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.]
In the courtyard of the dargah is this black stone yoni with a hole where a linga would have been attached. According to local legend, this dargah was erected on land that had previousy supported a Hindu Temple. The Muslim builders were able to remove the linga but the yoni base was too heavy and too firmly entrenched in the ground to move. The dargah was built and this Hindu symbol of female divine energy remains in the courtyard as a reminder of past history.
A senior qawwali singer is joined by other men to sing qawwals in praise of God, the Prophet, and Sufi saints. This was an impromptu qawwali performed with men who happened to be at the dargah.
At the entrance to the shrine, visitors are instructed to remove their shoes and sandals (chapples). The sign in English and Hindi indicates that while you are expected to remove your footwear at this shrine, the shrine takes no responsibility for their care. In other words, perhaps you might want to pay the man at the entrance to watch them for you. It's interesting that the sign is only in English and Hindi, not in Urdu or Marathi.
In Khuldabad, a town of many Sufi tombs and dargahs (shrines), the shrine of Jala al-Din, also known by his epithet Ganj-i-Ravan (Flowing Treasure), is a pilgrimage site favored for its miraculous powers. In the courtyard of the dargah is a tree said to have been planted in a miraculous way by the saint. Just outside the dargah is a spring-fed pond known as the Fairies' Tank (pariyon ka talab) which is understood to have healing properties.
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.
The senior singer, Taj Muhammad, prepares for an evening qawwali in the inner courtyard of the dargah. Men of the town join him to sing or to listen to the captivating melodies. In Khuldabad, qawwali performance is an almost exclusively male affair. Men sing and play the instruments, while others listen and offer money to the musicians. Small boys hang around the dargah during qawwalis, as well as at other times, to run errands or sit quietly and listen. Here, several foreign females also sit in the audience.
Taj Muammad, Khuldabad's senior qawwali singer in January 2003, left Khuldabad as a young teen to study and live with a respected qawwali teacher in Bombay. His Khuldabadi family had recognized his gift as he sang with the local qawwali performers as a boy, and so supported his move to Bombay to learn with a master, an ustad. In his sixties, Taj Muhammad was still singing the somber and spirited melodies in a clear voice, praising God, the Prophet, and early Sufi saints.
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.
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.
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.
On the wall of the masjid, over the mehrab or niche designating the direction of prayer is this blue-green plaque with the shahada written in gold lettering: There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet.
This oddly shaped but magnificent tree is said to have spontaneously begun growing when the saint threw a stick in the courtyard. Women tie colored fabric on its branches as a symbol of their petitions to the saint.
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.]
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.
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.
On the wall of this small masjid or place of prayer and prostration is the mehrab marking the direction of prayer and a green plaque with the shahada written in gold lettering: There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet. A clock designates the times for prayer and a carpet preserves a pure space for prostrations.
A senior singer plays harmonium and leads the qawwali by singing verses praising particular saints. Other singers, like the man sitting next to him in this photo, sing antiphonal or chorus-like responses to each of his verses.
Getting ready to sing qawwals on the verandah of the Dargah guest house, these local men prepare their head coverings and the harmonium.
View across garden pond to Golden Pavilion, built for Yoshimitsu, 3rd Ashikaga shogun. Island in the pond in front of pavilion.
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.
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.
These local men rolled out a white canvas cloth to create a pure space on this verandah on a cool afternoon in January to sing a qawwali concert for several guests. Qawwali songs inspire listeners to remember the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the lives of early saints of the Chishti order like Nizamuddin Awliya, and the Deccani saints, Zar Zari Zar Baksh and his brother Burhan ud-din, both discisiples of Nizzamuddin Awliya.
Magnificent banyan tree near Sona Bai's Well.