Dai Lado Mosque

This ancient mosque is located at the crossing of busy thoroughfares. Since there are one-way roads around the building, it is best to take Nisbet Road from Mayo Hospital Chowk, and turn towards Hall Road to the south.

You can view the modern entrance of the mosque in the middle of other structures, at the rear of which is located this old mosque, its lofty dome visible from Hall Road.

There is some controversy regarding the exact lifetime of Dai Lado. Latif places her as the wet nurse of Emperor Jahangir. However, Nur Ahmed Chishti's account seems plausible, according to which 'Lado Dai' was a midwife who delivered Shah Jahan, and rose to eminence during his reign. Shah Jahan called her Mai Lado, hence the alias she is remembered by. Shahjahanama (a chronicle of Shah Jahan period) mentions her as an extremely pious woman of the imperial entourage, who performed hajj during Shah Jahan's fourth regnal year. She was a devotee of Hazrat Salim Chishti, the celebrated saint whose sepulcher became the religious focus of emperor Akbar's new capital, Fatehpur Sikri.

Mai Lado built the mosque and a madrassah in her lifetime, building them in the midst of her estate and gardens, once known as Talla Muhallah (an area which encompassed the present Mayo Hospital, Serai Rattan Chand and Bharat Buildings). She and her husband were both buried in the courtyard of the mosque. After the death of her son, who died childless, the extensive property became waqf property and reverted to the emperor. However, according to Latif, the madrassah and mosque continued to function until the collapse of the Mughal Empire.

Kanhaiya Lal reports that during Ranjit Singh's reign, a Hindu jogi (mendicant) called Basant Gar occupied the mosque for 30 years. He established a shawala (a refuge) on one side and a thakurdawara on the other; however, during the British rule the mosque, for that seems to have been all that was left of Dai Lado's large estate, reverted to the Muslims—the remaining area having been taken over partly by missionaries, and partly for a medical college hostel.

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