It was during Ramadan this year and we, young ‘journalists’, lost and uninspired, were pushed out into the narrow bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk to do our first assignment. Just thought it would be apt to post this assignment – proud of it because it was a really great first attempt (teacher’s words, not mine!).
Old Delhi is home to many a fascinating place, one of which is the famous Chandni Chowk. Known particularly for its mouthwatering delicacies, this market is also famous for traditional ‘Muslim’ clothing, bangles, spices, temples and many mosques of which the most famous one is the Jama Masjid which was built in 1656 A.D. by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Just next to the mosque is a narrow, winding lane called Bazaar Matia Mahal. This lane houses big food joints like Karim’s and Al-Jawahar.
It is the month of Ramadan and walking through this chaotic lane dodging cars, people, animals and vendors selling pakwaan or delicacies, one comes across a towering yet inconspicuous structure. It is the Masjid Dujana, said to have been built by the Nawab of Dujana, a small district in Haryana. It is also said that the Nawab’s house was built at the back of this mosque. However no trace of such a structure exists. Mohammed Rahiz who deals in burqas and foreign exchange in the vicinity says that this structure has stood for around three hundred years. “Around 90% of the Muslims who worship here are sunnis”, he goes on. Pointing to an unusual and huge ‘V’- shaped structure on top of the masjid which he calls a rahal, he says that it is traditionally used to keep a Quran so as for reading.
Outside the entrance of the mosque, one man tells me that the mosque is about four hundred years old while another aged woman says it is older than the Jama Masjid itself. They introduce me to another old man whom they call Chacha. He, on the other hand, claims that the mosque in fact is about five hundred years old thus stating the obvious lack of information the locals have about this mosque.
The interior of the mosque is more captivating than its ‘weak’ history. From the outside it is made up of red sandstone, the interior is constructed with white marble. On the left is the prayer area, bedazzled with small semi-precious stones inlayed in marble and on the right is a small fountain which is used to cleanse oneself before prayers.
The Masjid Dujana is a very beautiful mosque, much smaller compared to the Jama Masjid but definitely worth a peek if one is in the vicinity.