Nizamuddin Auliya was a sufi saint of the Chishti order who was born in Badayun district of Uttar Pradesh. He moved to Delhi with his mother and sister after the death of his father. He wanted to be a Qazi but was soon attracted to Sufism. He went to Baba Farid (Fariduddin Ganjshakar) in Ajodhan in Pakistan (now called Pakpattan Sharif) for initiating into sufism, stayed there for some time and then came back. Baba Farid was the one of the top sufi saints of his times and Nizamuddin Auliya went to Pakistan to see him thrice during the month of Ramzan. Besides Baba Farid, his other predecessors of the Chishti order were Qutubuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki and Moinuddin Chishti.
While living in Delhi, he moved from one place to another and finally got settled at Ghiyaspur village because of relative calm and peace being away from the hustle of city. He built his Khanqah here in this village. He died in 1325 and his tomb was built at the very same village. This village is now known by the name of Nizamuddin and is divided in Nizamuddin East and Nizamuddin West. The dargh in in Nizamuddin West area. Even a railway station is built after his name-the Nizamuddin Railway Station.
The dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya is at a place which also has a number of other heritage buildings close by. These include the Tomb of Emperor Humayun, Tomb of Mirza Ghalib, Lal Mahal, Sabz Burg and Barakhamba.
Though the Auliya had died in 1326 AD, the present structure was built only in 1526, a good 200 years later. The present Dargah complex also has tombs of his disciple Amir Khusrau, the eminent poet of his times and Mughal Princess Jahan Ara.
The overall ambiance of the immediate surroundings of Dargah are of medieval times. When you enter the road leading to it from Mathura Road, you will find a number of beggars and vendors of street items, cheap eateries offering non-veg delicacies, caps, posters and many others. On the way, one lane goes to the famous Mughlai restaurant of Karim’s which is famed for its non-vegetarian food. A little ahead is the famous Ghalib Academy which has a library, museum and the tomb of Mirza Ghalib.
Further ahead on the way to Dargah, you find people selling flowers and ‘chadars’ which have to be offered on the Dargah. The architecture of the structure is medieval and once you pass through the archway, the first Tomb which you visit is that of Amir Khusrau. This is a white domed Tomb which was built in 1605. This is customary to first visit the Tomb of his disciple. Walls having intricate ‘jaalis’ are built around the small room which has the tomb.
Just opposite to the Tomb is a wooden door which is usually locked and it opens when there is an event of Qawaali. Just a few yards from here is the Tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.
Events at the Dargah
Every evening there is a program of Qawaali at the Dargah which is must see event for the people visiting the shrine. Devotional Sufi music and lights spell bind the devotees.
The Urs on death anniversaries of the Auliya and Amir Khusrau are also held here every year. ‘Langars’ or free food is offered to people during this occasion.
Key Teachings and Disciples
Nizamuddin Auliya believed that love was the way to finding the God. His khanqah was open to all, irrespective of social standing or financial stature of the person. He emphasized renunciation and asked everyone to have complete trust in God without any conditions. He was always compassionate for the poor and the diseased people.
He had more than 600 khalifas and was liberal in making people khalifas whoever approached him. Sheikh Nasiruddin Chirag Delhavi and Amir Khusrau are two notable disciples of Nizamuddin Auliya.
Even to this date, the Tomb is highly revered by people of all faith and is visited by the faithful from India and other countries.