A Peep into the Sufi culture : A heritage of Delhi

20 students of class 7,8,9 of Heritage club with our coordinator Seema Mam went for a Heritage walk along with Ms Navina Jafa to Dargah of Hazrat Nizammudin on 28th April 2012 which covered Chaunsath-Khamba , Ghalib's Tomb , Jama'at- Khana Masjid, Tomb of Jahanara, Amir Khusrau's Tomb, Baoli and various places within the central complex.

The walk started at the Mughal tomb of Chausath Khamba, then proceeded to the tomb of Galib, Atgah Khan, and inside the main complex the walk covered the resting places of the sons of the Last Mughal Emperor, Hazrat Amir Khusrau, and the saint himself.

The Complex of the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin presents a dynamic flow of cultural traditions around built heritage. The walk imparted an introduction on Sufism and created in us an understanding of the Sufi landscape that emanated from the energy of the city saint – Hazarat Nizamuddin that reached out to various Mughal nobility, kings, queens, medieval historians such as Barani. We also got the chance to interview Khawaja Hasan Nizami Sami the Chief Head of the Dargah. We were also told about the role of various functionaries associated with a Sufi Center and poignant anecdotes on the power of the Sufis of the Dargah as well as festivities and changing environment of the Nizamuddin Basti.

The head also explained to us that what evolved here in Delhi was Sufism which represented that strand in Islam that borrowed heavily from the ethos of India , to produce a hugely influential and long lasting tradition. Several Sufi rituals , practices and beliefs that evolved in Delhi , have deep imprints of indigeneous practices eg. Annual day rituals of hindu temples were adopted for URS rituals like taking sandalwood paste in procession and washing the grave of the sufi and offering chadar is also adopted from hindu temple rituals. The shrines of Qutub ud din Bakhtiyar kaki in Mehrauli, Nizamuddin Auliya’s in Nizamuddin and Nasir-ud-din Chirag e Dilli in Chirag Dilli , represent a cultural continuity of nearly 800 years.
Amir Khusro of the Chishti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and Indian musical traditions in the late 13th century to create qawwali as we know it today.

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