I knew the stars will align again and I’ll be visiting the place where I left a part of my heart, the very first time I visited it. Everyone calls it Mannaton ka Dwaar (Door to Prayers). Fatehpur Sikri; it is for tourists. After 4 long years, yet again, I was welcomed with so much warmth and affection. The positive energy was so much that I could think nothing other than going inside and reminiscing my past. The connection that this place and I have is beyond words, but I’ll still try to write.
The moment I got down from the auto, and reached the road which had two ways, a teenage boy, super stylish, wearing a check shirt over a tshirt and a jacket with ripped jeans, came to us as a guide. Mohammad Taimur. He is known by everyone. He used to recite shayari all over that place and now all he’s interested in, is showing this place to the world. He asks us, ‘Where do you wish to go from? The Buland Darwaza or the Shahi Darwaza? I replied, ‘Shahi Darwaza’. ‘Good choice, sir’ he said. ‘Akbar the great also used to enter from this gate only. It has less steps. Made for the King.’
While we were being introduced to the place, I went back in time. Mughal-e-Azam , a theatre show I saw in 2019. The title song of the show was something ‘Darbar tumhare aaya tha Jholi felaaye hue, Maula mere...Maula mere...Salim Chistiyaaaa’. That tune still remains with me and gives me goosebumps whenever I recall it.
And we entered through the gate. The Dargah of Salim Chisti was in front of my eyes. The tune was in my head. Everything else was silent. It was me. I found myself. Taimur asked, ‘Come let me show you the place of mystery, from where Salim’s Anarkali was sent away through a gufa, from Dilli to Bombay and further Lahore. I was just absorbing everything. I saw the gufa’s gate. Letters were tied in polybags as if some conversations were left. A man sat over the gufa selling artifical jewels and necklaces, which takes us back to their era. Then we went over to the platform from where we could see Akbar’s elephant’s grave, built far away, who used to take decisions for prisoners in the great emperor’s reign.
It was Asar Namaz’s (afternoon prayer) time. Thus, the dargah remains closed for that particular time. Till then, I saw people remembering the old times, some telling stories, some buying rose and chaadar for offering their prayers in the holy shrine of Salim Chisti. Taimur added in between, ‘Akbar came to Hazrat Salim Chisti, to make a wish. He wanted a child. Thus, Chisti blessed Akbar. The wishes came true and Akbar named his first son, ‘Salim’ in honor of Salim Chisti.’
Mannaton ke Dwar opened after the Namaz ended. People entered with their wishes. I heard someone saying, ‘Naye saal khushi se nikaalna’. Someone said, ‘Iss zindagi ke liye shukriya’. The pain, sorrows, happiness and gratefulness, almost every emotion was inside. It was so strong, filled with warmth and love, as if you’re god’s own child. Two kids were reading the holy book, people were tying red dhaaga, two pigeons had found their home there. It was too overwhelming. I offered my prayers and took one gulaab (rose) with countless other memories from that day. The gulab remains with me and the scent of it reminds me of all the prayers.
They say, once your wish comes true, you come again. I hope the Dargah, where I left my heart, calls me again soon...in the love and warmth of one’s self and belief.
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