Situated in the heart of Leh, Jama Masjid is a beautiful double doomed and intricately carved and adorned mosque built by the Mughals in the 17th Century. It was Constructed in 1666-67 A.D, because of a treaty between Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor with a ruler of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal.
Since the period of its creation, the mosque went into dismantling and re-construction several occasions employing new procedures and techniques. According to the treaty, The Mughals had sworn to supply absolute security and protection to this King of Ladakh instead of a predetermined sum to be paid into Mughals annually. As a sign of the serenity alliance between Mughals and Ladakhi King, the Jama Masjid was constructed in the Leh city. Initially, the mosque was tiny in size but with the increase of Muslim population in the area, migration of traders and Muslims from Central Asia, the mosque was reconstructed to a more prominent mosque with Ladakhi touch in the architecture.
This is the largest mosque in Ladakh region and can accommodate up to 500 people at a time for the prayers. The mosque and nearby area are always crowded with tourists due to the presence of large market around the mosque, but the unique feature is that the entry to the mosque is only restricted to male tourists and women are not allowed in the mosque due to Islamic orthodoxy.
Jama masjid also has a Shahi Hamdan Memorial which is made in the memory of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani who was a very renowned Muslim Sufi Saint. It is believed that he has offered prayer in this mosque.
The best time to visit Jama Masjid is in the months of June to September as it will be summer in the region. It is open all days of the week from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Most of the time the Leh region is inaccessible for the tourist due to harsh winter of Leh which result in Frost and snowfall covering all the roads and blocking the routes to Ladakh. The period between June to September is also favourable because it is the time when roads and passes are officially open for tourists and offers the tourist a splendid and mesmerising view of the route and the mountains.
There are only two ways to reach is Leh, Ladakh that is air and road as rail network is unavailable in the region due to its geography and the severe climatic circumstances. However, the weather in this area is very unpredictable so it will be a trip of adventure, amusement and risks. The Manali-Leh route is closed in winters due to a high occurrence of landslides in that weather. The national highway to Kargil via Srinagar stays open for a considerable interval of time than Leh Manali Highway. Various roadways buses from Manali and Srinagar are also available.
The nearest two airports are airport Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee at Leh and That Nubra Army Airport. These airports have flights between Delhi-Leh and Leh-Srinagar. Even though there are daily operating flights from Delhi and Srinagar, but they are subject to delay or cancellation due to change in weather conditions.
Ladakh which is famous for its Buddhist population, monks and monasteries represent communal harmony by this mosque in the heart of Leh. People belonging to different communities and religious beliefs irrespective of their different culture, language and customs live together in peace and harmony. The mosque is the excellent representation of unity in diversity in India. It is a great symbol to represent the mixture of Indo-Tibetian and Islamic culture. Jama Masjid attracts the tourist with different communities to intermix within for understanding each other’s way of living and learning.
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