Like my every other visit to Delhi, I was getting bored and counting the days left for my departure. I never liked Delhi, to be honest. I don’t get the vibes there. Maybe because I don’t have any friend in Delhi or because visiting Delhi has always been associated with my daily hospital visits. Whatever. So I was there lying down on my bed, scrolling social sites. Suddenly, I realized that one of my best friends from school days is living there for almost a year now. I rang him up and then we planned to meet somewhere. That somewhere had to be someplace which is not too far from both of our residing places since Delhi is not a small city and you must have heard about Delhi ki traffic (Delhi’s traffic) which can be the real pain in the ass. We agreed on Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah.
Deciding the Destination
There are many reasons for deciding that place for our meet-up. Firstly, I always had an attachment for these kinds of places. Though I don’t believe in God and all, I feel a spiritual connection there. I don’t know what it is but it calms your inner demons. Secondly, I had been to temples, gurudwaras, churches but I had never got a chance to visit a dargah or mosque till then. And above all, this is the place from Sufi song Kun Faya Kun from one of my favorite movie Rockstar. This place added a whole new level of calmness and pleasure and Sufism in that song which cannot be described. So it was all set. It was 12 in the noon and we decided to meet at Central Secretariat metro station at 4:30 from where we were supposed to go to the Dargah together.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah
Google said it takes two hours to reach the designated place so I got ready and left for the meeting point at 2 pm with my younger sister since I cannot go alone anywhere due to my physical restrictions. I was there on time but Prabhakar, my friend, was taking too much time. Finally, after being 45minutes late, we met outside the metro station.
We were supposed to take a cab for the Dargah but the day was not in our favor. I booked three cabs that day which got canceled. Nothing like that had happened to me ever. I booked an Uber whose driver said that he can’t come so I canceled that one and booked another. The other driver was taking like forever to come. We kept waiting in front of Rail Bhawan outside metro exit for another hour. Prabhakar tried Ola twice but both the time the driver refused to come for no obvious reason. Finally, the Uber driver picked us up and we left for Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah.
I forgot to tell you, we thought of going to Humayun’s Tomb first which is on the way to Dargah. Both the places are at 500 meters distance only but it was already too late and we were afraid the entry would’ve been closed for the day so we didn’t stop by. We were at the Dargah by 7. It was so very exciting. I was so close to entering the Dargah that I had admired through a movie and a song. A guy showed us the entrance and there we were!
The Secret of kind flower vendors
The atmosphere was filled with the smell of flowers that shopkeepers were selling outside the Dargah. The smell of different types of meat was coming from the shops that were lined after just where the flower shops ended. As soon as we reached the place, flower shops’ owners started calling us to leave our shoes at their place. At first, we couldn’t understand why they are doing this because when people leave their shoes to any flower shop owner outside any temple, they make faces. Are shop owners from Dargah different from the one outside temples? When we started leaving to enter the Dargah after keeping our shoes safe at one flower shop, he insisted us to buy the flower. So this was the rocket science behind it. :p
We bought flowers and incense sticks and entered Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah. As I already told you, I have physical restrictions due to which I have to use the wheelchair. I wasn’t expecting it to be wheelchair accessible and it surely wasn’t. As soon as we entered, we had to encounter stairs. People around were helpful and helped us get through the barrier. The magical sound of Kawwali could be heard from a distance. We were lucky enough to make it on Thursday!
Kawwali is performed there every Thursday that we didn’t know till then. It starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00 to 9:30 pm. The atmosphere was soothing despite the crowd. We listened to some qawwali and went to the dargah of Amir Khusrau that was on the other side of Dargah. As always, I wasn’t allowed to enter any of the premises because I was in wheelchair and wheelchairs aren’t clean enough to be allowed to enter inside. Prabhakar and my sister went inside and devoted flowers. By that time we were tired and feeling hungry.
The tasty Dinner
It was late so we decided to look for something to eat first. We came out, collected our shoes and started looking for some good kabab. From what I had read about the Dargah, I came to know that there are two shops; Karim and Gaalib which is world famous for kabab. We went to Ghalib’s and had kabab and biryani. It was finger licking good! I had never had kabab that tasty in my whole life! And it was pocket-friendly too. Total paisa wasool (value for money)! If you ever visit Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah do visit this place for tasty kababs and other non-veg foods.
The Idea of Staying at Dargah
Before leaving for dinner, we had met a dwarf guy, whose name I forgot, who told us that the one willing to stay in Dargah can spend the night there. That too free of cost! He said that it is open to everyone no matter what religion they belong to. So we decided to spend the night there because, after pet pooja, it was already too late. I didn’t want to lose the chance to experience staying in a Dargah too. God knows when will I be visiting it again!
The trouble was keeping our shoes outside form Dargah and safe, obviously. The flower shops closed at night and they couldn’t keep our shoes. Someone mentioned about some kind of locker room that is available outside almost every big worship places. They keep your shoes safe with them and give you a token to retrieve it when you are leaving. We couldn’t find it. In hope that it’ll be at the other entrance, we walked to the other side. Finally, we found the guy who was supposed to keep the shoes.
Things You Should keep in mind
That old guy didn’t look pleased seeing us. One, because there was a guy in a wheelchair with a sleeveless hoodie and a bandana around his long hairs. Two, because of the guy, my friend, with Bhagat Singh kind of mustache. And finally a girl, my sister, in jeans and half t-shirt who was not wearing anything to cover her face or at least her head. From what I had concluded from an hour stay inside the Dargah that people aren’t supposed to come in half pants or capris. They are supposed to be in clothes which cover their legs and hands. And female visitors are supposed to cover their head as well, at least. They find these things offensive so better not do anything like such when you visit the Dargah.
So that not-so-pleased guy didn’t take our shoes and behaved like we shouldn’t go inside as well. We were not returning back to our home now, no. We had already informed in our home about out stay at Dargah. What we did was that we took a big polybag, kept our shoes in it and then packed it in my backpack that I carry with me whenever I go out which contains things that I might need in the emergency. Allah won’t mind this.
Another advice before you decide to stay here
Kawwali session was about to finish when we went back. We took a corner, unfolded our bed-sheet that I carried along with in-case-of-emergency-stuffs in my backpack and sat down. Few more thing to keep in mind when you visit a Dargah; don’t keep your legs towards West which is the direction of Ka’bah in Makkah (the direction depends on the place you’re in). And don’t keep it towards the Dargah as well. I know this for obvious reasons. 😉
After Kawwali session all of them got up and did their prayers. Now there were only a few people who were staying for the night. Most of them were the one who had to catch tomorrow morning’s trains or had to do some attendance thing that I couldn’t find more about. It was like we Hindus do when we pray our God. We ask things from God and promise to do things in return like going to some spiritual places once in a while or do some sort of prayers. There were people who came there for the well beings of their families. We three were the only people who were there for the heck of it!
And the night began
Some guy came and asked people where they were from to confirm there weren’t disturbing elements around (if you know what I mean). After he left it was so very peaceful! We were lying in one of the most admired Sufi shrines in India. I was so glad to be there. The pierced wall of the chambers by glass chandeliers and magnificently carved marble jaalis looked so beautiful in the gloomy lights and the rose scented atmosphere. It wasn’t before that time I felt so serene. I wondered the whole night how divine it looked from the inside! How lucky are the people who get to see this beauty from inside whose one little glimpse can mesmerize me so badly!
The Inside Story
I didn’t know the history of the Sufi. I don’t know it today either. Being frank, I can’t keep up with the historic dates. But it doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is the feeling that you can’t get everywhere. We went there just to hang around, to see how it looks like in real, how it feels to be there. And there I was feeling out of the world which I couldn’t feel when we were there a few hours ago due to the crowd and hunger. None of us said anything the whole night. None of us wanted to spoil it by talking about it or anything at all!
Both of them were asleep after what it felt like twenty or thirty minutes or so. From the facial expression, anyone could’ve guessed that they were having a beautiful dream. Don’t know when I slept counting the stars overwhelmed by the spiritual feeling.
I was woken up by the clear blue sky with a numbered stars which were about to be engulfed by the golden lights which could be seen at the horizon announcing the arrival of the sun. It was the first time in years I was seeing a sunrise. It was, to be honest, the first time for many beautiful things that happened in my life.
About The Author
Purushottam is an introvert guy who loves to travel as much as possible. He is a national level Para-Swimmer and avid book Reader. You Can Follow him on Facebook
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