Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

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Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

A must-see sight before you die.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One of the things to do in Delhi before you die is to watch the daybreak at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, the shrine of the 14th century sufi saint.

Embedded within a village of the same name (Nizamuddin Basti), the Dargah is accessible through topsy-turvy medieval-era bylanes. If it’s winter, reach by 5.45am, in time for the morning prayers.

Park the car in Mathura Road, next to Nizamuddin police station, and start walking. The usually bustling Basti streets are empty, save a rag picker or two. Avoid stumbling into people sleeping at the Dargah's entrance. Inside, candles are burning on a few unknown tombs jutting out from the floor. A pilgrim is sitting in meditative contemplation. The door to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s tomb is already open for the day. Sneak in to take a look (if you are a woman, peek through the stone jaalis for you will not be allowed in). Fresh roses are placed on the saint’s grave.

Built in the same courtyard and period, the Jamatkhana mosque, a few steps left to the Dargah, has a dozen odd people praying in front of its Western wall. Maybe it’s the pre-dawn darkness, or the moment’s sanctity, or the building’s historical worth or a mix of all, but the sights and sounds feel as illusionary as an early morning dream.

You are not a Muslim? No worries. No faith has the power to restrain its spiritual surge only to its followers.

Meanwhile, the black sky above the courtyard is changing to pale blue. Against this backdrop, the Dargah’s dome is looking as heartbreakingly beautiful as your lover’s teardrop. Take a last look. The courtyard is stirring to life. The magic hour is starting to fade. Beggars are waking, people are entering. Congratulations, you just lived one of Delhi’s best experiences.

Streets are empty except...

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The crowded entrance

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Candle on a tomb

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

A meditative pilgrim

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Inside the Saint's shrine

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Another shrine, of Amir Khusro's

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The Jamatkhana mosque gathering

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Good morning, God

Capital Experience – Dawn at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Really pious or just morning birds?

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The day is breaking

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The magic moment

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

A fire somewhere

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Jamatakhana Mosque (left), Nizamuddin Dargah

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The magic is now fading

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

The spell is broken but there's always the chai

Capital Experience – Dawn @ Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

13 comments:

Ramit said...

You're right. That's a must see.

Vimesh said...

Thank you so much for an refreshing post..and no 2 cents worth of doubt in this lines..

" No faith has the power to restrain its spiritual surge only to its followers.:

Gora Firanghi said...

Poetic.

ramesh_lalwani said...

Mayank,These are perhaphs best set of phoos I seen.I am tempted to visit Dargah at dawn to capture glory of the monument.Thanks.I thought you had shifted out of Basti ti Hauz Khas Village.

a n k | t said...

hey mayank, jus curious.. what would you say are must visit places in delhi if you have around 2~3 weeks... I have been going though yer archive and there's so much that its impossible for me to make it to all of em... I have a couple of frens with me who are willing to wander the bylanes of purani dilli but have no clue where to start.. :S

Arunabh said...

Another gem from Mayank.

Though I have never got an opportunity to visit a mosque I can surely say this must be an experience worth having. In fact most religious places are the best to visit in early morning.

@Mayank: The morning arti (called Kakad Arti) at Sai Baba temple in Lodi Road is worth covering also. It usually begins at 5:30 am.

Anonymous said...

Superb...! again... cover other parts of the city as well!

why do you never cover west Delhi areas so nicely? :(

Anonymous said...

This blog is getting so monotonous. I don’t get Mr. Mayank’s fascination with these 'dargahs' and 'bastis'.

binu said...

writeup is beautiful. but i didn't like 'if u r woman peek through stone jalis.'

Anonymous said...

which day of the week has the minimum rush in day time and at what time of the day ? First I will visit in daytime and then I will go at the dawn.

Rajiv said...

waaaaaaaalllllaaaaaaah kya naazara haiii...superbbb work yaaaaaarrrrrrrr.


muaaaahaaaaaaasssssss nd wo bhi on ur forehead :P:D,heheheh

Anonymous said...

@ rajiv

Quite a distinctive style you have of writing, but it is highly irritating and induces nausea !

Anonymous said...

is Gabriel Garcia one of your favorite writers?