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Dargahs: Abodes of The Saints

George Michell (Editor) Mumtaz Currim (Editor)
Synopsis The dargahs of India are testaments to the widespread belief in the spiritual teachings and supernatural powers of Muslim saints. Known most commonly in India as shaykhs, these saints mostly belonged to various mystical Sufi orders that traced their origins to northeastern Iran and Central Asia, some going back as far as the 9th -10th centuries. Devotees regularly visit the tombs of these shaykhs, known as dargahs, to seek spiritual solace and the fulfillment of their personal needs. At the urs festivities marking the death anniversaries of individual saints, dargahs become the destination of huge crowds of pilgrims who arrive from all over the country and abroad. The remarkable popularity of these shrines is explained by the fact that dargahs have always appealed to all levels of society, from sultans and powerful elites to ordinary people, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Even women are welcome, a privilege often denied them within the more orthodox confines of mosques and theological colleges. Today, many thousands of dargahs are in active worship in India, not counting those in Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, the authors of this volume focus on eleven of the most historically and significant shrines in India, from Delhi, Ajmer, and Fatehpur Sikri in the north, to Khuldabad and Gulbarga in the south, and from Ahmadabad in the west and Mahim (Mumbai) on the Arabian Sea coast to Bihar Sharif in the east. The articles are illustrated with evocative photographs by Karoki Lewis. Front cover: Night view of the dargah of Makhdum ali Mahimi at Mahim, Mumbai, during the urs festivities.
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About the authors

George Michell

George Michell obtained his PhD in the field of early western Chalukya temple architecture from the School of Oriental African Studies, University of London, in 1974. From 1974 to 1977, he directed courses on Asian architecture at the Architectural Association, London, and was the co-editor of Art and Archaeology Research Papers from 1972 to 1982. Since the 1980s, he has co-directed an international team of scholars and students at Vijayanagara, the medieval Hindu site in Karnataka. George Michell has also lectured at universities and museums throughout the USA, Europe, India and Australia. Among his many Publications are The Royal Palaces of India, Islamic Heritage of the Deccan, Architecture of the Islamic World: Its History and Social Meaning and Hindu Art and Architecture.

Mumtaz Currim

Mumtaz Currim, is Lecturer in Indo-Islamic Architecture and Religion at the University of Bombay. Her Master’s dissertation on dargahs was presented at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

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Bibliographic information

Title Dargahs: Abodes of The Saints
Format Hardcover
Date published: 26.01.2011
Edition Reprint.
Publisher Marg Publications
Language: English
isbn 8185026653, 9788185026657
length 152p., Tables; Col. Plates; Glossary; Appendix; Index; 24cm.