A day at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

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I feel a strange, inexplicable connect at Dargahs. The feeling is beyond language, religion and and other “man- made” barriers. I have written about this connect with sufism many years ago on my other blog, a piece called “The Sufi Connection”. Today I write about a day at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah in New Delhi. About Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya:

The arched gate

Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is the Dargah of  Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya, a revered sufi saint of the Chisthi Order. Nizamuddin Auliya, like his predecessors, stressed love as a means of realising God. For him his love of God implied a love of humanity. His vision of the world was marked by a highly evolved sense of secularity and kindness.

The Main tomb of Khwaaja Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliyah

Sufism revolves around certain key beliefs: 1. Complete trust in God 2.Unity of Mankind, shunning distinctions based on social, economic, religious status. 3. Helping the needy, feeding the hungry and being sympathetic to the oppressed. 4. A bold stance in favor of Sema ( Music and Dance as a form of devotion) The form of “Qawwali” a form of devotional music, was originally created by one his most cherished disciples: Amir Khusro. – Source ( Wikipedia) So one Thursday evening , in May 2012 ,I decided to visit the Dargah for the evening Qawwali. This wasn’t my first visit to the Dargah. But it was special because I decided to carry my camera with me:) (even though it was a point and shoot at that time) also because today I wasn’t in a rush, so I could sit and listen to the qawwaalis in peace. The Dargah is located in Central Delhi in the Nizammudin area and is on the main road. Thursdays and Fridays are exceptionally crowded. There are many entrances to the Dargah and all along you will find shops selling “food for the poor” , ittar (fragrances), offerings for Khwaja ji ( Roses) , and Chaddars ( sheets to be spread over the tomb).

Maine ishq itar pehna ..main khushboo khushboo. Ab wo hi mehakta hai …mere bheetar har su 🙂

You are required to cover your head in the dargah complex and women cannot enter the main tomb area. However they can give their offerings to the priests. The tomb of Amir Khusrau, the disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is visited before Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah. Khusrau was extremely dear to Khwajaji. Khusrau’s contribution to Indian classical music, Qawwalis , Ghazals and poetry is remarkable. He originated the “Tarana” and “Khayal” genres in classical music and also composed various Classical Raagas. What may come as a surprise to many, these ragas  speak praises of Lord Krishna , a Hindu Deity, hence strengthening the Sufi belief of secularism. The qawwal group has taken centre stage. I find myself a corner to sit and click. They raise their hands while singing , in the form of a customary greeting “Aadab” , when they see me click.

The qawwali singer

The atmosphere is surreal. Mystical music sending ripples across your soul. You came here for asking questions. Your answers are right there, before you even asked. People tie threads on the intricately designed  marble jhaalis , praying, making wishes, while some read the Holy Quran.

Threads tied in the intricate jaalis. All of these are wishes of the believers.

The qawaals sing praises of the Almighty, citing about spiritual, mystic love. The love that connects the devotee with his supreme force.

The harmonium is one essential instrument used by the Qawwaals 🙂

The Indian Stalwart of Music : Mr. AR Rahman has documented a Qawwali “Kun faya Kun” in the Movie Rockstar. The song was shot in the Dargah complex and if you look closely you can spot the Chand Nizami Qawaal Group featured in the song 🙂 The Chand Nizami qawwaal group is a very famous Qawaal group and has sung for many Bollywood movies. Today another qawaal group sends ripples across the temple complex. Music is indeed a connect with the almighty. I feel goosebumps. The aura of the words and the music is beyond words.

The qawwaali in progress.

As they sing “Chaap tilak ” and ” Main toh piya se naina ” I move about capturing some scenes in the Dargah complex.

The beautiful chandelier at the entrance.

People send offerings in the form of money to the qawwal group, while they bless the kids who bring in the money.

The blessings 🙂
The audience
There was something extremely intriguing about this lady. She appeared to be waiting for someone. Or maybe the qawaali provided solace..
Kids and their innocent expressions!

As people listen with rapt attention, some lost in thought, a man fans everyone. My heart goes out to him. Because he is panting and sweating , just to make others comfortable in the heat.

The man who was panting and sweating while fanning others in the heat

What love is greater than the love of music? The love of humanity? The undying faith in humanity over religions? I sign off this post with a Sufi Rendition of Amir Khusrau called “Rang”, An ode to his master.It is recited usually at the end of qawaali sessions.

Singing the “Rang”

Aaj rung hai ai maan, aaj rung hai ri, Mere mahbub ke ghar rung hai ri. Is aangan mein aaj rang hai Aimaan rung hai ri. Mohe pir paayo Nijamuddin Auliya Jab dekhun more sung hai ri Ai maan rung hai ri Nijamuddin Auliya jag ujyaaro Jab dekhuun more sung hai ri Ai maan rung hai ri   Main to aiso rung aur nahin dekhi Nijamuddiin Des-bi-des main dhundh phiri hun Tora rung man bhaayo Nijamuddin” Today there is jubilation, mother; see how colourful it is! In my beloved’s house see how colourful it is! See the brilliance in the courtyard! Today there is jubilation, mother. I have located my mentor Nizamuddin Auliya, Whenever I look, he is with me, see! O’ mother, how colourful it is today! Nizamuddin Auliya, makes the whole world bright. Whenever I look he is with me, see! O’ mother, how colourful it is today! I have never seen such colour anywhere, Nizamuddin. I have travelled from land to land and searched. Your colour has captivated me, Nizamuddin.

The red sandstone inscribed with urdu verses.

P.S : All these clicks are from my very first camera 🙂 (Non DSLR)

23 thoughts on “A day at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

  1. Your words along with those captivating pictures! Oh My! All I want to say is “Maine ishq itar pehna ..main khushboo khushboo. Ab wo hi mehakta hai …mere bheetar har su “. *Rodies Salute*

  2. Very nice clicks. Especially of the lady in deep thought, staring into nothingness. Such moments attain a special significance in today’s hurried lifestyle where one is hardly able to take time out for any kind of introspection.

  3. There is something deep and mystical about Sufism that touches the soul. Have yet to make a trip to Nizamuddin on a Thursday for the wonderful music experience. Beautiful pictures.

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