Etymology of Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
Designed by a Persian architect named Abu Bakr of Herat, the Adhai Din ka Jhonpra believed to have been built in two and a half days, and is thus named 'Adhai-din'. However, there exists another story which states that this structure has been so named since a fair used to be conducted at this very place which continued for about two and a half days.
History of Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
Historical accounts claim that further modifications were made to Adhai Din ka Jhonpra by Shams al-Din Iltutmish, the successor of Aibak. The beautiful calligraphic inscriptions manifested through Kufic and Naksh scripts inside the historical monuments are quite appealing. Presently, the major portion of Adhai Din ka Jhonpra lies demolished in ruins, except the area of the mosque which is known as 'Jama Iltutmish'. Built in 1198, as the inscription indicates on the 'mihrab', Adhai Din ka Jhonpra in Ajmer was an important part of King Visaldeva's kingdom. During the Mughal period this was the only mosque in Ajmer. The name was given by 'fakirs' who gathered here to celebrate the 'Urs' of Pir Panjaba Shah, which lasted two and half days. According to Jain tradition it was built by Seth Viramdeva kala for the Jain festival of 'Panch Kalyan' mahotsava in 660AD. The foundation stone was laid by Jain Bhattarak Sri Viswanadhaji. Originally there was just one building and was used as a college house.
It is said that during olden days, lessons in Sanskrit were imparted in the main edifice of this mosque. The pillars of this structure are similar to the architectural patterns exhibited in its contemporary Jain temples and Hindu temples. One will come across phrases lifted from the holy Quran on its walls, as well as a Sanskrit inscription present on the upper part of the main gate.
Architecture of Adhai Din ka Jhonpra
The roof is supported by 40 pillars and the interiors are embellished by magnificent specimens of Hindu architecture. It is square, 259 ft on each side with cloisters on all four sides. It encloses a spacious courtyard and four splendid star shaped cloister towers on four corners, surmounted by magnificent 'chattris'. The stone used is fine-grained pure siliceous stone, coloured yellow by iron. It originally stood on a high terrace with the back towards the hill. The temple of learning was on the western side and entrances on south and east. The interior consisted of a quadrangle 200ft X I75 ft. The college building is said to have been built in 53 AD by Visaldeva, the first Chauhan ruler. The cloisters extended 770ft, now it is only 64ft left; it was destroyed by Ghori's attack on Ajmer in 1192. Ghori's men added seven arches in front of the western side and a mihrab and 'mimbar' near it. The mihrab is of white marble and was added in 1199 AD. The screen wall was added during the time of Iltumish in 1213 AD. Daulat Rao Scindia was the first person to order for the monuments protection.
The three central arches are surrounded by three lines of writing, which are divided from each other by two bands of rich arabesque ornamentation. Two inner lines are Arabic and the outer line is square Tughra or Kufic in yellow limestone. The arches are said to have been constructed by Hindu masons and in Hindu style and design. It has a vast pillared hall 248 ft x 40ft, flat recessed roof and has nine octagonal compartments corresponding to the seven arches. five rows of columns, one row placed against the rock wall, only 70 pillars remain standing and are in Hindu style.
There were two minars, the southern one has only one storey and the northern one has two and a part of horizontal belt writing containing the name of Sultan Iltutmish in the courtyard. Rich in inscription, six tablets were found in I875-6 made of polished basalt containing parts of an unknown play 'Devi Vrigharaj' in Devnagari script.
Visiting Information on Adhai Din ka Jhonpra
The Ajmer Junction is the nearest railway station at a distance of about 2 km from the historical monument and the Kishangarh Airport is the closest airport at a distance of 33 km from the Adhai Din ka Jhonpra.