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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

The pitchers of serenity

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 01, 2012
First Published: 23:55 IST(1/12/2012) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(2/12/2012)

Say 'Dargah Hazrat Sheikh Abubakr Tusi Haidari Qalandari' and chances are one would say, what? But 'Matka Peer' would inevitably evoke a face beaming with the thought of delicious biryani.

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Matka Peer is actually a centuries old dargah, near Pragati Maidan, metres away from the Mathura Road-Bhairon Marg T-junction. Here, dhaba-type stalls selling biryani and a row of shops selling items for prayer offerings, including heaps of earthen pots, line up the way towards the dargah. 

Inverted pitchers, matka in Hindi, can be seen on the tree trunks, branches and even on bamboo poles. Perched atop a hillock surrounded by vilayati keekar trees with two-three-odd neem trees is the grave of Sheikh Abubakr Tusi.

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Several stories abound about why he is called 'Matka Peer' but the most commonly believed is how the Peer - who had come from Iran 750 years ago - offered water from a matka to an ailing man. He was cured and offered the matka as a mark of gratitude to him, setting a precedent.

The main shrine is a green-painted interior with a modern structure under a tin shade. A few feet away lies a dry, naked keekar tree with several pots. "Years ago during the mela, devotees tore apart the bark for medicinal properties," said Anwar, who offers sewa at the dargah.   

But several come for reasons beyond logic. Neha Tabassum, a private company employee, comes every Friday. "I also come when I am upset with somebody, or if there is some tussle going on in my life. This is a place which offers me space and peace to think about myself."


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