January 9, 2010

Thousand lights were needed to lit this site - Thousand Lights Mosque, Chennai, India

Even though the majority of the people in India are Hindus, India is one of the countries in the world having the largest Muslim population. As India was ruled by hundred of years by Muslim rulers, you can find a lot of mosques all over India. I would like to write about one such important mosque named Thousand Lights mosque, that is located in Chennai city, the gateway to South India.

In 1810 CE, this mosque was built by a Nawab named Umdat-Ul-Umrah. For those who are not familiar with the Indian history, the Urdu word "Nawab" refers to the governor appointed by Mughal emperors. Before the mosque was built in 1810 CE, this site was used by Shiite Muslims to gather and worship in the month of Muharram. Later the assembly hall was built and also the mosque. It is believed that around one thousand oil lamps were used to lit the assembly hall and hence the mosque got the name Thousands Lights (Ayiram Vilakku in Tamil). However, there is another belief, according to which the lights were provided by the Indian National Congress to mark their first visit to the city of Madras.

Thousand Lights mosque is located well at the heart of the Chennai city. It is located in the famous Mount Road (aka Anna Salai) in Chennai. This mosque is so popular landmark, that even the surrounding area itself is referred as Thousand Lights. You can reach this place easily either by public transport or on your own vehicle, as this is located in the center part of the city.
The mosque has a wonderful architecture with multiple domes and minarets. The mosque is adorned with the quotes from Quran, the holy book of Muslims. Thousand Lights mosque is considered as an important pilgrimage site for Shiite Muslims.

Site Name: Thousand Lights Mosque
Site Type: Religious place for Muslims
Location: Mount Road (Anna Salai), Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: 19th century mosque; an important pilgrimage for Shiite Muslims

Happy travelling.

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