A walk in the City of Djinns

, Hazrat-E-Dilli

10th September 2014

Whenever I have any free time in Delhi I love to connect with Asif Khan Dehelvi and go exploring in Delhi.
10th was no different. Having finished some work in the afternoon I joined Asif in CP and we started exploring options. Red Fort would be closing in a little while, Begumpur was too far, so we decided to go to Firoz Shah Kotla.
My first visit to this hauntingly beautiful place had also been with Asif and I was looking forward to another equally wonderful visit.
Ferozabad as it was known was Delhi’s fifth city built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq on the banks of the Yamuna River in in the village of Gawin in 1354. Today popularly known as Firoz Shah Kotla, it is eclipsed by the stadium of the same name, near it.
Though today it is in ruins it must hsve been a majestic fort in its time. Its stones were stripped for the building of the 6th city of Shahjahanabad.
The grand entrance leading to the diwan e aam , going on to diwan e khaas and then the palaces today bear mute testimony to their former grandeur.
It was used by the Mughals as a prototype for their forts.

It was to this city that Firoz Shah Tughlaq brought Ashoka’s pillar from Tobra, near present Ambala, which he had seen on one of his travels.
The journey of that pillar to Ferozabad is another story for another day.

However, this city’s claim to fame is neither its past majesty nor the beautiful pillar but the resident spirits or Djinns who grant wishes and who have many devotees in and around the area as well as further away.
It doesnot matter what time of the day you go there you will see incense sticks and diyas/ lamps and candles burning in various nooks and corners of the place as well as in the underground areas.

It has a grand functioning mosque which was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s Prime Minister, Khan e Jahan. It is one of 7 mosques that he built in Delhi. There used to be a madarsa attached to it , with underground rooms for students and teachers to stay in, which is today believed to be populated by the Djinns and is always lit with lamps and incense sticks.

It is Built on a high plinth and steep steps lead up to it. There is a huge courtyard surrounded by walls and as in the case of Begumpur Mosque also built by Khan e Jahan
, once upon a time the side aisles must have been covered by small domes. Today they are no longer extant but we can conjecture.
There are Imams appointed by Delhi Waqf Board to lead prayers here and they can usually be found in one of the niches in the wall.

As per Islam Djinns are created from smokeless fire and were created before man. In fact when Iblees the chief Djinn was asked to prostrate to Adam he refused on the grounds that he , originating from fire, was superior to Adam who was made from clay. This led to his fall from grace and becoming the accursed Satan.
Jinn is a plural noun in Arabic literally meaning “hidden from sight”, and it derives from Arabic root j-n-n (pronounced: jann/ junn جَنّ / جُنّ) meaning “to hide” or “be hidden”.
As in human race, there are good and bad Djinns. The word genie who fulfills ones wishes comes from the Arabic djinn and in folk lore have great powers to grant wishes.
The village my ancestors come from was established by Jalaluddin Khilji and has a mosque dating to back then. I have grown up hearing stories of Djinn Mamus from my grandmother and other relatives. We have a Djinn waali masjid there and of course many tales.
Therefore I have a very open mind towards the spirits and do my utmost to respect the traditions of the place.
When I was asked by a lady in white, sitting in one of the rooms to take my slippers off and enter, I did.
She seemed a kindly soul and was deeply immersed in prayers herself and promised to pray for me too.
When prayers are fulfilled people bring offerings of food, sweets and flowers and Thursday is the day to be there.

A mannat fulfilled.


Comment List

  • sanjeev Singh 13 / 09 / 2014 Reply

    Mohtaramaa adaab , bahut khubsurat likhaa hai aap ne , khaas taur se jinno ke baare mein us ke liye mubarakbaad. Lekin Kotla ke baare mein mujhe lagtaa hai ki kuchh facts ko dobara dekhna hogaa, maslan—
    1. Ferozabad , Ferozshah kotlaa nahi hai . Ferozabad aik shahar thaa jo purane qile se peer ghayab tak thaa , jabki Ferozshah Kotla us shahar ka aik qila thaa jis ko ki “Qusk-e-ferozabad” kahaa jata thaa.
    2. Diwan e Aam ya Diwan E khas ka koi zikr nahi miltaa , albatta teen mahlon ke naam milte hain jahaan Ferozshah Tughlaq darbaar lagata thaa. 1. Mahal-e-Sahan-e-gilli 2. Mahal-e-Chhjjaa-e-Chobin 3. Mahal-e-Baar-e-Aam. Sabhi khan,Malik, Amir…., Mahal-e-Sahan-e-gilli mein sultaan se milte the aur ye bade Darwaaze ke sab se nazdeek thaa.
    3. Khan-e-Jahaan Telngaani ne is Masjid ko nahi banwaya. Is Masjid ko khud sultaan ne taamiir karaya. Telngaani ne Ferozabad shahar mein sirf do Masjid banwayi. Us ke marne ke baad us ke bete Khan-e-jahan Jauna Khan ne zarur kuchh aur Masjidon ko banwaya.

    • Rana Safvi 13 / 09 / 2014 Reply

      Thank you for reading and appreciating the post. I would like to clarify the points made by you :
      That its Ferozabad is clearly mentioned right in the beginning. The rest of the details are given by me in another post which was on the 5th city.

      Here the focus was only on the spirits living there.

      • sanjeev Singh 14 / 09 / 2014 Reply

        Bahut khubsurati se likhaa gayaa hai . jin ko iss jagah ke baare mein nahi maloom, woh bahut achche se is ko jaan sakenge. Bahut mehnat kii gayii hai aik aik photo ko chun ne aur aik aik baat ko bahut soch samjh ke likhne mein . Logon ko Delhi kii khaas jaghon se rubaru karaane ke liye bahut bahut shukriya. lekin kuchh facts aise hain jo dobara se dekhe jane chahiye-

        1. Thomas Daniell kii yah painting Qushk e Anwar kii hai iss ko Qushk e Mehndiyan bhi bolaa jataa thaa, aaj kal ye jahaan Maulana Azad Medical college complex hai wahaan ye building huaa kartii thii. Aap peechhe kii taraf Shahjahanabad kii diiwaar aur uskii buildings ko dekh sakte hain . Painting se hii nazar aa rahaa hai ki ye building Shahjahanabad se aane wale raste par right side mein hai jabki Ferozshah Kotla left mein hai.
        2. Angrezon ke waqt Ferozabad shahar sirf kitaabon kaa hissaa thaa, asliyat mein us waqt iss kii koi existance nahin thii. Iss shahar ke kai hisse baad mein Shergarh , Din-e-Panah aur phir Shahjahanabad mein shamil ho gaye the. Isliye angrezon ke dwara Ferozabad Shahr ? ka naam Ferozshah kotla karne ka sawaal hii nahi hotaa. Aur phir Angrez bhi iss hisse ko OLD DELHI kahte hain jo un ke hisaab se MODERN DELHI ( SHAHJAHANABAD) ke south mein thii. Darsal, Ferozshah kotla lafz uss khaas jagah ko batata hai jahan Ferozshah ka mahal thaa. Aisii aur bhi jagah Delhi mein hain jaise Tilangpur Kotla, Kotla Mubarakpur …… ‘Kotla’ aik Arabic Lafaz hai jis ka matlab ‘Block’ hotaa hai.
        3. Shams Siraj Afif ‘Taarikh e Feozshahi’ mein kahte hain “… badi badi masjidon kii taamiir kii gayii , aik masjid-e-khas, Khan-e-Jahan ki do masjiden, Malik Nizamulmulk kii aik masjid, aik juma masjid qushk-e-shikae mein, Indmat (Indarpat) mein aik masjid….” zahir hai ki khan-e-Jahan Telngani ne do masjidon kii hii taamiir karaai.
        4. Darwaar-e-aam aur Darwaar-e-khas ka concept bahut pahle se thaa. Ibn Batuta likhtaa hai ki , “ teesare darwaaze se hokar aik bahut bade mashwar mein daakhil hote hain, iss ka naam hazar sutun hai, iss ke sutun polish kii hui lakdii se bane hain……..aur sultaan issii mein apna Darbar-e-Aam kartaa hai.” is ke alawa Minhaj-uj-siraj aur Ziyauddin Barni bhi kai baar Nasiruddin Mehmood aur Ghayasuddib Balban ke Aam Darwaaron ke baare mein bataate hain.
        5. J.A. Page sahab Archaeological Survey of India ke superintendent the. unhone Ferozshah kotla par aik Memoir likha jis mein unhone Feroz shah kotla ke ruins ka conjectural reconstruction ka view dikhaane kii koshish kii hai, us mein aur aap ne jo Kotla ka internal map post kiyaa hai kuchh had tak farq hai.

  • K Bhowmik 06 / 10 / 2015 Reply

    Thanks for this lovely article and enlightening us on this. Sad that these heritage sites are not taken care of by the administration as they deserved it to be.

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