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…

City Faith - Hazrat Qutub Shah Chishti's Sufi Shrine, Outside the Election Commission of India Headquarters

City Faith – Hazrat Qutub Shah Chishti’s Sufi Shrine, Outside the Election Commission of India Headquarters

A pilgrimage by an office block. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] No one’s here. It’s all as quiet as a graveyard. The very air is suffused with a profound essence of utmost peacefulness. This can be the tip…

City Faith - Thursday Djinns, Feroze Shah Kotla Ruins

City Faith – Thursday Djinns, Feroze Shah Kotla Ruins

The supernatural encounters. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It looks like a festive place to be. Groups of women are dressed in shararas of various shades. Auto-rickshaws are packed with children holding on to orange and green ice-cream…

City Faith - Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani's Sufi Shrine, Old Delhi

City Faith – Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani’s Sufi Shrine, Old Delhi

A hidden landmark. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] This is the whole of it. This small room with pink walls and a white marble grave. The shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani stands unobtrusively beside the…

City Faith - Poet Kabir's Temple, Gurgaon

City Faith – Poet Kabir’s Temple, Gurgaon

Shrine to a verse-writer. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The gate is latched from inside, but you can open it by sliding your hands through the grill. And over the far end of the courtyard sits the bearded…