City Faith – Mai Sahiba’s Dargah, Adchini Village
The mother’s courtyard.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Here you will meet Bibi Zulekha, the mother of Delhi’s 14th century Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The shrine is known among the devotees as Mai Sahiba ki dargah.
Bibi Zulekha’s parents arrived in the Indian subcontinent following the Mongol invasions in their central Asian hometown Bukhara.* They settled in Badayun, a town 150 miles northwest of Delhi.
Bibi Zulekha was married to Khwaja Syed Ahmad; his parents too were from central Asia. The couple had a daughter and a son. The husband died when the son was two. A few years later the mother moved to Delhi with her children. According to legends, the family lived in great poverty in Delhi – sometimes they had nothing to eat for days.
Bibi Zulekha passed away in 1250, long before her son became known as a great mystic. She was buried in her house.
The burial chamber has two graves – the smaller is of Bibi Zulekha’s daughter, Bibi Jannat. The two chandeliers on the roof cast a golden glow on the red roses that are offered on Mai Sahiba’s tomb. The marble jaalis are draped with white curtains. The heavy door is plated with silver.
The dargah has a covered verandah and a mosque, which has a framed picture of Kaaba on the Mecca-facing wall.
The courtyard gets packed every Wednesday — it is considered auspicious to seek wishes from Mai Sahiba on this day of the week.
One particularly nice thing about the shrine is that it is cleaner than many other Sufi dargahs in the city.
The kitchen serves yellow rice to devotees for free.
A notice board warns, saying:
“Beware from pick pocketers inside the holy shrine”
*Information sourced from Sadia Dehlvi’s The Sufi Courtyard
Where Dargah Sharif Hazrat Mai Sahiba, Adchini Village, Aurobindo Marg, Near IIT Flyover Nearest Metro Station Green Park Best Time Evening
The mother’s home