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,…

City Faith - The Urs Qawwalis, or Death Anniversary Celebrations, of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Central Delhi

City Faith – The Urs Qawwalis, or Death Anniversary Celebrations, of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Central Delhi

The Sufi date. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Ranbir Kapoor. Rockstar. Kun Faya Kun. This particular actor and his 2011 movie and its chartbuster song, a qawwali, are what many of us think of when the Sufi shrine…

City Faith - Phool Waalon Ki Sair Festival, Mehrauli

City Faith – Phool Waalon Ki Sair Festival, Mehrauli

The October occasion. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This festival with late-Mughal origins carries a flavour of the fast-fading Nehruvian legacy. Phool Waalon Ki Sair, or the procession of the flower bearers, is one of those annual rituals…

City Faith - Durga's Leftover Paris, Matri Mandir, Safdarjang Enclave

City Faith – Durga’s Leftover Paris, Matri Mandir, Safdarjang Enclave

The goddess of the Paris Opera. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s France. It’s Paris. It’s Palais Garnier. Or. It’s India. It’s Delhi. It’s Matri Mandir. One day after the conclusion of Durga Puja, The Delhi Walla enters…

City Faith - The Ballad for the Eid Goats, Old Delhi

City Faith – The Ballad for the Eid Goats, Old Delhi

The gifts of sacrifice. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They all will die. The goats, as well as the occasional camels and buffaloes. The Delhi Walla spent a week walking in the Islamic parts of the Walled City,…

City Faith - Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah's Death Anniversary Celebration, Outside Jama Masjid

City Faith – Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah’s Death Anniversary Celebration, Outside Jama Masjid

The Urs of a mystic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The story of his life has long been forgotten, but his shrine in the Walled City continues to inspire devotion. Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah’s dargah lies just outside…