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…

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…