Badshahi Mosque (transformation in English: Royal Mosque) is the second largest mosque of Pakistan, located in provincial capital Lahore of Punjab. It was built in 1673 A.D. by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. The mosque remained the largest mosque of the world from 1673 to 1986, when it was overtaken in capacity and size upon the completion of Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. It has a total area of 29,867.2 square meters (321, 488 square feet) and can accommodate upto 100,000 worshipers. Now it is 8th largest mosque in the world in terms of its capacity for accommodating worshipers and 10th largest in terms of total area. Badshahi Mosque with its beautiful Mughal architectural style and historical background is a major landmark and tourist attraction not only in Lahore but in whole Punjab.
Badshahi Mosque was constructed in Mughal era during the reign of sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. He ordered the construction of Badshahi Mosque in 1671 A.D. For this purpose, he appointed his foster brother Fiadi Khan Koka governor of Lahore, specifically to undertake supervision of the construction work of the mosque. The mosque was completed after two years in 1673 A.D. Fiadi Khan Koka remained the governor of Lahore until 1675 A.D.
In July 1799, the Sikh militia Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered Lahore. During the Sikh rule the mosque was badly mistreated and damaged several times. The Sikh Maharaja used the vast courtyard of the mosque as a stable for horses of his army. He also used 80 hujras (study rooms) built around the courtyard as quarters for his soldiers and as storehouses for weapons.
In 1841, a Sikh civil war was provoked between Sher Singh (son of Ranjeet Singh) and Maharani Chand Kaur. During the war Sher Singh used the minarets of Badshahi Mosque to place light guns called Zamburahs to bombard the supporters of Maharni who took refuge in Shahi Qila.
In the middle of 18th century after British took over the Lahore, the British East India Company continued to use the mosque for military purposes. They demolished the 80 hujras (study rooms) around the courtyard of the mosque to prevent them for being used against British and rebuilt to create dalans (side aisles) which are still there.
In 1952 the British leadership in India sensed the increasing resentment in Muslims against the use of Badshahi Mosque for military purposes, so they created Badshahi Mosque Authority for restoration of the mosque to its original form and returning to Muslims.
Later in 1939 A.D. the Badshahi Mosque Authority started extensive repair work to restore the mosque.
Badshahi Mosque under Pakistan:
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Lahore became a part of Pakistan and so Badshahi Mosque with it. The restoration of the mosque started in 1939 by Badshahi Mosque Authority remained continue, until the mosque was restored to its original condition in 1960 with a total cost of 5.8 million rupees.
Later Fakir Family of Lahore donated relics of Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima and his cousin Ali to Badshahi Mosque. The Government of Pakistan used these relics to set up a museum inside main gateway entrance of Badshahi Mosque.
In 1993, the Government of Pakistan proposed the consideration of the Badshahi Mosque as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where it has been added to Pakistan’s Tentative List for possible nomination to the World Heritage List.