Islamic Shrines In India

Samiulla

By B S Ranganath

Happened to meet Samiulla Shaik, our family friend, recently. His strong knowledge of Hindu culture makes me wonder sometimes, that I too must put in efforts to learn Urdu and become competent to address Islamic forums.

This blog of course is an attempt to provide brief about a few Islamic Shrines, which he feels as important to be conveyed to the community, from the tourism point of view. I jotted down the matter explained by him, and before placing it here, assured him that he can keep on adding more information to this blog, as and when he feels it as necessary.

 

Hazratbal Shrine, Dal Lake, Kashmir

The Hazratbal Shrine is one of  the most important Islamic site in Jammu & Kashmir. The  significance of Hazratbal Shrine is that it houses a hair of the prophet Mohammad(PBUH).

It is located on the western shores of Dal Lake. The Hazratbal is thronged by thousands of people every year.

The main religious importance of Hazratbal Shrine is that it is associated with Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) & is the main reason that the dargah authorities allow the devotees to view the relic of Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) only once a year.

During this occasion a large number pilgrims are attracted to this shrine. The yearly festival (Milad-un-Nabi) attracts thousands of pilgrims from all around the world irrespective of their caste, creed and religion who join this celebration with an open heart and pure devotion.

The Hazratbal Shrine not only attracts people for its glorious religious heritage but also for its scenic beauty located in the Kashmir valley.

During the Mughal era i.e. in the 17th century when Sadiq Khan, a famous Subedar of Emperor Shahjahan, constructed a garden on the banks of Dal Lake and built a luxurious building by the name of Ishrat Mahal.

The history of the Hazratbal Mosque/shrine dates back to 1623 AD and later the luxurious building was converted into a prayer house with some minor changes.

How to reach Srinagar

By Air

Hazratbal lies in Srinagar and the nearest Airport is approx. 20 Km away. This Airport is connected with major cities of India. From the airport you get hire taxis or other means of transport to reach the Hazratbal shrine.

By Rail

The nearest Rail Head is either Jammu Tawi or Udhampur railway station. Jammu Tawi which is 300 Kms away from Srinagar and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with India.

It takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountainous road which passes through some beautiful spots and the famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India.

The stations are well connected with different parts of India. From these stations, you can hire taxis, private as well as the state government buses to reach this magnificent place.

By Road

Srinagar is the capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The city is well connected with major cities like Delhi (876 km), Chandigarh (646 km), Leh (424 km) and Jammu (258 km).There is good Bus service and Cab service available.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Mehboobe-Elahi, Delhi

Mehboobe- Elahi Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia was one of the most renowned and highly respected Sufi saints of India. The Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia is situated in Delhi the capital of India which is today one of the oldest urban villages of Delhi.

The Shrine has a history of about 700 years and is a spiritual & historical monument of international fame.

In his lifetime of about 90 years, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia had seen the reign of about seven emperors of India. He never tried to seek any kind of patronage or help from even the mightiest of the rulers. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia has said, “A Sufi must never go to the courts of Kings and must refuse to accept any kind of rewards or gratifications for his maintenance.” The Saint had fully devoted his whole life in the worship of God and for the welfare of mankind.

How to reach Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, Delhi

By Air

Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia shrine is located in the hearth of the capital city Delhi. The distance from IGI Airport is 22 Kms. The Nearest Metro Station to reach the shrine is JLN Stadium which is just 1.5 Km. The Indira Gandhi International Airport is 22 kilometers away from the city centre. There are regular DTC (Delhi Transport Service) buses which operate regularly from outside the airport towards the city and the ISBT bus stand and the New Delhi Railway Station. The Delhi Airport Metro Express runs from the New Delhi Railway Station to Dwarka, crossing the airport along the way. The metro train service runs every 20 minutes and is a quick and convenient way to get to the city. You can also hire a pre-paid taxi from government registered counters at the airport, which would take you 40-50 minutes to get to the city centre depending on traffic.

By Train

Delhi is the headquarters of the Northern Railways and there are five major railway stations in Delhi, namely the The New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Anand Vihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla. The New Delhi Railway Station is one through which most trains arrive and depart from Delhi and is located in Paharganj, near Connaught Place. There is a pre-paid taxi booth outside the railway station and you can take a taxi from here to go further into the city.

The Delhi Metro line 2 also connects the New Delhi Railway Station to other parts of the city and is a convenient way to get into the city. There are also DTC buses (green and red colored buses) & auto rickshaws which can take you into the city at a reasonable price.

By Road

Delhi City is well connected by bus to cities like Jaipur, Agra, Alwar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala, Dehradun & others parts of North India. The main bus stations in Delhi are the Interstate Bus Terminals, located at Kashmiri Gate, Anand Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan.

Sheikh Salim Chisti’s Dargah at Fatehpur Sikri, Dadupura, Uttar Pradesh

Commissioned by the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar, the white marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti it is one of the most significant Sufi shrines in south Asia region and is considered as a very sacred place among Muslims.

Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar the Great Mughal Emperor which is situated 26 miles west of Agra & it was built at the orders of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

The mausoleum was constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, who foretold the birth of his son, who was named Prince Salim after him and later succeeded Akbar to the throne of the Mughal Empire, as Jahangir.

Salim Chisti was the descendant of the famous Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti whose tomb is in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

How to reach Fatehpur Sikri

By Air

The nearest airport is at Agra which is 7 km away from the city center and 3 km from Idgah bus station. It takes 40 minutes from Delhi to Agra. From the Agra airport one can take the public transport or hire taxis, auto rickshaws to reach Fatehpur Sikri.

By Rail

Fatehpur Sikri is well connected by railways. The nearest major railway station is the Agra Cantonment station. From Agra cantonment you can hire taxis, tempos, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws to reach the Salim Chishti’s shrine.

Also from Agra Fort Railway Station to reach Fatehpur Sikri one can catch Kota Passenger train.  Fatehpur Sikri has a small train station and train takes approx. one hour to reach.

Agra is well connected via railways with the rest of India.

By Road

The best & cheapest way to reach Fatehpur Sikri is by public buses which are available from Idgah Bus Stand in Agra to Fatehpur Sikri at every hour during the day. The bus journey also takes about an hour to reach there.

Dargah-e-Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer, Rajasthan

The shrine of Gharib Nawaz Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is the oldest and biggest Dargah in South Asia. One of the most holy places of Islam in India. It is located in the city of Ajmer which is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains in Rajasthan.

People from different religious backgrounds come here to offer prayers in large numbers thus making it one of the famous pilgrimage center in the Islamic world. It is believed that no prayer at this Dargah is unanswered. Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti is also known by different names as, Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, “Sultan-Ul-Hind”, Khwaja Baba, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Ajmeri, Khwaja Sahib, Khwaja Ajmeri Saint Moinuddin Chishty.

How To Reach Ajmer

By Air

Approximately 135 KM from Ajmer city, the Sanganer Airport located in Jaipur is the nearest airport from Ajmer. The airport is well-connected to major metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai. Once you reach at the airport, you can hire a cab to reach Ajmer.

The journey from airport to the city will take around 2 to 3 hours. You can either pre-book a cab or hire from any of the taxi vendors outside the airport. The charges are negotiable and range between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000.

By Train

The Ajmer Junction railway station is located within the city limits. The station is well-connected with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bangalore, Allahabad, Lucknow, Chennai and Kolkata.

Once you reach at the station- you can hire either a taxi or an auto-rickshaw to reach your hotel or anywhere else in the city.

By Road

The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation runs deluxe and semi-deluxe buses (both air-conditioned and Non-air-conditioned) connecting Ajmer to nearby cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. There are also several private tour operators who run both regular and Volvo buses on this route.

Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai

Haji Ali Dargah is located on an island in Southern Mumbai surrounded by the Arabian Sea. This Haji Ali Mausoleum & Mosque is one of the most notable tourist attractions of Mumbai. Every year thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world visit Haji Ali Darga irrespective of their religions.

The Haji Ali has the tomb of Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari which was built in 1431. And besides the tomb stands a magnificent mosque built in Mughal architecture.

The saint Haji Ali traveled around the world to preach Islamic lessons. He gave up materialism and then headed for the pilgrimage towards Mecca.

While he was planning to leave for Mecca, his health fell drastically. He asked his followers to cast his body in a coffin in the Arabian Sea when he dies. Soon after his demise and his followers did as they were asked. It is said that the coffin stuck on the piles of rocks, and this is where his Dargah stands today.

How to reach Mumbai

By Air

Haji Ali shrine is approximately 16 KM from Mumbai Airport. This Airport is connected with major cities of India & the world. From the airport you get hire taxis or buses to reach the Haji Ali shrine.

The Haji Ali Dargah is about 500 yards from the coast in the Worli Bay, near Worli. It is connected with the Hindu Mahalaxmi Temple via a small causeway, usually only accessible during low tide. However, you will have to walk from the seashore to reach the Dargah, which is not much of a distance.

By Rail

The Road distance from Mumbai Central Railway Station to Haji Ali Dargah is just 2 kms. On the Western line one needs to get off at Mahalakshmi Station or Mumbai Central Station, while on the Central line one needs to get off at Byculla Station and take a B.E.S.T. bus / hire Taxi.

Mumbai is well connected to all major cities of India via Indian railways.

By Road

Mumbai is perfectly connected by a proper road network with the rest of India. The city’s public transport system called as BEST is one of the most efficient bus systems.  A fleet of Interstate roadways buses and private operators run luxury & semi-luxury coach buses to various part of Mumbai. There is also a vast pool of black-and-yellow taxis too.

Dargah Qutub Sahib at Mehrauli, Delhi

The shrine of Dargah Qutub Sahib is an eminent Islamic pilgrimage site for the devotees. This is the place where in the Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki rests in solace.

The saint was one of the religious descendants and disciple of Khwaja Mu’inu’d Din Chishti of Ajmer fame. His dargah (shrine) is adjacent to the Zafar Mahal, near Qutub Minar complex,in Mehrauli, Delhi.

Some popular historic people buried near the shrine are Bahadur Shah I, Shah Alam II and Akbar II. The Qutub Minar is also located in Mehrauli in South Delhi. Other monuments around the Qutub complex, are Jamaali Kamaali mosque and tombs, Balban’s tomb and Adham Khan’s Tomb.

How to reach Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki Dargah, Delhi

By Air

Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki Dargah is located in the hearth of the capital city Delhi. The distance from IGI Airport is 22 Kms. The Nearest Metro Station to reach the shrine is QutubMinar Metro Station & one can walk or take a auto ricjshaw to reach the shrine. There are regular DTC (Delhi Transport Service) buses which operate regularly from outside the airport towards the city and the ISBT bus stand. The metro train service runs every 20 minutes and is a quick and convenient way to get to the city. You can also hire a pre-paid taxi from government registered counters at the airport, which would take you 40-50 minutes to get to the city centre depending on traffic.

By Train

Delhi is the headquarters of the Northern Railways and there are five major railway stations in Delhi, namely the The New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Anand Vihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla. The New Delhi Railway Station is one through which most trains arrive and depart from Delhi and is located in Paharganj, near Connaught Place. There is a pre-paid taxi booth outside the railway station and you can take a taxi from here to go further into the city.

The Delhi Metro line 2 also connects the New Delhi Railway Station to other parts of the city and is a convenient way to get into the city. There are also DTC buses (green and red colored buses) & auto rickshaws which can take you into the city at a reasonable price.

By Road

Delhi City is well connected by bus to cities like Jaipur, Agra, Alwar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala, Dehradun & others parts of North India. The main bus stations in Delhi are the Interstate Bus Terminals, located at Kashmiri Gate, Anand Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan.

The Delhi Metro and local DTC buses and auto rickshaws conveniently connect these bus stands to the rest of the city.

1 Comment

  1. Very analytical approach highlighting the relevance, significance, gamut and other historic beliefs of Islamic Shrines in India and that too by a non-muslim person.

    This is a great example of “unity in diversity”.

    Superb piece of writing….

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