Monday, May 27, 2013

Bhoolbhuliaya baba, tujhe laakh salaam!

Nestled behind the Qutab Minar, within walking distance from Mehrauli DTC Bus Stand, is the Dargah of the 13th century, Sufi saint, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. This is the venue for the annual Phoolwalon-ki-sair Festival.

Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtir Kaki, said to be in the same line of Sufi Saints from Ajmer Sherif, lies quietly in the dargah. People say about him, “You, love silence”, the “you” meaning to refer to the Sufi Saint.

The road, to the Dargah is lined with vendors and food stalls. And people, quintessential as they come. Unlike both Ajmer and the Dargah at Nizamuddin, in Delhi, the Dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar is quiet and not hounded by too many people, although, many from India and abroad visit him regularly.  

Women are not allowed inside the dargah and must be satisfied to pray through the exquisitely carved in marble, windows, which allow the women to see the dargah, without being visible to the men from inside. So yours truly too, joined the women and prayed holding the marble veiled window.

 The dargah complex houses graves of later Mughal emperors, Bahadur Shah I, Shah Alam II, and Akbar II, in an adjacent marble enclosure. To the left of the dargah, lies Moti Masjid, a small mosque, built for private prayer by the son of Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah I.

The Slave Dynasty ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Balban's tomb was constructed here in the 13th century. It is architecturally important structure as it is the first true arch in Indo-Islamic architecture. Another tomb, that of Balban's son, Khan Shahid, who died before he could be crowned, is also located nearby in Mehrauli Archeological Park.

A baoli or stepwell known as Rajon Ki Baoli was constructed in 1506 during Sikandar Lodhi's reign. It was used to store water though it is now completely dried and is now known as Sukhi Baoli (dry well).

The Jamali Kamali mosque was built in 1528,in honour of the Sufi saint Shaikh Hamid bin Fazlullah, also known as Dervish Shaikh Jamali Kamboh Dihlawi or Jalal Khan. The saint's tomb built in 1536 upon his death is adjacent to the mosque.

The Adham Khan's Tomb was constructed by Emperor Akbar in memory of his foster brother and general Adham Khan in 1566. The tomb, also known as Bhulbhulaiyan, as one could get lost in the labyrinth of its passages, it was later used by the British as a residence, rest house and even as a police station. Close to Adham Khan's tomb, lies that of another Mughal General, Muhammad Quli Khan,later it served as the residence of Sir Thomas Metcalfe, Governor-General’s Agent at the Mughal court. The Mehrauli Archaeological Park spread over 200 acre, adjacent to Qutb Minar site was redeveloped in 1997.

Much of the matter you have read above is thanks to Wikipedia. What is not possible to capture in words is the experience of the dargah as well as the old world feeling that go with this dargah.
My effort has been to capture that for my readers. Enjoy!