Thursday Nights at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Dargah Are All About the Magic of Qawwali

Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi is the dargah of one of the world’s most famous Sufi saints, Nizamuddin Auliya. Although any day is a good time to visit the dargah, the Thursday night qawwalis, steeped in Sufi devotional music and sung in an an electric atmosphere, should not be missed!

Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is renowned all over the country for the unique experience it offers – a chance to hear and enjoy Sufi music up close. The qawwali sessions on Thursday evenings are incredibly popular and people from all walks of life come in huge numbers to be swept up in the magic of the devotional soul-stirring music.

The dargah is located in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi, amidst narrow bylanes and rows and rows of hawkers selling knick-knacks.  It was featured in a number of Bollywood films including Rockstar (2011) , Delhi 6 (2009)  and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).

On Thursday nights, as the scent of rose petals mixes with the searing aroma of chargrilled kebabs, traders sell chaddars to devotees and incense holders send plumes into the air. The rest is music, and music only.

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The Niazi Nizami Brothers at the Dargah

Source: Youtube

True to Sufi tradition, love for God is invoked in terms of romance through the music. The lyrics for qawwalis are usually simple, their meaning clear, and the artistes have plenty of room to improvise. The vocalists sit in the front with the harmonium player, the percussionists and the accompanying singers are at the back – there is a convergence of voices, a combined effort that is enchanting to the senses.

The dargah is named after Sheik Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (1236-1325). His grave and a hospice are situated here.

The saint was believed to be a Sufi mystic and was revered amongst the rich as well as the poor.



His teachings, his spirit, his contribution to the world and an unshakeable faith in God are celebrated with regular gatherings of people who pay their respects and hold on steadfastly to a tradition as old as time.

The dargah is visited by thousands of Muslims every week, and sees a fair share of Hindus, Christians and people from other religions too.


Source: Saad Akhtar / Flickr

Best time to go: The sessions take place twice every Thursday, once at 4:30 pm and the other at 6:15 pm. Go slightly early to explore and get a good spot! The dargah is open on all days – 6 am to 10 pm.

How to get there: The nearest metro station is Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium.

Check out their website for more information.

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