Delhiwale: Ode to the Baba’s Ammi
This memorial to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s mother is one of its kind. Here, women are allowed to enter and pray inside the tomb chamber.delhi Updated: Jun 19, 2017 09:55 IST
Situated in south Delhi’s Adhchini village, it is not listed in guidebooks. No large crowds gather in its courtyard, unlike, say, in the famous shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
And this is strange because Mai Sahiba is a memorial to Nizamuddin’s mother, Bibi Zulekha.
Mai Sahiba is also a special place because it is the only Sufi shrine in the capital, other than Bibi Fatima Sam’s dargah in Kaka Nagar, that is devoted to a woman. In addition, it is a rare Sufi shrine where women are allowed to enter and pray.
The dargah’s sanctum sanctorum has silver-plated columns and pink curtains. Bibi Zulekha’s grave is always covered with rose petals. Her parents belonged to Bukhara in Central Asia, from where they moved to the Indian subcontinent to escape the Mongol invasion. Following her husband’s early death in Badayun, Bibi Zulekha moved to Delhi with her children Nizamuddin and Bibi Jannat — the daughter lies buried next to her.
The fact that this dargah is not so well-known works in its favour. The relative anonymity makes it a secluded space, soothing and solitary. To take a break and spend some time in its silent and carpeted courtyard refreshes the soul. Ideally, once inside the dargah, you ought to turn off your mobile phone, sit quietly and just be with yourself — one of the toughest things to do in these times.