Kaaba doors open for Public and rare inside view
The Kaaba or Ka’aba also referred as Kaaba Muazzama (Grand Kaaba), is a building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, al-Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred Muslim site in the world. It is considered the “House of God” and has a similar role to the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing salat (prayer). From any point in the world, the direction facing the Kaaba is called the qibla.
The sanctuary around the Kaaba is called Al-Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque).
One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim who is able to do so to perform the hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Multiple parts of the hajj require pilgrims to make tawaf, the circumambulation seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. Tawaf is also performed by pilgrims during the umrah (lesser pilgrimage). However, the most interesting times are during the hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building on the same day. In 2013, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform hajj was officially reported as 1,379,531. In 2014, Saudi Arabia reported having completed Hajj permits for 1,389,053 international pilgrims and 63,375 for residents.
The building is called by many names in the Quran and Hadith, such as Bait (House), Bait ul Haram (Sacred House), Bait Ullah (House of Allah), Bait al-Ateeq (Ancient House), Awal ul Bait (First House) and Kaabah. The Arabic word Bait is cognate to the Hebrew Beit as used in for example Beit HaMikdash (Holy House) and Beit El/Bethel (House of God). The Arabic word Kaaba means square or cube. The Quran also mentions Bait al-Ma’mur,[Quran 52:4] the House of God in Heavens which the Kaaba symbolizes, where according to Hadith the Angels perform Tawaf and Prayers.
Architecture and interior
The Kaaba is a bricked cuboid structure which is made of granite quarried from nearby Kyara Land. The Kaaba is approximately 13.1 m (43 ft) high (some claim 12.03 m (39.5 ft)), with sides measuring 11.03 m (36.2 ft) by 12.86 m (42.2 ft). Inside the Kaaba, the floor is made of marble and limestone. The interior walls, measuring 13 m (43 ft) by 9 m (30 ft), are clad with tiled, white marble halfway to the roof, with darker trimmings along the floor. The floor of the interior stands about 2.2 m (7.2 ft) above the ground area where tawaf is performed.
The wall directly adjacent to the entrance of the Kaaba has six tablets inlaid with inscriptions, and there are several more tablets along the other walls. Along the top corners of the walls runs a green cloth embroidered with gold Qur’anic verses. Caretakers anoint the marble cladding with the same scented oil used to anoint the Black Stone outside. Three pillars (some erroneously report two) stand inside the Kaaba, with a small altar or table set between one and the other two. (It has been claimed that this table is used for the placement of perfumes or other items.) Lamp-like objects (possible lanterns or crucible censers) hang from the ceiling. The ceiling itself is of a darker colour, similar in hue to the lower trimming. A golden door—the Babut Taubah (also romanized as Baabut Taubah, and meaning “Door of Repentance”)—on the right wall (right of the entrance) opens to an enclosed staircase that leads to a hatch, which itself opens to the roof. Both the roof and ceiling (collectively dual-layered) are made of stainless steel-capped teak wood.
A drawing of the Kaaba. See key to the left.
A technical drawing of the Kaaba showing dimensions and elements
Pilgrims performing Tawaf
Each numbered item in the following list corresponds to features noted in the diagram image, on right.
Al-Hajaru al-Aswad, “the Black Stone”, is located on the Kaaba’s eastern corner. Its northern corner is known as the Ruknu I-Iraqi, “the Iraqi corner”, its western as the Ruknu sh-Shami, “the Levantine corner”, and its southern as Ruknu l-Yamanī, “the Yemeni corner”. The four corners of the Kaaba roughly point toward the four cardinal directions of the compass. Its major (long) axis is aligned with the rising of the star Canopus toward which its southern wall is directed, while its minor axis (its east-west facades) roughly align with the sunrise of summer solstice and the sunset of winter solstice.
The entrance is a door set 2.13 m (7 ft) above the ground on the north-eastern wall of the Kaaba, which acts as the façade. In 1979 the 300 kg gold doors made by chief artist Ahmad bin Ibrahim Badr, replaced the old silver doors made by his father, Ibrahim Badr in 1942. There is a wooden staircase on wheels, usually stored in the mosque between the arch-shaped gate of Banū Shaybah and the Zamzam Well.
Meezab-i Rahmat, rainwater spout made of gold. Added in the rebuilding of 1627 after the previous year’s rain caused three of the four walls to collapse.
Gutter, added in 1627 to protect the foundation from groundwater.
Courtesy : Wikipedia