The Mecca Masjid is the oldest mosque in Hyderabad and is situated near Charminar, Chowmahalla Palace and Laad Bazaar. The construction of Mecca Masjid was started by Sultan Mohammed Qutub Shah, but was completed after 77 years by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1694. A listed heritage building in the city of Hyderabad, Mecca Masjid is a remarkable structure built in granite with beautiful interiors.
Nearly 8,000 labourers were employed to build this imposing Masjid. As the visitors get past the main gateway and enter a huge court, a large pond of bluish waters welcomes them. On the periphery of the pond are two stone and slab benches and whoever sits on them, according to legend, returns to sit on them again.
The main prayer hall of the Masjid rises 75 feet above the ground, sufficient to house ten thousand people at a time. It has five passageways. The roof of the main Masjid has fortifications made up of granite boards on all four sides. The roof is supported by 15 elegant arches, five each on all three sides. The fourth side is blocked by a high wall to provide ‘mehrab’ i.e. direction of prayer towards Mecca. There are five intricately arched smokescreens which have been carved out of a single portion of granite.
There are also four minarets with spherical corners, arched galleries and octagonal balconies and a small dome above each. The domes at the apex of the Mecca Masjid were included in the mosque architecture by the Mughal emperors later. Inscriptions from the Holy Quran embellish many of the arches and doors of the Masjid. The floral motifs and frescoes over the arches display sculptural excellence and remind us about the emphasis given to details in the Qutub Shahi style of architecture.
The Mecca Masjid has within its premises the tombs of the Asaf Jahi dynasty rulers. The courtyard of the mosque has a room which stores some of the ancient and sacred relics and artefacts.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Mecca Masjid and Hyderabad is between the months of October and March after the monsoons. As the winters here are fairly cool unlike the summers which get very hot, this is ideally the best time to visit Mecca Masjid.
Mecca Masjid derives its name from the bricks used in its construction, which were brought from the holy city of Mecca.
A room in the courtyard of the Mecca Masjid is believed to house a strand of hair of Prophet Mohammed.
The Mecca Masjid remains open on all days from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.