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Nizamuddin's Dargah

A Dargah is a shrine to a Muslim Saint.  Saints are part of the Sufi sects of Islam, who believe the route to God is through individuals looking inwards rather than outwards and use music, dance, literature as vehicles for religious practice.  They believe that their saints were able to establish contact with God and are one step below Prophets.  The tombs of saints are a source of spiritual power and good luck, so will visit a shrine with wishes and prayers.  Some Muslims see the Sufi practices as un-Koranic.  

Sheikh Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya was born in Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan) in 1238 and became a member of the Christi order of Sufism.  He showed very early promise when studying the Koran as a child, as a young man he became a disciple of Baba Farid in Ajodhan (in modern day Pakistan), before at the age of 30 feeling the call of God he moved to Ghiyaspur.  This was a small village in the Delhi region and is now known as Nizamuddin village and is within the city of Delhi.

Nizamuddin spent his time preaching and praying and was known for his great compassion and prophesies.  He provided food to any who visited his home, whatever their religion. He lived in Delhi for 60 years until his death in 1325 at the age of 83, which was a long life in those days.  During his time in Delhi there were nine different rulers across three Dynasties.  Sometimes he had to tread a careful path with these rulers who were jealous of his followings.  His main dispute came with Ghiyasuddin Tughlak, over the use of labourers building his step well in the village, that led him to curse Turghlakabad.  He also prophesied that Ghiyasuddin would not return to Delhi while on a campaign in Bengal.  This became true when Ghiyasuddin's son murdered him outside of Delhi.

Nizamuddin's original simple tomb has now gone having first been replaced by Firoz Shah Turghlak (14th century ) and then in 1562 a nobleman in the court of Akbar added marble screens.  A sandstone veranda was built in 1652, though replaced by a marble structure, with pillars, in 1808 that remains today. 

Around the Dargah are many other tombs of followers and admirers.  These include Amir Khusro (1253-1325) who a disciple of Nizamuddin.  He is one of India's foremost poets and credited with the invention of the tabla, a type of drum and the practice of qawwalis (devotional songs) singing.  He worked in the courts of the Sultans of Delhi.

There are also the tombs of Jahanara (d1681) (daughter of Shan Jahan who built the Taj Mahal) who built the seventh city of Delhi, Shajahanabad; Muhammad Shah (1748) who ruled Delhi from 1719 and Mirza Janhangir's tomb (d1832), the eldest and favourite son of Akbar Shah II.


You approach the Dargah through a narrow lane lined with stalls selling flowers and other items for to leave for blessing.  The also provide a place to leave your shoes for a small fee.


















This is the first courtyard that you enter













Taken from the same position as above, but look to the right you see the top of Amir Khusro's tomb to the left, the red frontage of the Jamaat Khana Mosque built in the early 14th C and then in the centre a gold finial topping the dome above the shrine of Nizamuddin.











The ornately painted front of the shrine.














The tour group had arranged a group of qawwalis singers to perform for us.  They usually perform at the shrine on Thursday evenings which is the traditional main evening for prayers and devotions at the shrine.











There were a number of men helping to cool the audience with fans.


















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