City Legend – Meraj Ahmed Nizami, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Delhi’s greatest qawwal. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This winter marks the fifth death anniversary of Meraj Ahmed Nizami, the great qawwal of the sufi shrine of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The news of Meraj’s passing had gone…

City Faith – Urs, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Celebrating the saint’s death. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Urs ceremony, or the death anniversary, of Delhi’s 14th century Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, starts on February 27 2013. It will end on March 3. Urs means…

City Faith – Ghusal Sharif, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The long night of Sufi songs. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The Ghusal Sharif, or birth celebrations, of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century Sufi saint, was held on the night of January 8 2013. It took place…

Mission Delhi – Billi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

One of the one percent in 13 million. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He gazes down on the marble floor. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. Eleven minutes. He is immobile. Pilgrims walk around him. A few pat…

City Moment – The Woman’s iPad, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The beautiful Delhi instant. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One cold evening The Delhi Walla saw a burqa-clad woman in the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century Sufi saint. The shrine is in central Delhi. The…

City Moment – Heart to Heart, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The beautiful Delhi instant. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One winter morning The Delhi Walla accompanied thumri singer Vidya Rao to the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century sufi saint. Ms Rao was carrying a copy…

City Faith – Agha Shahid Ali’s Poetry, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia’s Dargah. [Poem by Agha Shahid Ali; photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] I Between two saints, he shares the earth, Mohommad Shah “Rangeele,” (evoked in Paluskar’s khayal) The beggar-woman kisses the marble lattice, sobs on Khusro’s…

City Culture – The Sufi Music Crisis, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The struggle for the soul of qawwali. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Dama dam mast qalandar. Qawwali, Islam’s sacred Sufi music offered in the shrines of the Indian subcontinent, is facing a moment of unease. It is best…

City Season – The Basant People, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The yellow of the spring. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every year as winter gives way to Delhi’s short spring spell, the Delhiwallas mark the shift in season by offering yellow mustard flowers at the shrine of Hazrat…

Photo Essay – Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Birthday Celebrations, Nizamuddin Dargah

Night of the committed devotees. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The 796th birthday of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century sufi saint of Delhi, was celebrated on the night of February 1, 2011. Forgetting their professional rivalries, musicians…