Getting lost in Nizamuddin
high point of Delhi this year was getting lost in the Nizamuddin
quarter while looking for the tomb of the Sufi saint of the same name.
We started walking down the same narrow street where we had been last
year, past Karim's Restaurant and on through numerous narrow lanes,
sometimes shaded beneath cloth canopies. At first we tried mumbling the
name of the saint to ask for directions. One butcher seemed happy to
have us in his shop, but spoke no more English than we do Urdu. (This
is a Muslim area.) He pointed at our cameras and then at himself and
smiled, so we recorded him as a nice souvenir. After a while, Siv had
the idea of showing a picture of the tomb from our guidebook as a way
of indicating what we were looking for. We approached a young man clad
all in white, gown and cap, and showed him the picture and he replied
in excellent English, directing us successively to the right, then to
the right again. And that got us to the "entrance". In fact, that's
just where you have to leave your shoes. From there, we were led
along covered corridors with frequent turns in both directions.
The walls were lined by mendicants, mostly women and small children.
Unfortunately, such sites are common in India, especially in cities
we emerged into a squarish courtyard about 50 meters across, with the
saint's tomb in the middle. It was actually quite intimate in a way and
absolutely fascinating. I took in a garland I had been sold and placed
it as directed on the saint's coffin, as women are not allowed inside
|A narrow Nizamuddin street
|Public water source
||Jama't Khana Mosque
|Tomb of the Sufi mystic and saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya
would be great to go there on Thursday evening to listen to the qawwali
singers (the devotional music of the Chishti Sufis of the Indian subcontinent). But we weren't there on a Thursday. After re-negociating the
winding corridors and returning to the street, we took what we thought
would be a shorter way back to our waiting car and driver. It was
perhaps no shorter, but much easier to find, leading out to an
entirely different part of the main street, far north of where the car
was waiting. We'll try to remember that if there's a next time.
In any case, we highly recommend getting lost in Nizamuddin!
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