Badshahi Mosque is located in the walled city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and is considered the fifth largest mosque of the world. In 1671, the sixth Mughal Emperor, Aurangzaib Alamgir, commissioned the construction of the mosque. It took two years to complete the construction of mosque. This mosque was built opposite to the Lahore fort and is the most famous landmark mark of Lahore and a major tourist attraction. To make it safe from the flooding of nearby River Ravi, the mosque was built on a raised platform.
Construction of Badshahi Mosque was done by using compacted clay and bricks. The domes of mosque were clad with white marbles and the other structure was clad with red sandstone tiles that were brought from a stone quarry near Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Aurangzaib’s foster brother, Muzaffar Hussain Fidai Hussain Koka, carried out task of construction supervision. In 1971, Muzaffar Hussain was appointed as the Governor of Lahore to oversee the construction of mosque by the Auragzaib Alamgir.
After its completion in 1673, it remained the world’s largest mosque until 1986 that holds the period of 313 years. The Persian, Central Asian, Islamic and Indian architecture influenced the design of mosque. Sang-e-Alvi that is also known as variegated marble is used for steps leading to main Prayer Hall and its floor construction. Seven sections are made in the Main Prayer Hall to support the multi-foil arches on heavy pillars. Three of them are built to bear double domes finished in white marble and other four are roofed with flat domes.
The interior of Man Prayer Hall is decorated with the inlaid marble, stucco tracery and fresco work. The exterior decoration was done with the carving of stones and marble inlaying on red sandstones. The walls are built using small kiln-burnt bricks laid in kankar, lime mortar but covered with red sandstones.
During the Sikh rule in Punjab in 1799, when Ranjit Singh took over the Lahore, the Badshahi Mosque was severally damaged as he used large courtyard of mosque as stable for his army horses. Hujras were used as quarters and military stores for his soldiers.
After Sikhs, British took control over Lahore and used the mosque for the same purpose as of Sikhs. They used it as military garrison but British demolished the 80 hujras surrounding the mosque courtyard that were originally study rooms. They demolished them to prevent the anti-British usage.
British sensed the increasing Muslim resentment against the use of Mosque as military garrison, so, in 1852, British set up the Badshahi Mosque Authority to supervise the restoration and return of mosque to the Muslims. From 1852 onwards, the repair and renovation of the mosque started. And today it is the second largest mosque of the South Asia and fifth largest mosque of the world.
The main prayer hall of Badshahi Mosque has the capacity to accommodate 55,000 worshipers and in the area of courtyard and porticoes 95,000 people can be accommodated.