Every Thursday, Ferozshah Kotla’s old ruins come to life. People flock to the ancient castle to offer their deepest secrets to the city’s djinns, who are believed to be inhabitants of the area.
The letters, scrawled in different writing styles, are pinned to the walls, offering a ray of hope for the tired and the weary.
Source: Travelling Slacker/Flickr
Genies are mostly associated with “The Arabian Nights” and old tales from long ago. They’re believed to make dreams come true; their power isn’t questioned by Ferozshah Kotla’s resilient visitors – some of whom have been loyally showing up with a letter every week for decades.
Plenty of stories abound. Some people visualize the djinns as talking crows or men in white robes with long beards. Some think there are many of them and that they have their unique smell. Stories are routinely exchanged and with a lot of gusto.
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The opportunity to leave a letter behind for the supernatural beings shows up only once a week and by the end of the day, scores of messages are left behind by people praying with all their might.
The letter-writing tradition is believed to have been taken from a practice that was prevalent in the 14th century in Delhi – people entered the palace premises to talk to the Tughlaq Sultan and raise issues without any interference from the royal guards.
Everyone is given a chance, everyone’s considered equal in here – age, economic status, nationality no bar.
According to anthropologist Anand Vivek Taneja’s research, the practice of writing letters to the djinns really took off in the 1970s when a fakir called Laddoo Shah started living in the ruins.
It’s a hidden gem, the Ferozshah Kotla castle that was built in the 14th century – and it has survived long years of change and modernity. The believers hold on hard to their beliefs, and allow the message of everlasting hope to prevail. The city of djinns.