Small older brother has accompanied his family for this ritual celebrating the birth and health of his siblings and cousins. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
The doorway opens into a closed circular room housing a sarcophagus to represent the tomb of the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh. A domed roof covers this tomb shrine. Men enter this room and pray next to the tomb while women pray at the doorway. Both men and women are touched with a peacock feather on each shoulder as a symbol of the blessings received by all who pray at this site.
The decoration on this blue and white charger was inspired by Islamic ceramics of the 16th and 17th centuries and influenced the decorative patterns used on 18th century Dutch Delft wares. 14 7/8 inches wide; 2.25 inches high.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Older siblings and cousins entertaining the infant while he waits for the weighing to be completed. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
Family members wait to perform the ritual thanking the saint for helping them to conceive a healthy child.
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.
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.
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."
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.
The saint, Jalal al-Din, is said to have thrown a stick which stuck in the ground and began growing into a tree. As this now magnificent tree is associated with the saint and his healing powers, pilgrims tie colored fabric to its branches as a symbol of their petitions. In particular, women who have been infertile come to this shrine to pray for the blessing of children.