City Faith - An Unknown Mystic's Roadside Grave, Zakir Hussain Marg

City Faith – An Unknown Mystic’s Roadside Grave, Zakir Hussain Marg

The essence of an anonymous grave. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Most of central Delhi used to be a jungle. It is said that dacoits roamed between Mehrauli in the south and Shahjahanabad (aka the old Delhi) in…

City Life - Moorti Devi's Prayers, Bhimgarh Kheri, Gurgaon

City Life – Moorti Devi’s Prayers, Bhimgarh Kheri, Gurgaon

The family of a woman. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Even in times of distress, when talking about her situation, Moorti Devi makes it a point to present a pleasant disposition to whoever cares enough to listen. These…

City Faith - Bibi Fatima Sam's Sufi Dargah, Kaka Nagar

City Faith – Bibi Fatima Sam’s Sufi Dargah, Kaka Nagar

The world of a woman Sufi. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Women are allowed to enter here. The entry to the shrines of many sufi saints in Delhi are unjustly barred to women. So it is liberating to…

City Faith - Yakuba Begum's Iftar, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

City Faith – Yakuba Begum’s Iftar, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti

For God’s sake. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is her iftar spread — plain channa dal, fresh-cut fruit and samosas. The elderly Yakuba Begum has a thick roti in her lap. She is patiently waiting for the…

City Faith - Red & Green Colors of a Sufi Complex, Outside Jama Masjid

City Faith – Red & Green Colors of a Sufi Complex, Outside Jama Masjid

The lights of Sufism. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The blinking spotlight was put up just last week. It first glows red, then green. Do not confuse this for a traffic signal please. This is the new lighting…

City Faith - Shakuntala Devi's Shiv Temple, Paharganj

City Faith – Shakuntala Devi’s Shiv Temple, Paharganj

A tranquil pilgrimage. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Tranquility isn’t always easy to find in our teeming metropolis. But, of course, there’s recourse to temples. The Shiv Mandir in central Delhi’s Paharganj, for instance, is about as close…

City Faith - A Tree's New Life, Shiv Temple, Vinay Marg

City Faith – A Tree’s New Life, Shiv Temple, Vinay Marg

The consolation of a temple tree. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This tree seems to be long gone but what’s left of it is certainly not neglected. Sacred red threads envelop the stump. While marigolds and sweet dishes…

City Faith - Beyond Thursday Evening Qawwalis, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's Dargah

City Faith – Beyond Thursday Evening Qawwalis, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah

The world of sufi music. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] You can find it in the Lonely Planet and in most city guides. Even William Dalrymple has written about it in his Delhi memoirs. It also appears in…

City Faith - Sant Sangh Sabha Gurdwara, Kucha Chalaan

City Faith – Sant Sangh Sabha Gurdwara, Kucha Chalaan

The Sikh temple round the corner. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Those on the lookout for little-known religious landmarks should make a beeline to Old Delhi’s cramped bylanes. Sooner or later you’ll bump into a Sufi shrine or…

City Faith - A Late night Encounter with Mast Qalandar Sufis, Mehrauli

City Faith – A Late night Encounter with Mast Qalandar Sufis, Mehrauli

Trance world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was a scene with a timeless appeal. It would not have looked out of place even centuries ago. One night while walking down a lane in south Delhi’s Mehrauli village,…