Sunheri Masjid

There are two Sunheri Masjids – both in Old Delhi. One, built in 1751 is just outside the Red Fort. Its ‘sunherapan’, which it got from copper gilded domes, has long gone. The other one, built 30 years earlier in 1721 is on Chandni Chowk – next to Sees Ganj Gurudwara. Unlike its younger counterpart, this one still retains the golden colored domes though they are in a pretty bad shape as is the rest of the mosque. Had it not been the golden touch, it would easily merge with the rest of the buildings and be ‘just another mosque’ which it actually is not.

The Sunheri masjid, which stands on a balcony with shops beneath, has been known for some wrong reasons in the past. The mosque was built by Roshan-ud-dualah, the treasurer of Mughal King Mohammed Shah. Roshan-ud-dualah, it is alleged was a notorious bribe taker.

Then later in 1739, Nadir Shah invaded Delhi. After the defeat, Mughals invited him to Delhi. All was fine till his men murdered some cows as a sacrifice. Religion has always been a sensitive spot in the Indian mentality. Slowly the matter snow balled and many of his men were killed. It was escalated when a rumor starting floating that Nadir Shah was poisoned. He then came out to see what was happening. Facing hostilities on Chandni Chowk he dismounted and went up the Sunheri masjid. Here an attempt on his life was made when someone fired a bullet. All this angered him and, he ordered a mass massacre of Delhi. As Mr. Shah sat watching on the balcony, around 30,000 people were killed through the night. Some historians say the number was 120,000. In any case it is counted as one of the bloodiest slaughters in the world.

 An old drawing of the mosque in its prime

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