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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
The speakers visible in this photo are used to announce the call to prayer.
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.
Passages from the Qur'an are used as decorations and as reminders of the presence of God in homes and in public places, as well as in mosques.
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.
Magnificent banyan tree near Sona Bai's well.
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.
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 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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.