Pearl (Moti) Mosque, Red Fort, Delhi - a fascinating structure built by Mogul ruler Aurangzeb

Moti  (pearl) mosque, red Fort Delhi, built by Aurangzeb Alamy
Moti (pearl) )mosque, red Fort Delhi, built by AurangzebAlamy
Among the dynasties of Muslim rulers of India, a few of them were treacherous to the core and had no tolerance toward other religions.  After the Khalji  dynasty of Delhi Sultanate,    Aurangzeb of Delhi Mogul dynasty and in the south (Deccan region and others)  some rulers of the Bahmani Sultanate and Muhammad Shah I of Muffaraid  dynasty, Gujarat got a bad name for their religious suppression. . As for  Mogul ruler Aurangzeb, Indian history hasn’t been  kind to the sixth emperor. He imprisoned his own father Shah Jahan and killed his eldest brother and Mogul heir-apparent Dara Shukoh  (20 March 1615-30 August 1659)
Emperor Aurangzeb  en
Above image:  Commonly known by the takhallus Aurangzeb ("Ornament of the Throne") or by his regnal title Alamgir ("Conqueror of the World"), was the sixth Mughal emperor. perhaps the last effective Mogul emperor, his reign lasted for 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707. Being a war monger, he almost emptied the Mogul treasury. He was never a secular king, Nor was he a humane ruler. ....................................   

1659) in a gruesome manner in public right before his son to the horror of conscientious Mogul nobles and gentlemen. He also had the audacity of  having presented  the severed head of his brother to his imprisoned father. A man without scruples he sat on the Mogul throne by shedding the blood of his eldest  brother and causing pain and grief  to his  parents and other brothers. His name became so intolerable that two years ago Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road had been renamed after India’s eleventh president Dr. Abdul Kalam, a rocket scientist of international repute.
Moti (pearl) Mosque,uilt by Aurangxed, red fort, Delhi, wikipedia.
The capital city of India Delhi that is  dotted with countless Mogul monuments of beauty and artistic wonder, but  none was built by ruler  Aurangzeb who spent two thirds of his kingdom's  revenue on war expeditions to the Deccan and other places where the Marathas had  the supremacy. Further, Aurangzeb left the city permanently in 1679 for military campaigns in the Deccan. His quest for victory against other rulers landed him serious trouble in the later years.
Moti (pearl) Mosque, Red Fort,
Not many  us are aware of  one of his very few exquisite monuments built by him in Delhi that throws a cool shadow on his otherwise devilish personalty. I bet not even  many Delhi wallas have seen it. Nor do they know where it is!!. Yes, I am referring to Moti Masjid, or the Pearl Mosque that lies inside the popular Red Fort.  Located to the west of the Hammam and close to the Diwan-e-Khas, it was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb from 1659-1660.

Pearl mosque or Moti Masjid, 1659, Delhi, IndiaGetty Images
Unfortunately, it is closed to the public as the  white marble mosque is  believed to be so fragile that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)  feels it should be safeguarded from  irresponsible people who purposely  deface the monuments with nauseating and vulgar  graffiti on the walls. It is said special permission is needed to visit the mosque.

The mosque, that is as white as ice is small, not a big one. Its dimension is 40 feet  by 55 feet. 
The small prayer hall  has  beautiful  marble inlays, but simple in appearance. The floor of the prayer-hall is inlaid with outlines of small carpets for prayers (musalla) in black marble. In the middle of the courtyard is a small, square ablution fountain. The courtyard measures 40 x 35 feet. The onion-shaped domes were originally gilded with copper. During the 1857 rebellion against the English company, the copper plates were stolen. The roof and arches have rich carvings that enhance the look of this mosque. This mosque was built by Aurangzeb out of necessity because to fulfill his spiritual needs, he had to go to  grand Jama Masjid all the way from the palace. The Red Fort palace complex built by Aurangzeb’s father, Shah jahan, had no mosque inside.
Being pious, Aurangzeb  wanted to have a private  mosque built close to his living quarters within the fort’s walls, just next to the hamams (Baths). The construction work on the mosque  began in 1659 and  completed  in five years. The construction cost was Rs.160000,00.
It was built for his 2nd wife Nawab Bai. The mosque was also used by the ladies of the Zenana.

It is to be noted that the Moti Mahal  located in Mehrauli, South Delhi is an imitation of the one inside the Red Fort. It was built for private prayer by Aurangzeb's son, the Mughal emperor Bahadur
Shah I (r.1707-1712), close to the Ajmere Gate of the Dargah of Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki,  and to  Zafar  Mahal.