Jama Masjid, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India, taken by Vernon & Co, 1912. The Jama Masjid (‘Friday Mosque’) is a prime example of the Islamic architecture within the ruined fortress city of Mandu in central India. Encircled by a 45-kilometre wall punctuated by 12 gates or darwazas, it occupies 23 square kilometres of a 634-metre-high plateau in the Vindhya Range. The area was first fortified during the sixth century and became strategically important to the Hindu Paramaras during the tenth century. The Muslim rulers of Delhi conquered Mandu in 1305 – renaming it Shadiabad, meaning ‘City of Joy’ – but it fell to the Mughals a century later, and it was under their rule that the Islamic monuments were built. Said to be inspired by the Great Mosque in Damascus, the Jama Masjid was completed in 1454. Constructed using pink sandstone, it comprises a vast courtyard bounded on three sides by columned cloisters such as the one shown here, as well as a huge dome above the porch. This photograph is attributed to Bombay-based Vernon & Co, one of many photography studios that documented British India at the turn of the century
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8 www.geographical.co.uk DECEMBER 2010