Ramzan or Not, Nizamuddin Dargah Serves ‘Langar’ Round the Year
Syed Suhail Nizami, a caretaker at the shrine, distributes sweet milk to devotees.
Syed Suhail Nizami, a caretaker at the shrine, distributes sweet milk to devotees.(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

Ramzan or Not, Nizamuddin Dargah Serves ‘Langar’ Round the Year

In New Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, it is not an uncommon sight to find a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Sikh sharing a meal at one of the many langars (open kitchens) it hosts round the year. These langars are served four times a week at the Dargah, where hundreds of devotees offer prayers everyday.

According to Syed Suhail Nizami, caretaker of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, thousands of devotees visit the shrine everyday.
According to Syed Suhail Nizami, caretaker of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, thousands of devotees visit the shrine everyday.
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

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But during the holy month of Ramzan, these langars take the form of Iftar and are held every day. People from all walks of life, without any discrimination, are invited to join and partake in the feast.

The Dargah, which is entrenched with the mystical tradition of Sufism, opens its arms to one and all and celebrates this month with much fanfare.

People, irrespective of caste, race, gender, or any other rank visit the Dargah. 
People, irrespective of caste, race, gender, or any other rank visit the Dargah. 
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

Also Read: In Pictures: Jama Masjid Comes Alive with Ramzan Fervour

After the evening prayer, the shrine is all lit-up with people crowding in.
After the evening prayer, the shrine is all lit-up with people crowding in.
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

Also Read: Eat, Pray, Sleep, Repeat: Ramzan Nights in Delhi’s Zakir Nagar

People waiting to break their fasts at dusk.
People waiting to break their fasts at dusk.
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

The practice of serving langar at the Dargah began some 700 years ago, says a caretaker at the shrine. Initially, only non-vegetarian food (mutton and chicken) was served here.

But legend has it that when the Nizam got to know that a lot of the devotees could not pay a visit to the shrine owing to the non-vegetarian food, he himself declared, from that very moment, that only vegetarian food will be served so that no one would have to turn away from the hallowed doors of the shrine without partaking a meal.

You can enter the Dargah through two different gates. 
You can enter the Dargah through two different gates. 
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

Also Read: Experience Old Delhi Like Never Before With ‘Ramzan Walk’

Devotees sit in a queue to receive Iftar food from the Khuddams (servers).
Devotees sit in a queue to receive Iftar food from the Khuddams (servers).
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

That practice is still alive today and only “shudh-shakahari” food is served inside this compound.

People sit in the courtyard around the shrine.  
People sit in the courtyard around the shrine.  
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)
Syed Suhail Nizami, a caretaker at the shrine, distributes sweet milk to devotees.
Syed Suhail Nizami, a caretaker at the shrine, distributes sweet milk to devotees.
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)
Dastarkhwan (mats) are spread and people dine together. 
Dastarkhwan (mats) are spread and people dine together. 
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

Syed Suhail Nizami, a caretaker at the Nizamuddin Dargah, believes that the shrine is a symbol of harmony and it is their responsibility to respect each individual, irrespective of religion.

Only vegetarian food is served in langar.  
Only vegetarian food is served in langar.  
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)
Even biryani, which is a delicacy for Muslims, is served in its vegetarian form. 
Even biryani, which is a delicacy for Muslims, is served in its vegetarian form. 
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)
Since it’s a spiritual place, we serve without any intention of rewards and free of any cost. Our only desire is to please Mehboob-e-Elahi, and to carry his noble name for generations to come. 
Syed Suhail Nizami, caretaker of the Nizamuddin Dargah. 
People from different religions can be seen at the Dargah.
People from different religions can be seen at the Dargah.
(Photo: Azam Abbas and Mayank Chawla)

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