Friday, November 4, 2011

The Nizamuddin Dargah

This is the mausoleum of one of the most famous Sufi Saints, Nizamuddin Auliya (or Hazrat Nizamuddin). (1238-1325).  He is the man our neighborhood here in Delhi is named for. He believed that you came closer to God through the renunciation of the world and by giving yourself over to the service of humanity. For him, his love of mankind represented his love for God. Sufism is one of the many "flavors" of the Muslim faith. I've come to admire many of the beliefs of the Sufis. Their faith, similar to the Faith of Christianity, focuses on Love. Their music is wonderful. Worshipers often represent love through art, music and song.
We took the kids and their Grandma to see this famous Dargah last night in neighboring Nizamuddin West. Every Thursday evening there is a small concert of Sufi music for followers, Sufi music aficionados, and the curious. It's free to the public and usually starts sometime after 6pm. Last night, I would guess at least 10% of the listeners were Westerners. If you go, men should wear long pants, and women should be covered - long pants, and a scarf.

The Dargah is the focus of the local mosque in our neighborhood. The mosque has been there at least since the 12th Century. The Dargah itself is from the 13th Century.
Many Pilgrims travel to the Dargah from very distant parts of India as well as the world because it is so famous in the Muslim community. There are special areas for prayers devoted to the sick, the demented, and a special Mosque for women. Ladies are not allowed inside Nizamuddin's Mausoleum, but can bring offerings, and may pray outside. 
All are welcomed here and are encouraged to listen to the music. The musicians and singers are from families who have made this music for generations. The songs are passed down from grandfather to father to son and have probably been played in this way since before the time of Hazrat Nizamuddin.

The evening was yet again, another wonderful and unique India-experience for all of us!


Praneta said...

Im Gonna be in Delhi less than 2 weeks.. Hope i get time to visit the Dargah..

Nice Post..!!

HouseBoy said...

If you're here on a Thursday evening visting the Dargah is definitely worth the effort.

Praneta said...

Awwwwwww.... i wish i could...!! Im already in Delhi... but wont be able to visit on a Thursday..
Would be busy with my sister's wedding..
May some other day..