The Daily Post invites bloggers to participate in weekly photo challenges by prompting ideas with a single word or thought. This week’s challenge is ‘habit‘. Something that becomes customary, an everyday something which might appear mundane but sometimes behind that act, there might lie a lot of meaning and depth.
At the Dargah of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, pilgrims have made it a habit to tie prayer-strings to the trellis surrounding the tombs of the holy men buried there. You can read more about the Dargah here, here and here. The word ‘habit’ invoked in me the memory of the innumerable prayer-threads I have noticed on my visits. A regular custom, but one of deep devotion, of hope that prayers will be answered, of faith that someone is listening…
If you have been to Delhi but not visited the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin, you have missed something! Even if you are not a particularly devout follower of Sufism, this shrine would still give you a spectacle of how faith can indeed move mountains. But let’s begin at the beginning….. So the other day, together with a few of my friends, we ventured into the Nizamuddin area of Delhi. Some of the others in the group had already visited the dargah on prior occasions, and having heard so much about it and having watched it grow popular in travel shows and Bollywood movies, the rest of us consented it was time we earned ourselves some first-hand experience. Continue reading →
I have to share something crazy that happened the other day. I was driving around with a friend in Dwarka and if you have been to that part of the city, you’d not expect the kind of traffic even remotely close to what the neighbouring area of Gurgaon faces. So we happily took a turn believing we’d just cruise along, but lo and behold! What do we see! There is a traffic jam, but of a different nature… Continue reading →
A year ago around this time, on a sudden impulse, wanderfool and I hopped onto the yellow line of Delhi Metro one afternoon, and went to Chandni Chowk. At first we got caught up in the alleyways and just hopped from shop to shop, not buying anything, just taking in the hustle-bustle of the vendors, the fragrance of sweet and fresh ‘jalebis’, the sight of glitzy garments, faux stone-cut jewellery, and ribbons and shoes and bags and what-not! It was crazy frenzy all around and I’m sure it’s the same the whole year through!
Soon enough both of us were overwhelmed by the place and my friend suggested we visit the Jama Masjid close by. I had never been there, so I agreed at once! As we made our way towards the Masjid, we realised something was going on… wanderfool told me she had never seen so many stalls along this way, selling fresh and dry fruits, water bottles, ‘chaadars’, incense…and then it dawned on both of us at the same time – we had unwittingly chosen a fantastic time to visit the Jama Masjid – it was the month of ‘Ramadan‘ and pious Muslims from all over the city would congregate at the cardinal mosque of Old Delhi, say their evening prayers at dusk and break their day-long fast by partaking in the ‘iftar’. Continue reading →
Early last year I visited Stockholm, a picture perfect city with its numerous cafes and cobbled streets, museums and memorials. The many frozen waterways around the archipelago had just started to melt and people had started to come out of their homes more often to catch some sun. I loved how so many of its archaic structures are in use even today. The Gamla Stan, or Old Town, dating back to the 13th century still exists complete with many age-old structures like the Royal Palace, completed around the 18th century, the Den Glydene Freden, a 1722 restaurant that is still in business with unaltered interiors, and the Riddarholmen Church, parts of which date back to the late 13th century. I was enthralled how so many of the old buildings have been so well-preserved and are being used for various modern purposes, either as museums or renovated office spaces or refurbished restaurants. There is this old world charm about this city which makes one lose track of time, go wandering into a fantasy world of kings and princesses and Vikings…
Ornate arched gateways at the Red Fort; Photo: Animesh Pal
My first memories of the city of Delhi are from a trip a long time ago, when we halted there for a couple of days on our way to Nainital. And when I say a long time, I mean some twenty odd years. Of course, then the city was a different version of its current self. That summer wasn’t all that unpleasantly hot. What I remember most from that trip is when my parents took us to visit the Red Fort. The lawns outside were green and made for a welcome resting spot. We still go over the pictures from that trip… Continue reading →