Khair – ul – Manazil, one of the most well preserved and finest mosques in Delhi, though mostly ignored. Maham Anga, the foster mother of Emperor Akbar, had it built in 1561, which was later on used as a madarsa.
Built in Mughal Architecture, Khair – ul – manazil means “the most auspicious of houses” or “the best of houses”. It is also a chronogram, so the letters of the name, when written in the Persian script, give the numerical value which is the year of its construction, 969 Hijri or 1561-62 A.D.
When I was in the complex, there was not a single person except an old Muslim guy who offers prayer, in spite of being a Sunday.
I felt dissapointed that such a great piece of architecture is being ignored by our public.
There was a hauz (tank) and a well as you enter the main courtyard which are used for ablution before the prayers. Rooms built along three walls were used for the madrasa. The mehrab (prayer wall) on the fourth faces Mecca to the west. It is decorated with stucco and glazed tiles in different colors. Next to the mosque is the grand Lal Darwaza (Red Gate) or Sher Shah Gate, which is believed to have been the southern gateway to Sher Shah’s city.
There is a story associated with this monument. It is rumored that a slave tried to kill Akbar, after his return from hunting and moving towards Nizamuddin Dargah, but the arrow hit a soldier in his entourage instead, who was hurt, albeit not gravely. Maybe Akbar’s short height came to his rescue!
All in all, I request all the budding photographers and history enthusiasts to give this place a visit. If you ever think of going to the Purana Qila, make sure you stopover at this mosque. You will not regret it.