Every mosque prominently displays a clock. The clock reminds Muslims of the injunction to pray five times daily. This colorfully painted and decorated clock is located on a pillar just in front of the mehrab and notes the subsequent prayer time.
After walking up the stairs and through the arched main entranceway to the dargah, one enters the courtyard which leads to another set of steps and another arched entrance. Behind that doorway lies the tomb of the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, and a second tomb for the mother of the saint. Both of these tombs are sacred sites, important to pilgrims seeking help and consolation.
At this shrine, couples pray to the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, for his help in conceiving a healthy child. When the child is old enough, the couples promise tol return and make an offering of thanksgiving. This ritual consists of distributing sweetbreads equal in weight to that of the child. To determine this weight, two metal crates are balanced by a rope hanging over the limb of a large tree in the courtyard of the dargah. Often travelling from great distances, families dress in their finest clothes and bring many family members to share in this festive celebratory ritual.
Child lying patiently in the metal basket waiting to be weighed against the sweetbreads in the other basket. [For description of this Thanksgiving Ritual, see cbind0043.]
The child dressed in a beautiful peach dress and blue scarf sits patiently as her weight balances the sweetbreads on the other side, determining the contribution of her familiy to the community. [See cbind0043 for description of this Thanksgiving Ritual.]
Before praying, all Muslim worshippers must purify themselves by performing ritual ablutions. Mosques provide fountains or individual water spigots so that each person can carry out this ritual cleansing.
These women are holding their female and male children as they wait to perform the ritual of thanksgiving. Many women visiting the shrine note that the prayers of women offered at the dargah are understood to be more efficacious than those of men. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
The yellow gate area marks the entrance into the mosque and tomb of the Emporor Aurangzeb. Stalls selling various religious goods line the passage leading into mosque. Worshippers can buy plaques inscribed with Qur'anic passages, scale models and photographs of religious shrines, scarves, prayer caps (topis), and books, among other religious goods. The sign "STD, ISD" designates a long distance telephone booth.
Just outside the entranceway into the dargah, a woman makes and sells flower garlands for pilgrims to offer inside. At the next stall, green glass bangles hung from the roof are sold for the ritual performed at the tomb shrine of the saint's mother.
A couple has come to pray at the Tomb Shrine of the mother of Zar Zari Zar Baksh to petition her for help in conceiving a child. The prayers of women at these two shrines are thought to be more efficacious than those of men. So many women make the pilgrimage to pray at these shrines.
Sign in English and Hindi for the Tomb of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Behind this sign is a small sign explaining that anyone who vandalizes this monument will be subject to imprisonment of up to three months, a fine of up to 5000 rupees [more than $100], or both.
This sign in the courtyard of the mosque complex explains that this area contains the Shrine of the saint, Zainuddin, and the tomb of the son of Aurangzeb, Azamshah. The sign is written in English, Hindi, and Urdu.
These two metal baskets used for the child weighing ritual are connected by a thick rope positioned over the strong limb of a tree in the courtyard of the dargah. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
Outside many mosques in India, small shops sell perfumes and small ornaments. Before prayer, all must perform ritual ablutions to purify oneself. From an early period, perfumes have been associated with the idea of purification.
The niche in the wall, the mehrab, is placed in the direction of Mecca so that all facing the mehrab for prayer will also be facing Mecca. On the wall are the names Allah and Muhammad representing the creedal statement, the Shahada: There exists only one God and Muhammad is his messenger. Also, on the wall is the clock, a reminder of the 5 daily prayer times.
Family members wait to perform the ritual thanking the saint for helping them to conceive a healthy child.
Just outside the entrance to the dargah, a man sells bright colored cloths some with gold-embroidered prayers Pilgrims have these cloths blessed inside the dargah and then save them to be used as funeral shrouds.
Within a few yards of the tomb shrine of Zar Zari Zar Baksh lies the tomb shrine of his mother, also understood to intercede with God on the behalf of pilgrims. Women pilgrims often pray to her to help them conceive a child.
Within the inner courtyard of the dargah, just oustide the tomb of the saint, is a mosque where men pray five times a day. This mehrab marks the direction of Mecca, the direction faced during prayer. On the two plates above the mehrab, on either side of the clock, are written the names of the two most revered figures in Sufi practice, Muhammad and Ali. Written in gold underneath the clock is the credal statement, the shahada, "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."
The patron saint of this popular dargah, Muntajib al-Din, known best by his epithet Zar Zari Zar Baksh, is said to have come to this area of the Deccan in the fourteenth century at the request of his teacher, Nizamuddin Awliya of Delhi. The Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah in Khuldabad attracts hundreds of pilgrims each year for ordinary rituals such as seeking the blessings of prayer at a holy place. But to commemorate the urs, or death anniversary, of the saint, thousands of pilgrims travel great distances to participate in this celebration which is immediately followed by the commemoration of the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
At the Tomb Shrine of the mother of Zar Zari Zar Baksh, women tie glass bangles over the door lintel into the shrine room as symbols of their petitions.
A reminder of the Quranic injunction to pray five times a day. At 4:45 p.m., the next prayer time is posted for 19:00. This prayer, the Maghrib, is the fourth of the day to be performed just after sunset.
In the heart of the village of Khuldabad is the mosque built around this simple tomb of the last Mughal Emperor of India, Aurangzeb. During his rule, 1658 to 1707 CE, Aurangzeb expanded the Mughal empire through extended wars of conquest, mostly in the Deccan. In 1707, at the age of 88, Aurangzeb died near the city named for him, Aurangabad. According to his wishes, he was buried in the Deccan town of Khuldabad in this simple tomb.
Before entering this verandah area, men remove their shoes and perform the ritual ablutions before prayer. On this open platform, men from the community pray at the five designated times during the day.
A staunchly religious man, Aurangzeb enforced Sharia law for all, forbidding drinking and gambling in his realm, and reinstating the hated jizya tax on non-Muslims.