City Faith - Family's Ravan, Sector 14, Gurgaon

City Faith – Family’s Ravan, Sector 14, Gurgaon

A working festival. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every family is busy in its own way. While most of us are eagerly looking forward to Tuesday evening when Ravan’s effigy will be burned down with much fun in…

City Faith - Hazrat Nizamuddin's Chilla, Central Delhi

City Faith – Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Chilla, Central Delhi

A Sufi shelter. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s an escapist’s paradise. The chillah, or retreat, of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is one of Delhi’s most serene monuments. Here, the city’s iconic 14th century sufi saint lived, meditated, and…

City Faith - Temple Bells, Khan Market

City Faith – Temple Bells, Khan Market

Faith in commerce. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Just another evening at the Khan Market in Delhi. An important-looking man in white kurta-pajama and a black sleeveless jacket enters a luxury showroom, his gun-toting bodyguards in grey safari…

City Faith - Sufi's Tree, Old Delhi

City Faith – Sufi’s Tree, Old Delhi

Sacred greens. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] In the beginning there was the tree. It must be so. The neem is the first thing you see while walking to the twin Sufi shrines of Hazrat Sarmad Shahid and…

City Faith - A Sacred Tree, Shiv Shani Temple, Basant Lok

City Faith – A Sacred Tree, Shiv Shani Temple, Basant Lok

A leafy tree that is also worshiped. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru once famously declared that dams were the new temples of modern India. But now, with climate change, we might also…

City Faith - Radha Krishna Mandir, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

City Faith – Radha Krishna Mandir, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

Homely temple. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The very air is steeped in absolute mindfulness. The place feels so private that you fear you have gate-crashed into somebody’s residence. Such is the charm of Radha Krishna Mandir. A…

City Faith - Nane Mian's Sufi Shrine, Mandi House Traffic Circle

City Faith – Nane Mian’s Sufi Shrine, Mandi House Traffic Circle

The charms of a roadside shrine. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It’s easier than you think to experience genuine peace amid urban chaos. Just pausing at a Sufi shrine in Central Delhi does its magic. Pedestrians at the…

City Faith - Reading Ram, Ghaziabad

City Faith – Reading Ram, Ghaziabad

Life with the epic. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Pushpa Singh’s drawing room in a Ghaziabad apartment has been temporarily turned into a makeshift temple. She and her husband are hosting a Ramayan Paath, the continuous reading of…

City Faith - Mother Mary in Sari, Khan Market

City Faith – Mother Mary in Sari, Khan Market

Mother’s style. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Virgin Mary statues are normally seen dressed in white robes. But there’s a little-known church in central Delhi where she’s aglimmer in blue Kanjeevaram silk sari–draped especially around Easter. At this…

City Faith - Rickshaw Puller's Ram Temple, East Delhi

City Faith – Rickshaw Puller’s Ram Temple, East Delhi

His private shrine. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Rickshaw puller Sooraj lives alone in this city of millions but doesn’t feel lonely. Not at all. “I have Ramji with me,” he says haltingly this late evening in east…