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Moti Masjid Agra

   The Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque is situated on the northern side of the Diwan-i-Am quadrangle. This mosque was constructed between 1648-54. The mosque stands on a high ground sloping from east to west. From outside the structure appears to be made of brick, but inside it is completely made of marble. This mosque was completed at a cost of three lakhs of rupees. 

Externally the mosque measures 243’ x 187’. The main courtyard which is nearly a square is about 154’ x 158’ and is paved with marble. In the centre of the court is a marble tank which is about 37’7” square and near the south-eastern corner is a sun-dial comprising an octagonal marble pillar. The courtyard is surrounded by cloisters on its three sides (north, east and south) which is about 11’ deep. The western side is occupied by the prayer chamber. The arcaded cloister is composed of twelve sided pillars and cusped arches. The cloister is protected by a chhajja on its three sides.

The main entrance to the mosque was provided on the eastern side, which is larger and beautiful than the subsidiary gates. This was approached by two staircases. Externally this gateway is made of red sandstone, but internally it is made of marble. Two more subsidiary gates were provided in the middle of the southern and northern cloister. Both gateways have an arched entrance and they were crowned by three square chhatris.

The marble prayer chamber on the western side is about 159’ x 56’ and is three aisles deep with an arcade of seven arches. Out of the twenty-one bays of the chamber only three have vaulted soffits whereas others are spanned by horizontal beams. In the interior a beautifully carved and inlaid mihrab has been provided on the western wall. Six niches have also been provided on the western wall corresponding to the arches of the façade. The pulpit has four steps, instead of the usual three. On either side’s chambers for the women worshippers was provided. They were connected to the main hall by screen of marble lattice work. The arcade was protected by a chhajja and above the parapet seven beautiful square chhatris was provided. At each corner of the prayer chamber an octagonal tower crowned by a marble cupola was provided. Similar towers were also provided on the north-eastern and south-eastern corners of the open marble courtyard in front of the mosque. Three graceful bulbous domes crown the prayer chamber. The central dome was a little larger and higher than the other two. The entablature over the front row of arches bears a long Persian inscription in Nastaliq inlaid in black slate.

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