Ajmer, the blessed city of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is one of the most important cities in the history of India. Its secure position amidst the robust natural walls of Aravali range has a lot to make it the favorite national capital of the times bygone. There are many similar facts about the now forgotten city that only a few people are aware of. One such fact is the presence of uniquely named ruins of one of the oldest mosques in India.
Adhai din ka Jhopra, literally shed of two and half days, is yet another attraction of the city besides the sacred Dargah. It is situated on the outskirts of the town. Originally, it was a Sanskrit college but in the year 1198 Mohammed Ghori ordered the place to be converted in a mosque in the least amount of time
According to a legend, the whole of the great monument was constructed in 60 hours (equals to two and a half days). Apparently, most of the people do not agree with this tale and an alternate recorded story behind the name is chosen that on receiving such orders from Mohammed, masons decided to build a screen wall where Mohammed Ghori could offer prayers. It took the aforementioned time to construct this initial structure hence the name.
A yet more plausible anecdote is that the place, being the only Mosque in Ajmer at the time, was the most popular place for Fakirs to come together and celebrate Urs (death anniversary commemoration of their leader Panjaba Shah). Now, considering the two prime facts that the fair used to last two and a half days and all the fakirs took resort in the Mosque, the name appear most appropriate.
This tale gets more strength out of the facts that prior 18th century the place was simply called Masjid, and the first ever mention of its modern name and the onset of the celebration actually coincide.
In fact this is the rationale which is supported by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), the organization under whose control the place falls now.
The entrance of the grand structure has 7 six beautiful arches, the main arch being 60 feet in height. All these arches have rectangular panels with fascinating Urdu calligraphic carvings of quotations from Koran, making it a primarily Islamic monument. However, the interiors of the place tell entirely another story. There are more than 340 pillars in the monument and majority of them clearly show Hindu and Jain origins. All these and other features of the place make it one of the oldest Indo-Islamic architectures.
In the monument you can clearly witness the amalgamation of both of the great architectural styles. The Hindu part of the monument is recorded to be built around 1153 C.E., whereas the Islamic part is said to have been completed by the 1213 C.E. when the successor of Ghori, Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, added the final beautifying touch to it.
The place is mostly in ruins at present, even though it has been restored by ASI to considerable degrees.The marvelous monument is located at a distance of 0.4 km from Dargah Sharif and can easily be reached on foot.