The fast and the feast

We re­count an evening in Jama Masjid, soak­ing in the fes­tiv­i­ties just be­fore Eid

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Variety - A Sar­war Borah sar­war. borah@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

As the clock starts tick­ing to 7.25, the If­taar time, and the court­yard of Jama Masjid in Old Delhi starts to swell. The red sand­stone court­yard starts turn­ing colour­ful, as visi­tors come dressed in bright out­fits for If­taar (open­ing of fast) and the evening maghrib prayer dur­ing Ramzan. The wind is strong, and makes the colour­ful du­pat­tas, mostly in red, pink and yel­low, un­man­age­able. Kids are hav­ing a field day and play­ing ‘catch me if you can’. The young are busy putting the das­tarkhan, the women of the fam­i­lies are lay­ing out the dishes, while the se­niors are do­ing ablu­tion (cer­e­mo­nial wash­ing of hands and feet) at the wa­ter tank lo­cated at the cen­tre of the court­yard. Soon, the court­yard is cov­ered with sev­eral das­tarkhans, re­splen­dent with glasses of shar­bat, dates, pako­das, fruit chats, dahi badas, etc.

I am with Sachin Bansal, chief ex­plorer and founder of In­dia City Walks and Nidhi Bansal, co-founder of the group, who are lead­ing a small group of se­lect few to a Ramzan walk. As we wait for the If­taar to start, Sachin shares some facts. “The mosque is di­vided into three parts: arched en­trance, court­yard with tank for wuzu (a pu­rifi­ca­tion rit­ual), and the li­wan (domed prayer hall). There is a long in­scrip­tion spread over the 10 arches of the li­wan. The in­scrip­tion writ­ten in or­nate Per­sian is a pan­e­gyric (prashasti), which praises the em­peror for build­ing the mosque,” he says. Sig­nal to start the If­taar is given by fir­ing a canon. Af­ter If­taar, fes­tiv­i­ties con­tinue over the night as Sachin leads us to some of the pop­u­lar eater­ies for a hearty meal of biryani, chicken fry, tikka and shahi tukda, etc.

(From top): Devo­tees open­ing their fast on the court­yard of Jama Masjid, Eid shop­ping picks up on the lane op­po­site gate num­ber one of Jama Masjid, a das­tarkhan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.