Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Beyond The Frame | Khanqah of Shah Hamdan (Kashmir) | X-Pro1

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
Amīr Khusrow Dehlavī (1253 – 1325was a Sufi musician, poet and scholar from the Indian subcontinent, who was quoted as saying of Kashmir: “If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here. (“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin asto.”) It is also said that it was Emperor Jehangir who said these words...whoever said it (and my money is on Khusrow), Kashmir is indeed beautiful.

I'll set aside political views on the current (and recent) political events in Kashmir, and dwell on its beauty and spirituality....and its photographic magnetism.

Historians are united that Hazrat Bulbul Shah was the first saint who sowed the seeds of Islam in Kashmir in 1301, and he might have come from Samarkand or from Bukhara. It was he who convinced Rinchan, the then ruler of Kashmir to convert to Islam, and Sadruddin Shah (as he became known) was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. He ruled Kashmir from 1320 to 1323 and was instrumental in establishing Islam in Kashmir.

The above photograph was made from the interior of one of the oldest and most revered Sufi sites in Kashmir; the Khanqah of Shah Hamdan. It was built on the banks of the Jehlum river in Srinagar’s old city by Mir Mohammad Hamdani, the son of Shah Hamdan, who came to Kashmir in 13th century. 

The woman sitting forlornly near the window was an elderly widow, who had lost a son in the incessant conflict between Indian forces and Kashmiris youths. I eventually tried to speak with her, but she was unresponsive to my approaches. 

Another of my favorite photograph of Srinagar is the one of a mother giving her baby a drink of water. It was made within the interior of the most sacred shrines in Kashmir; the shrine of Makhdoom Sahib. I could not access that area as it's reserved for women, but I managed to get the photograph by raising my arms over the wooden screen called jalis.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
For more of my photographs of Kashmir, drop by Srinagar: Kashmir's Sufi Heart.

Kashmiri music has a lot of Turkish intonations, and here's a short clip I recorded of a local band that played on the houseboat we were at.

The technical details for the top photograph are: Fuji X-Pro1+ 18mm. 1/65th sec Hand Held. f5.6. iso 800640. Pattern Metering. Date: 2013-05-07 at 18:11:00 (Srinagar time). Post Processed Using Silver Efex.

The technical details for the lower photograph are: Canon 5D MKII + 17-40mm. 1/30th sec Hand Held. f4.0. iso 2000. Pattern Metering. Date: 2013-05-08 at 14:40:00 (Srinagar time). Post Processed Using Silver Efex.