'Dargah Sharif' or 'Holy Dargah' is one of the most sacred Muslim shrines in the country. Venerated by both Hindus and Muslims, it is the tomb of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, a Sufi saint who came from Persia and devoted his life to the service and upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. The Dargah has a massive gate with silver doors built in several stages. Revered by the Mughal rulers, it has touches of Humayun to Shah Jahan in its structural architecture. A silver railing and a marble screen surround the actual tomb of the saint, made of marble with a gold plated dome.
Every year Urs is held here for six days in his remembrance. It is said
that when he was 114 years old, the saint locked himself in a room for
six days to pray and left his mortal body in solitude. Several thousand
devotees throng to this place during this time of the year and food is
cooked in huge cauldrons and served to the devotees. The surprising part
is that the people serve the food while standing inside the scalding hot
food in the cauldrons. These cauldrons are said to be offered by Emperor
Akbar when the saint blessed him with an heir for the throne.
The pilgrims make rich offerings called 'nazrana' at the sacred spot
where the saint has been entombed that include rose and jasmine flowers,
sandalwood paste, perfumes and incense that put in to the fragrance that
floats in the air inside the shrine. Cash offerings are also made. Also
offered by devotees are the 'chaadar', 'ghilaph' and 'neema', which are
votive offerings for the tomb. Outside the holy place of the Dargah,
professional singers called 'qawwals' sit in groups and sing hymns in
the praises of the saint in a characteristic high-pitched voice. One can
also see 'fakirs' on the main gate begging for alms in the name of the
Khwaja. Qawwalis at the shrine and fragrance of the incense sticks
together create a divine effect.