Cochin Jew

City Faith – The Jewish Woman’s Muslim Friend, Jew Town, Cochin

Hope floats. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] There are religious wars going on in the world. Muslims hate Jews. Hindus hate Muslims. Yazidis are hated by Islamists. Sunnis hate Shiites. Many hate Muslims. This is the story we are told daily, and it is probably a true story. And yet. One evening The […]


City Faith – The Little Eid Girl in Red, Old Delhi

The day’s outing. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s Eid today. The Delhi Walla spent the morning in the Muslim quarter of the Walled City. I walked along the alleys and also entered the homes of welcoming hosts. The most memorable aspect of the festival, however, took place out on the street. A […]


City Faith – Praying for The Children, Behram Khan Tiraha

Mother’s festival. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] They were performing a sacred ceremony in the middle of the road. One early morning The Delhi Walla saw about half a dozen barefoot women at Behram Khan Tiraha, a three-way avenue sheltered by a giant peepal tree in Old Delhi. There were also a few […]

Angelo Grossi

City Faith – Angelo Grossi’s Churches, Venice

Looking for the cross. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] He always walks with his hand on his heart. Angelo Grossi believes in what he calls Proustianity, but still, he attends the evening mass every Sunday at San Giacomo dall’Orio, which–to him–is the most Proustian church in Venice (see photo no. 12). He feels […]


City Faith – Shylock’s Synagogue, Venice Ghetto

Inside Shakespeare’s temple. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] More than four centuries ago, he must have stood week after week under this same chandelier to pray within these same walls. His unfaithful daughter must have stood in the women’s gallery upstairs. This is Shylock’s synagogue. The Delhi Walla is in the Jewish ghetto […]


City Notice – Basant Panchmi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah

The yellow season. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Listen, be there at the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya sharp at 4.30 pm, 13 February. The short-lived season of Sufi Basant starts from that great shrine exactly that instant. The ceremony follows the first day of Basant Panchmi festival that heralds the end of […]

St James'

City Faith – Midnight Mass, St James’ Church

Holy night, cold night. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The night sky was not clear enough to show its thousands of stars but the white moon glowed radiantly. That was hardly a comfort. It was freezing cold. The Delhi Walla witnessed the arrival of Christmas by attending the Midnight Mass at the historic […]


City Faith – Thursday Evening, Hazrat Turkman Shah’s Dargah

Beyond qawwali. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every respectable Delhi guidebook tells you to visit the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya on Thursday evening, aka jumeraat, the big night before the Islamic sabbath. That’s when the qawwal musicians offer their sacred music in the shrine’s courtyard, the guidebooks proclaim. The aforementioned shrine […]


City Faith – Hanukkah Candles, Paharganj

The Temple memories. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s the light of Hanukkah, the weeklong Jewish festival that enters its penultimate day this cold evening. The Delhi Walla spots the customary candles of Hanukkah in Main Bazaar, a market in the hotel district of Paharganj. The candles are mounted on the menorah. The […]