Don’t let the name of the masjid fool you: although it’s called the Makkah Masjid, it’s not located in the city of Makkah but actually the city of Hyderabad, India! The name of the masjid might seem to be a misnomer, but it is called the Makkah Masjid because some of the original bricks for the masjid were made from the soil in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
The masjid was built during the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who was the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was the founder of the city itself and had architects from Iran to plan out the layout of the city. Among his many projects as ruler was the construction of the Makkah Masjid.
The building of the Makkah Masjid was a very lengthy process. It began in 1617 and was not completed until 77 years later in 1694 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who had conquered Hyderabad in those later decades. In total, 8,000 workers were involved for the construction of the Makkah Masjid. In fact, the granite of the masjid even comes from the same rock and took five years to quarry. Since completion, the masjid is able to accommodate 10,000 people, making it one of the largest masjids in India. It is one of the oldest as well, so the Makkah Masjid is listed as a heritage building of Hyderabad.
The design of the masjid is very impressive. Three of the outside walls of the masjid each have five arches providing entrance to the main hall. The fourth wall is blocked to indicate the direction of the qiblah. The main hall is 75 feet high, 220 feet wide, and 180 feet long. To put those numbers into perspective, that’s a little more than half of a football field.
The Makkah Masjid also has four minarets that have arched galleries and octagonal balconies. The minarets are each topped off by a small dome, which were included because of later Mughal emperors. The Qutb Shahi style however is present through the floral motifs and frescos on the arches. The interior of the masjid also has Qur’anic verses on the walls decorated with gold thread.
Near the Makkah Masjid is a large open-air market, which is a popular destination for those who would like to shop, and the Charminar, another significant monument of India initiated by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. Both are located a short walk from the Makkah Masjid and are necessary visits to get an enhanced experience of Hyderabadi culture.