City Faith – Urs Celebrations, Khawaja Qutub Dargah

City Faith – Urs Celebrations, Khawaja Qutub Dargah

Delhi’s oldest sufi shrine. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Reached via the congested bylanes of Meharuli, south Delhi, the shrine is entered through a broad uncovered pathway. Outside an old red mosque, sit the dargah qawwals. It’s a…

City Season – The Basant People, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

City Season – The Basant People, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The yellow of the spring. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every year as winter gives way to Delhi’s short spring spell, the Delhiwallas mark the shift in season by offering yellow mustard flowers at the shrine of Hazrat…

Photo Essay – Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Birthday Celebrations, Nizamuddin Dargah

Photo Essay – Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Birthday Celebrations, Nizamuddin Dargah

Night of the committed devotees. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The 796th birthday of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century sufi saint of Delhi, was celebrated on the night of February 1, 2011. Forgetting their professional rivalries, musicians…

City Faith – The Sufi’s Birthday, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

City Faith – The Sufi’s Birthday, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The night of the saint. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Delhi’s 14th century sufi saint, is being decked up with flowers and electric bulbs to celebrate his 796th birthday. The night of…

City Culture - Ramlila, August 15 Ground

City Culture – Ramlila, August 15 Ground

The annual multi-starrer Hindu blockbuster. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Totally Shakespearean. It has love, jealousy, greed, lies, betrayal, revenge, war, death and redemption. Ramlila, the 10-day play on the exploits of Bhagwan Ram, which takes place every…

City Faith – Eid-ul-Fitr, Shahi Idgah

City Faith – Eid-ul-Fitr, Shahi Idgah

Praying in the rain. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] It was the first time in the living memory of middle-aged Delhiites that rain fell on Eid-ul-Fitr, the Muslim festival that marks the end of Ramzan, the month of…

City Faith – Ladies Are Allowed Inside, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

City Faith – Ladies Are Allowed Inside, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Defying the repulsive tradition. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The shameful thing about Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah, one of Delhi’s holiest Sufi shrines, is that women are not allowed inside the chamber where the 14th century saint lived, died…

Sign of the Times - Terror Attack in Data Darbar, Lahore's Sufi Shrine

Sign of the Times – Terror Attack in Data Darbar, Lahore’s Sufi Shrine

Requiem for the dead. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] On the night of July 1, 2010, three suicide bombers struck in quick succession at the Sufi shrine of Data Ganj Baksh, or Data Darbar, in Lahore, Pakistan. 35…

City Faith – Shah Farhad’s Sufi Shrine, Bagicha Peerji

Death is beautiful. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The aroma of freshly cooked mutton biryani is wafting in the air. The old woman in white is whirling round into a blur. Two boys are lighting candles. Qawwals are…

City Culture – How I Got Drunk and Lost My Virginity in Nizamuddin Dargah

Trance music in Delhi’s most famous sufi shrine. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Every Thursday evening music lovers gather at Nizamuddin dargah, the shrine of Delhi’s 14th century sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. They wait for the Nizami…