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Thousand Lights Mosque
The Thousand Lights Mosque of Chennai is a revered place of worship for the Shia Muslim community. It is located in central Chennai on Anna Salai Road. Thousand Lights Mosque is grand mosque appreciated for its architectural magnificence. Although the Shia community in Chennai largely visits the mosque especially during the month of Moharram, this mosque is open for all Muslims.
Built by Nawab Umdat ul Umrah in 1810, more than 200 years ago, the mosque still stands in all its grandeur giving succor to the thousands of faithful who congregate there for prayers and worship.
Chief Shia Ghazi Moulana Ghulam Mahadi Khan of Tamil Nadu lives in the Thousand Lights Mosque which makes the mosque a center for all religious and political activities associated with the Shia community in India.
The Thousand Lights Mosque was built by Nawab Umdat ul Umrah in 1810.Even before that the site on which the mosque is built was used by the Shia Muslim community to gather for prayers and worship in the month of Muharram. Then a prayer hall was built followed by the rest of the mosque
The name of the mosque came from the one thousand oil lamps that were used to light the assembly hall (also called Ayiram Vilakku in the local Tamil language). Another story that is associated with this unusual name is that when the leaders of the Indian National Congress first visited Madras, as Chennai was then called, they donated a thousand oil lamps to the mosque and to honour that incidence the name of the mosque has been given as Thousand Lights Mosque.
The mosque was built in the year 1810 by Nawab Umdat ul Umrah and showcases a medieval type of architectural style. The mosque has many domes and two high minarets which stand 64 feet tall. The walls and pillars of the mosque are decorated with the quotes from the Holy Quran.
The main prayer hall on the ground floor is for the use of men and there is a separate prayer room for women. On the second floor are two rooms known as “Dargah”, which are reserved as a shelter of Imam Hussein and Abul fazl-al-Abbas.
There is a Shia burial ground in the grounds of the Thousand Lights Mosque. Thousands of Shia muslims from all over India come to worship at the mosque making it a place of pilgrimage. The recent protests against an English Film which was considered anti-Muslim were also held here. For the thousands of Shia Muslims in Chennai and surrounding areas, this mosque hold sa place of great faith and respect.
How to Reach
Within the city of Chennai, the Thousand Lights Mosque is easily accessible as it is located in central Chennai near the crossing of Peters Road and Mount Road (Anna Salai). It is a well known land mark as even the surrounding locality is called Thousand Lights. It can be reached by public transport; buses, taxis or by private vehicles.
Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu State and has the busy Meenambakkam International Airport which is only 7 kms from the city. Many international airlines bring their flights here. The domestic airlines also connect Chennai with all major cities and towns that are on the air map of India.
Chennai has been the hub of Indian Railways since the time of British Raj. The Southern Railway division of Indian Railways has two stations in Chennai which bring trains from all over the country to Chennai.
A network of State Highways and National Highways passes through or touches Chennai on the periphery making it easy for road travelers to visit the city. Public transport such as buses and taxis are also available.