Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sufi Saints Photo Workshop | Srinagar

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy- All Rights Reserved
Srinagar is different from anywhere I've been to in India. Whilst there's Indian army presence in some of the streets, we haven't experienced any road blocks or inconveniences. The food is just spectacular (I had some of the best lamb kebab for lunch today...even better than Karim's in Delhi!), and while I would have preferred warmer nights, the days have been comfortable.

I think the standout event today occurred when we went to the Hazratbal Shrine in the morning, and came across a praying woman in this holy site, who was sobbing silently in a corner of the mosque. Eventually, she beckoned me over and was surrounded by the members of our group including Nizar, our Srinagar guide. It transpired that Misra had come to the sacred shrine from her home 60 kilometers away just to pray, clutching her tattered Qur'an, and pleased to have met us. She recited and sang a soft and delicate poem in her native Kashmiri who sounded to me like Turkish.

We also spent quite a while at the shrine of Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, or Makhdoom Sahib, Mehboob-ul-Alam and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen. It is one of the most sacred shrines in Kashmir. (Above photograph)

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy- All Rights Reserved
  We ended the day at the Khanqah mosque, known as the Shah Hamdan Masjid, near the river Jhelum. It was built in 1395 by Shah Sikandar to commemorate the visit of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani, better known as Shah Hamdan. Fire claimed the mosque several times in the following centuries and the current structure, as seen today (except for the more recent cloisters), was sponsored by Abul Barkat Khan in 1732.