Private mosque of the royal household
First mosque in the city
Built in 1414, this is the private mosque of the royal household. The red white sandstone structure is set in a lovely landscaped garden and was part of Sultan Ahmed Shah’s royal compound that stretched all the way to Bhadra Fort. For centuries the temple was restricted to members of the royal family and associated noblemen, only later on was the holy place opened for all to come and worship.
You may wonder why you find Hindu mythological figures in a Muslim prayer house. Sultan Shah’s mosque was built on the site of a Hindu temple and the mosque architects cleverly recycled some of the temple elements such as the intricate roof structure. Held up by an astonishing 152 interlocking pillars with Hindu mythological figures.
In the north east corner of the mosque hidden behind some pillars is a raised prayer chamber. This intimate space was specially created for the women of the royal court to pray and is called a Zenana. This unique feature you can also find at the much larger Jama Mosque.
Opposite you will find the Gujarat Club, the city’s first club that opened in 1888 and was the place to find the influential lot of the town. One of India’s most prominent leaders of the 20th Century, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was a frequent visitor here and it was here where he met Mahatma Gandhi for the very first time in 1916.