In the Name of Antiquity… | Turkman Gate and Dargah, Old Delhi

Turkman Gate

Amidst several little-known historical treasure troves that the beautiful city of Shahjahanabad has to offer, is the quiet shrine a 13th century Sufi saint, the Dargah of Hazrat Shah. The shrine is regarded as the oldest shrine in the whole of Old Delhi, and is centuries older than Shahjahanabad. Located to the east of Turkman Gate, which forms the southern gate of the old walled city, this is the dargah (shrine) of Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani. No prizes for guessing, the Gate (although built in the late 1650s) itself is named after the pious Saint who died in 1240 CE.
Now I won’t blame you if you haven’t seen one of the 14 gateways to what was known as Shahjahanabad, amidst all the phat-phat sevas, rickshaws and cattle ambling along the narrow road. And in such a scenario, having spotted the shrine itself is out of question!
But once you do manage to reach the Turkman Gate, right next to it you will find the shrine of the man himself- Turkman Bayabani. It is not one of those grand shrines- say like that of Nizamuddin, but a very simple one. The saint belonged to a special sect known as Bayabani, believing in praying and living alone in a secluded place, close to nature, away from inhabited areas.
It is a little disheartening to see the oldest shrine in our city forgotten like this, without even a board that would inform you of its immense historical significance. But now that you know quite a lot about it, be sure to include it in your list of ‘must-visit places’ of Old Delhi the next time you decide to go sight-seeing!

P.S. Once you are done with the Gate and the dargah, do make it a point to see the beautiful Holy Trinity Church right near the shrine. The old dilapidated tomb of Raziya Sultan and the Kalan Masjid are other historic places to be seen in the vicinity.

See map for Turkman Gate here.

At Turkman Gate, The Dargah of Hazrat Shah
At Turkman Gate, The Dargah of Hazrat Shah
At Turkman Gate, The Dargah of Hazrat Shah
At Turkman Gate, The Dargah of Hazrat Shah
As per the doctrines of the Bayabani sect...aloof and in peace
As per the doctrines of the Bayabani sect…aloof and in peace

(This piece has been researched and contributed by Sanchita Srivastava, a history student at Delhi University and an avid writer)

11 Comments Add yours

  1. nomad says:

    you always surprise me 🙂

    I have been to Turkman gate. In fact, this yr started (1st jan 2013) with me visiting the 4 remaining gates of Shahjahanabad & Feroz Shah Kotla. But i didn’t know about the dargah or the church 😐

    thanks, will visit soon

    1. wanderfool says:

      Thanks nomad, glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you get a chance to discover these places on your next exploration 🙂

      1. nomad says:

        i guess it is evident that your posts becomes my to-do task.

        i started a new category of posts called clickO notes, check out the new post and try identifying the place (for once i hope to beat you in this :D)

  2. vishalbheeroo says:

    Hey thanks for sharing tit-bits on Delhi. was there last year for a short visit and I love the city. Will check out these places next time.

    1. wanderfool says:

      Thanks Vishal…hope you a get a chance for that soon! I went through your blog, too, and loved it 🙂

      1. vishalbheeroo says:

        thank you soo much::)

  3. Hello! 🙂

    It is my first time here. I am digging up your archives and having a grand time learning about one of those cities that has sooo much character! I have never been to Delhi the way I would like to. But when I do, I hope I will catch up with as much as I can. Thank you for sharing so much and for such awesome photos! 🙂

    I look forward to reading more 🙂

    1. wanderfool says:

      Hey kismi…thanks a ton for the lovely words. I do hope you get chance to explore this wonderful city soon….all its ruins and forts and everything.
      And hey- I just glanced at your blog- it’s so fresh and beautiful! I’ll come by often 🙂

  4. anwar mohammad says:

    I am aware about turkman gate and shrine as i was born there in was so preety that time but got busy day by day.still people live there as a family member and everyone celebrates all the festivals.nice to be a part of turkman gate.

    1. wanderfool says:

      Thanks Anwar….I don’t maintain this blog any more but receiving such comments from readers and fellow travellers still means a lot 🙂

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