About Mecca Masjid
Mecca Masjid, which is located on the south of the Musi River, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in India. It is one of the heritage sites, located in the old city, very near to Charminar, an iconic symbol of Hyderabad city. A preferred destination of Lakhs of Muslim pilgrims, the mosque was commissioned in 1614.
Legend states that Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah invited devout religious leaders for the foundation ceremony of the Mecca Masjid with a caveat that he alone, who never missed his prayers, will be eligible to lay the foundation stone. As no one showed up, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah himself laid the foundation of Mecca Masjid. It is said that the emperor never missed his midnight prayer from his 12th year onwards.
The construction got temporarily abandoned after the death of the emperor Quli Qutub Shah.The massive construction continued under the rule of Abdullah Shah and Tani Shah till 1687. Aurangazeb, who conquered the Golconda kingdom in 1694, completed the construction of the Mecca Masjid.The monument is a visual treat to the novice and an architect student to appreciate and admire the pagodas, marble mausoleums, water bodies, vast arches, and black benches.
The Mosque contains an enormous prayer hall and graves of most Asaf Jahi rulers.Visitors passing through the gateway leading to the entrance of the court come across a huge pond, a cascading water fountain, and 2 black stone benches. Locals have an interesting story to narrate about the magic effect of these benches. They state that whosoever sits on these benches will return one day to sit at the same spot again.
How to Reach Mecca Masjid
-Tourists can reach Mecca Masjid from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad, either by Bus, Cab or private taxi. The road distance between Airport and Mosque is 23 km.
- APSRTC Airport cruiser transports passengers from Rajiv Gandhi International airport to Mecca Masjid in 1 hr 30 minutes. The fare ranges between Rs. 250 – Rs. 490. APSRTC plies ordinary public buses from shamshabad to Mecca Masjid.
- Online Cab services are the fastest mode of transport and ferry passengers in 20- 30 minutes. They charge Rs. 350 onwards depending on the type of vehicle and no. of passengers.
- Visitors can travel from the airport to Mecca Masjid by engaging private taxis too. The tariff is between Rs. 550 - 750. The time of travel is 20 -30 minutes.
What Not to Miss at Mecca Masjid
Places to Visit near Mecca Masjid
1. Charminar (0.2 km): Charminar, the iconic monument of Hyderabad situated at the center of the Hyderabad city, is built to commemorate the end of the plague. The 400-year-old building, built by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591, is an example of Indo-Islamic architecture. Charminar built with granite and lime-mortar has a square base with each side admeasuring 20 m. The four arches of the structure open to four different streets with each arch measuring 11 m wide and 20 m in height. The 56 m high minarets built into the main structure, which houses 2 balconies, end with a small dome. There is a spiral staircase with 149 steps and 12 landings inside each minaret for visitors to climb up and have a picturesque view of the city.
2. Purani Haveli (1.5 km): Purani Haveli is a palace constructed by the second Nizam, Ali Khan Bahadur, for his son Nawab Sikander Jah. The U-shaped structure, with single storied central complex and 2 double storied oblong buildings on either side depicts the 18th-century European architecture complimenting Indian style courtyards. The striking feature of this palace is the construction of the world’s longest wardrobe, which can hold 730 pairs of Royal attires.
3. Museum: Nizam’s Museum situated in this haveli houses captivating collection of souvenirs and artifacts of the Last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan. A golden throne, gold tiffin box adorned with diamonds, golden daggers, ivory casket, silver perfume box, diamond-embellished teacups, 1930 Rolls Royce, Jaguar Mark V, etc.
4. Salar Jung Museum (1.6 km): The Museum opened to the public by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India on 16 Dec 1951, is a repository of rare art pieces and antiques of not only Indian origin but of European, Middle Eastern, and Far Eastern origins, collected by 3 generations of Salar Jung family. The 2- storeyed Museum with 38 galleries spread over 10 acres of land houses approximately 43000 art pieces, 9000 manuscripts, 47000 printed books. The foremost attraction of the Salar Jung Museum is the 19th British chiming clock.
5. Nehru Zoological Park (5.2 km): The Park opened in 1963 is spread over an area of 380 acres. It houses 1500 species of birds, mammalians, and reptiles in their natural habitats.
The visitors can enjoy watching animals such as Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion, Indian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Panther, Indian Bison, Sloth Bear, etc on their safari tours conducted by Zoo authorities. The 600-acre Mir Alam Tank, which is located near the Zoo, with its multiple embankments, provide habitat to thousands of migratory birds.
The Zoo management morphs the day into night in the nocturnal chamber to keep nocturnal animals like Fruit bats, Slender Loris’, Civets, Leopard Cats, Hedgehogs, Owls, Chimpanzees, and Giraffes active during the people’s visit. Other attractions in the Zoo include train, aquarium, dino park, butterfly park, tortoise house, and a natural history museum.
6. Golconda (10 km): It is a very popular and captivating monument almost synonymous with the identity of Hyderabad just like Charminar. A tour to Hyderabad is incomplete without a visit to Golconda. The unparalleled beauty, brilliant engineering work, and alluring architecture of this mammoth monument is a visual treat to the eyes. The acoustic system employed at the fort speaks volumes of the engineering skills of the people of that period.
7. Qutub Shahi Tombs (11 km): The Qutub Shahi tombs located near Golconda Fort consists of resting places of 7 Qutub Shahi sovereigns. The tombs showcase a confluence of various architectural styles such as Hindu, Pathan, Persian, and Deccan. The regality of the tombs spread over a vast area reminds the visitors of the glory of the Qutub Shahi rulers. Ibrahim Bagh, the garden surrounding the tombs is a popular picnic spot.
Other Essential Information About Mecca Masjid
- Location: Laad Bazaar Road, Khilwat, Charminar, Hyderabad, Telangana.
- Price: Free- Timing: Open 7 days a week between 4:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
History of Mecca Masjid
The construction of the historic Mecca Masjid began in the year 1614 by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, the 5th leader of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty. The massive construction was supervised by chief mason Rangaiah Choudhary and engineer Mir Faizullah Baig.
This majestic mosque is named after the Grand Mosque in Mecca, as the bricks used for its construction were manufactured from the soil, which was brought from the sacred Mecca city.It is also believed that a hair strand belonging to Mohammed Prophet was enshrined in a room in the mosque’s courtyard.
A large contingent of masons numbering 8000, worked day and night to complete this gigantic monument. 500 – 600 laborers toiled for 5 years to quarry the single piece of granite, out of which 3 arched facades were carved out. It took 77 years to build the mosque. It was completed in 1694 during the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s regime
The canopied building inside the mosque houses the tombs of all Asif Jahi rulers (Nizam rulers) except 1st and the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan.
Architecture of Mecca Masjid
Mecca Masjid depicts the distinctive Indo-Islamic architectural stamp with its intricate minarets, pagodas, arched facades, and floral motifs, etc. It bears resemblance to the architecture of the Golconda fort and adjacent Charminar.
A most revered place for the Muslim fraternity, the humungous prayer hall which measures 75 ft in height, 180 ft in length, and 220 ft in width accommodates more than 10,000 worshippers at the same time. The roof of the hall is buttressed by 15 elaborately designed arches. While 3 sides of the hall have 5 arches each, the 4th side of the wall has a Mihrab.
The 2 columns, which are in octagonal in shape, that robustly support the mosque are carved out of single granite stone.The doors and arches display the inscriptions of the holy Quran. The Belgian crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the mosque increases the charm of the interiors multifold.
Importance of visiting Mecca Masjid
Mecca Masjid is the oldest and largest mosque in India. Apart from its impressive and imposing structure and equally elaborate designs, it is one of the most preferred cultural and religious places for the Muslim community. The sand from the holy Mecca used in its construction and belief that the hair strands of Mohammed Prophet along with other relics enshrined in the mosque make this place even dearer to Islamic society.
Tombs of all most all of Asaf Jahi sovereigns entombed in the mosque make it a historical site. Declaration of the mosque as heritage building signifies the archeological importance of the monument.
Places to Eat near Mecca Masjid
1. Hotel Shadaab (0.8 km): The legendary restaurant takes visitors on a gastronomic journey with its mouth-watering cuisines such as Mutton Biryani, Boti Kebab, Seekh Kebab, and Mutton gravies. Delicious Qubani ka Meetha as a dessert to sign off the scrumptious dinner.
2. Pista House (0.6 km): The Pista House is popular for the preparation and distribution of Haleem, which is the most sought after food during Ramadan festival. Qubani Ka Meetha is another specialty of this hotel.
3. Shah Ghouse: One of the oldest eatery in Hyderabad that dishes out delicious Khichdi with Keema Khatta / Char-Koni Naan with Nihari / Goat entails for breakfast and Hyderabad Biryani for Lunch and Dinner.
4. Govind Dosa (0.8 km): This street food vendor is prominent for Govind Dosa. The thin crispy paper-like dosa fried in loads of butter & coated with Rava (semolina) is served with spicy masala and sliced tomato. Tawa Idli and butter Idli are also worth trying.
5. Hotel Ruman (0.8 km): Situated near Chowmahalla palace, this restaurant remains open from 7:00 a.m. to Midnight serving traditional Hyderabadi breakfast, Irani chai (Tea) and Biryani & Tala Hua Gosht (beef) for dinner.
6. Nimrah Bakery: This bakery is very famous for its Chai-Biscuit. Crispy Osmania Biscuit, with its buttery–sweetness initially and salty tinge taste at the end, is a treat to the connoisseurs’. The other types of biscuits to try out are Tie-biscuit, Chand biscuit, and Khopra biscuit.
7. Bilal Ice cream: Bilal Ice Cream near Clock Tower, Mozzam Jahi Market is famous for seasonal specialties such as Mango, Chikoo, Sitaphal, and its signature dessert, Pan.
Tips for visiting Mecca Masjid
The following are tips for people visiting Mecca Masjid:
1. Visitors should wear long trousers and shirts.
2. Head should be covered at all times as a mark of respect
3. Since it is a religious place, tourists are requested not to talk loud or disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the place.
4. People are advised not to hurt the sentiments of the followers.
5. Women visitors are not allowed to go inside.
6. Mobile phones are not permitted to be taken inside the Mosque.