra.
The Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) in Agra was built by Shah Jahan. During the rule of Shah Jahan the Mughal emperor, numerous architectural wonders were built. Most famous of them being the Taj Mahal. Moti Masjid earned the epithet Pearl Mosque for it shined like a pearl. It is held that this mosque was constructed by Shah Jahan for his members of royal court.
Started in the year 1648, the mosque took six years to be completely finished. The darbar hall or the Diwan-i-Aam is to the left of the mosque and this is where the emperor held his court (darbar) for the common people of his kingdom. The ground of the mosque slopes down from the east to the west. The mosque is made of red sand stones and the three domes on top are made from white marble making it all the more adorable. Like all of the Mughal-era monuments this place too has a symmetrical design. There is a line of domed kiosks which are very much inspired from the Hindu architecture.
There are seven bays that are supported by lobed arches and piers, they are further divided into three aisles each. Three of these twenty one bays have vaulted soffits. A marble tank is visible at the center of the courtyard and one can also see a traditional sundial established on an octagonal marble pillar on one corner of the court. The prayer chamber had been set up on the western corner of the complex and on eastern, northern and southern sides there are small cloisters decorated with beautiful arches.
Moti Masjid has three gates, the biggest and the most beautiful gate is the one located on the eastern side which is also the main gate. The southern and northern ends have the other two subsidiary gates. The gates are decorated royally with beautiful arches and a few square chhatris, taking one back to the ages of kings and maharajas. The main gateways can be reached via two staircases and are built completely out of red sand stones and the interiors are done in white marble. The prayer hall has an arcade decorated with seven elegant arches.
The inland mehrab on the western wall has been engraved with six niches corresponding to their arches. The main prayer hall of Moti Mosque has been separated by a lattice work screen made of marble for the women to offer their prayers. The square-shaped parapet has a beautifully designed octagonal tower and is covered over the head by seven chhatris. Every corner of the square has a dome-shaped structure made of pure white marble. The pulpits of all the mosques all over the world have three stairs but this is the only one with four stairs.
Moti Masjid was one of the most expensive architectural project of the Mughal Era and was built at an astounding cost of one lakh and sixty thousand rupees. Moti Masjid clearly exhibits the engineering prowess of the Mughal Dynasty.
Moti Masjid can be visited any time after sunrise and before sunset. The place is open seven days a week and even on public holidays. The entrance fee is twenty rupees for the Indian residents and 750 rupees for the foreign tourists.
Moti Masjid is very well connected by all means of transport. Moti Masjid is just 8 kms from the city Airport and is in close proximity to the city center. Located within the Agra Fort complex, Moti Masjid can also be reached via bus services which run from the Power House Bus Stand. People travelling on their own must take the State Highway 39 to reach Moti masjid. Exit the roundabout and drive on to the SH 62 for 650 meters. Take a roundabout at the 1st exit which will be after another 650 meters. The destination will be on the left.