Delhiwale: Dargah’s chai

  • A tea stall with a most unique site
Sitting at the stall gives a tantalisingly close view of the shrine’s marble dome. PREMIUM
Sitting at the stall gives a tantalisingly close view of the shrine’s marble dome.
Updated on May 16, 2022 11:42 AM IST
Copy Link
ByMayank Austen Soofi, New Delhi

It is no accident that Emperor Humayun, Emperor Muhammed Shah Rangila, Princess Jahanara, poet Amir Khusro, and poet Mirza Ghalib are buried near to each other. They all are in close vicinity to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s grave. It is considered a privilege to get a resting place close to holy mystics, and Nizamuddin happens to be among the most beloved saints in Sufism. The area around his 14th century dargah is full of graves. Some of the aforementioned figures such as Khusro, Rangila and Jahanara lie within the premises.

And this same reason makes Barkatullah’s establishment one of Delhi’s most special tea stalls. It stands within the gates of the dargah. Sitting at the stall gives a tantalisingly close view of the shrine’s marble dome. The courtyard where the dargah qawwals offer their music is a rose’s throw away. This morning, a lone qawwal’s singing is wafting over to the stall. Sometimes a chai drinker can hear the muffled cries of people possessed by djinns, who flail themselves in an adjacent marble enclosure.

The chai place has three benches. Owner Barkatullah, aka Salim Bhai, sits on his cooking gas cylinder. The counter is a table crammed with three glass jars respectively filled with zeera biscuits, coconut biscuits and rusks. Regulars include the shrine’s guards, fakirs, and the qawwals, who enjoy chai breaks by sitting around the graves in front of the stall (one of these graves has a tree growing out of it).

The owner lives with his family just behind the stall. This moment his little daughter Anaya is loitering by her papa’s side (see photo). Formerly a shop assistant in Lajpat Nagar, Barkatullah inherited the unique site as his residence from his nana who, he says, shifted here from Old Delhi’s Turkman Gate during the Hindu-Muslim riots in 1947. Barkatullah opened the stall in 2001.

Naturally, the tea establishment’s location makes its tea redundant. The view becomes the entire point. Even so, the chai is delicious, and Barkatullah is liberal enough to customise it to an individual customer’s taste.

The stall opens early in the morning, after the door of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s “astana,” the grave chamber, opens for the day. The chamber closes at about 10 at night, as does the tea stall.

Enjoy unlimited digital access with HT Premium

Subscribe Now to continue reading
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A view of Dhan Mill Compound at 100 Feet Road, Chhatarpur, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Amal KS/Hindustan Times)

    Delhi: From a granary to creative business street

    For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.

  • Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. (Twitter/@AAPDelhi)

    Over a million got jobs on Rozgar Bazaar: Delhi govt

    According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.

  • Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai. (ANI)

    Govt to urge Centre to reduce tax for SUP options: Delhi minister

    “Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.

  • A view of Humayun's Tomb on a rainy day in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, July 3, 2022. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times)

    Delhi weather: Yellow alert issued till Tuesday

    Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.

  • Monsoon turns Hauz Khas monument into an archipelago of stony islands.

    Delhiwale: Six shades of monsoon

    Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 04, 2022