Architecture always has the power to create a state of absoluteness, entirety, timelessness and magnificence and so does this mosque lying inside the walled city of Lahore accessed through the Delhi Gate and the famous Royal Trail that connects the Delhi Gate to the Lahore Fort as used by the Kings in their time.
The very first thoughts before entering a mosque is that a person is inspired by spirituality, inner satisfaction and search of soul and ‘Self’, one wants to liberate ‘beings’ from the morality and ethical approach of life that is considered to be really restricting and strict as well, his divine thoughts make him being more faithful and humane and his urge to spread the world these profound values and integrity is greatly enhanced. ‘Know Thy Self’, is the basic urge upon entering this great marvel in the history of architecture.
Entering through the main gate , one notices the marks of time the mosque had been through, the crumbling, decaying walls, the damaged ‘jaalis’, the bricks peeking through the plaster, a thin layer of black silt covering the walls. Is that all? No, not really. Well apart from the decay and marks of the centuries on the face of the mosque, it still represents the richness of color, patterns, tradition, culture, diversity, use of materials, symbolic expression and what more.
The entrance chamber is followed by small shops on both sides where people used to sell things in the past, now they are either closed or being used as offices as part of the conservation process of the mosque. The entrance chamber exhibits the philosophy of life, the transformation of an octagon to a circle through a square under one roof that is it creates and establishes a balance between the worldly and spiritual life.
The various school of thoughts and religious and philosophical differences urge each individual to carve out his individual journey towards the profound and eternal satisfaction. The path that leads you inside is designed to intrigue curiosity and thus leading to spiritual light in the form of attaining the calmness of senses, the stillness of time and the intimacy it helps you to develop with our own inner ‘Self’.
Crossing the chamber one finds himself in an open courtyard with a pool of water in the center to be used for ablution and dusting the impurities off one’s self. The soothing effect of this tiny pool is immense and it calms the senses once you enter the courtyard. Standing still looking towards the entrance facade for two minutes and then turning around looking towards the prayer chamber facade for two minutes allows you to experience the silence, something beyond the worldly measures. The highly embellished and adorned minarets, facades of the mosque exhibit the diversity of the cultures the mosque has witnessed.
The use of ‘kaashi’ work is unique for the city, with such an exuberant pallet of color chosen for the mosque. Work in the mosque includes various patterns both floral and geometrical , the ‘tree of life’, various ‘ayat’ from the Holy Quran, Ahadees and the frescoes.