Moti Masjid Lahore is one of the “Pearl Mosques”, is a 17th-century religious building located inside the Lahore Fort, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.
It is a small white marble structure built by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and modified by Shah Jahan Architects and is among his prominent extensions (such as the Sheesh Mahal and the Naulakha Pavilion) to the Lahore Fort complex.
The mosque is located on the western side of the Lahore Fort, closer to the Alamgiri Gate, the main entrance.
Moti in Urdu means pearl, which indicates the perceived rarity of the religious structure. It was an established practice among the Mughal emperors to name mosques after common names for precious stones.
Other such examples are Mina Masjid (Gem Mosque) and Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque), both located in Agra Fort and completed in 1637 during the reign of Shah Jahan.
Built between 1630 and 1635, Moti masjid Lahore is the first among the mosques named “Pearl”, the others being built by Shah Jahan in the Agra Fort (1647–53) and his son Aurangzeb in the Red Fort (1659–60).
Moti Masjid History
After the Mughal Empire, the mosque was converted into a Sikh temple and renamed Moti Mandir during the period of Sikh rule under Ranjit Singh’s Sikh Confederation (1760–1799).
Later, Ranjit Singh also used the building for the treasury. After the demise of the Sikh Empire, when the British took over the Punjab in 1849, they discovered precious stones wrapped in pieces of cloth and kept in velvet purses scattered inside the mosque along with other inventory.
The building was later revived to its original state and the religious relics were preserved in the nearby Badshahi Mosque.
Moti Masjid Lahore Architecture
Located in the northwest corner of the Dewan-e-Aam quadrangle, the structure is typical of the Mughal architecture of the Shah Jahan era.
It is completely built of white marble, which was brought from Makrana. The facade consists of vaulted arches and engaged balustrade columns with smooth and delicate contours.
Moti Masjid Lahore has three overlapping domes, two aisles of five bays, and a slightly raised central pishtaq or portal with a rectangular frame. This five-arched facade distinguishes it from other mosques of a similar class with three-arched facades.
The interior is simple and plain except for the ceilings, which are decorated and designed in four different orders, two arched and two trabetic.