Ramazan for me (and the husband) has always been associated with food – delicious Iftaar food found in Old Delhi! Every year, we make it a point to savour the delectable street food on offer during Ramazan in the Old Delhi area of Jama Masjid. Making our way through Chawri Bazaar into Jama Masjid and then into the bylanes of the streets around the mosque, we come across many interesting food (surprisingly vegetarian and non –vegetarian) – Read my previous posts on Old Delhi and Iftaar food walk in Old Delhi here and here. The experience is such a visual, olfactory & gastronomic delight that we actually avoid joining any walking groups in delhi (which heavily advertise such events during the period), preferring to do it alone (as we feel they cannot top our experience). So, when I saw the update on one of my favorite travel groups on Facebook #TCBG for a heritage walk in Jama Masjid & Old Delhi area with Dr. Navina Jafa during one Ramazan weekend, I instantly knew this was going to be an unique kind of a walk (and not those run of the mill food walks being done at the time). The walk with Dr. Navina Jafa was a beautifully curated walk, interspersed with interesting historical & mythical stories interweaved beautifully.
We started our walk from Gate No. 3 at Jama Masjid and walked up the steps into the huge courtyard of the mosque. Dr. Jafa had a special viewing organized for us first of the various relics related to Islam and Prophet Mohammed. She lucidly explained that while the historical accuracy of the artefacts (such as hair of Prophet Mohammed) may be of question but the emotional/cultural connect was pure, therefore, as always in every faith , it is the belief which matters most! I found it such a profound thought!!!
We then proceeded to spend time in the courtyard during the breaking of the fast in evening and it was such a enjoyable time, watching families gather together on the mats, take out their food, wait for the announcement of fast breaking and then break the fast with dates & other snacks. One of the travel bloggers in our group Mr. Desi Traveler even got invited by one of the familiesthere and ended up having a nice meal.
We then proceeded to one of the markets in front of Jama Masjid and kept on walking following Dr. Jafa; she apparently had a surprise for us and did not reaveal where she was taking us. A couple of turns later, we were suddenly far removed from the entire hustle bustle of Old Delhi and in a very quiet Sufi Dargah. It was the Dargah of shah abul khair and Dr. Jafa told us about all the various sufi orders ( I knew only about the chisti order till then). She narrated beautiful anecdotes of history about Jama Masjid, Islam, Chisti Order and so forth. We could have gone on listening to her but unfortunately it was getting late and we had to head back home.
I have become a fan of Dr. Navina Jafa since the walk and totally looking forward to going on many walks with her.