Hijron Ka Khanqah

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Hijron ka Khanqah
Hijron ka Khanqah1.jpg
Hijron Ka Khanqah – Wall Mosque and Tombs
Basic information
Location New Delhi
Geographic coordinates 28°31′19″N 77°10′43″E / 28.52194°N 77.17861°E / 28.52194; 77.17861Coordinates: 28°31′19″N 77°10′43″E / 28.52194°N 77.17861°E / 28.52194; 77.17861
Affiliation Islam
District New Delhi
Territory Delhi
Province Delhi
Country India, India
Year consecrated 15th century
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Mosque and Tombs
Leadership Sikander Lodi
Architectural type Mosque and Tomb
Materials Sandstone

Hijron Ka Khanqah (Hindi: हिजड़ों का ख़ानक़ाह, Urdu: ہجڑوں کا خانقاہ‎) is an Islamic monument located in Mehrauli, South Delhi, India. The literal meaning of Hijron ka Khanqah is a “Sufi spiritual retreat for eunuchs”, with the word hijron (plural of hijra) more widely referring to a specific male-born transgender community throughout the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the many monuments located in the Mehrauli village within the Archeological Park. It is maintained well by the Hijras of Turkman Gate, in Shahjahanabad (present day Old Delhi) who are in possession of this 15th-century monument since the 20th century.[1][2][3]

Hijron Ka Khanqah is a pre-Mughal, Lodi period, monument dated to the 15th century known for the serene atmosphere that exists at the monument where some eunuchs of Delhi were buried during the Lodi dynasty's reign.[1][2][3] It is also said that Hijras of Turkman Gate who own this monument now visit the place on religious days to distribute food to the poor.[2]

Khanqah is Persian word. It connotes a religious edifice where Muslims of Sufi religious order assemble to achieve spiritual peace and character building.[4]

Hijras[edit]

Main article: Hijra (South Asia)
Hijras of Delhi

Hijra generally describes the self-organised spiritual and social community (from either the Hindu or Muslim religious traditions) of male-born transgenders in North India, while in a historical sense it can also denote eunuchs in the Western sense of the word (as males who have been castrated and who serve as members of a royal or noble court). Both eunuchs and hijra are described in South Asian history and literature. The ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata literature features a eunuch (castrated servant) named as Shikhandi, while the treasurer during the reign of Allauddin Khilji in the early 14th century CE is said to have been a eunuch, and the Mughal Emperor Aurengzeb is said to have engaged a eunuch to harass his father, Shahjahan, while the latter was being held in captivity. Meanwhile, the Hijra (transgender) community is associated with the imperial court of the Mughal Empire.

The Hijra are a well organized transgender community, considered by some as a “religious cult” in the sociological sense of the word.[5][6] Many members of the community describe themselves as belonging to a third gender, and are recognised as such by the governments of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. They are a highly visible community in North India, especially as their presence in marriage functions and at the birth of a child in a house are considered auspicious .[citation needed] Such a presence is also one of their source of livelihood. During family functions, they are even invited to dance, sing, clown, do typical drumming and bless the newly weds and the newborn. Though, no specifically enumerated census data is available of their numbers, a rough estimate puts this figure at about 50,000 in Mumbai and Delhi.[5][6]

Structure[edit]

After entering the premises of the monument through a narrow gate, marble steps lead to a large patio where white colored tombs are seen. There is a small terrace adjoining the tombs. The tombs are enclosed on the west in the prayer direction by a wall mosque.[3]

Tombs of eunuchs at Hijron ka Khanqah

Of the many white painted tombs (seen in picture) of Hijras or eunuchs here, the main tomb held in reverence is stated to be of a hijra called Miyan Saheb.[2]

Access[edit]

It is approached through a small gate from the narrow and winding main street of Mehrauli village. Entry to the tomb is restricted.[1][2] Mehrauli village located in South Delhi is well connected by road, rail and air to all parts of the country. The nearest rail head is the New Delhi Railway Station, which is 18 kilometres (11 mi) away. The Delhi International Airport is 17 kilometres (11 mi) away. The monument is located in a narrow lane called 'Chatta Wali Gali' in ward no 6 of main Mehrauli road.[2][7]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Peck, Lucy (2005). Delhi -A thousand years of Building. Hijron Ka Khanqha. New Delhi: Roli Books Pvt Ltd. p. 234. ISBN 81-7436-354-8. Retrieved 2009-07-25. Page 234: --narrow entrance to the Hijron ka Khanqah (15th c) on the left. This wall mosque dates from the Lodi period but became the burial ground for the Delhi eunuchs. It is beautifully maintained and is surprisingly tranquil place, just off the main road 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mehta, Vinod. Delhi & NCR City Guide. Hijron ka Khnanqah. Outlook Publishing (India)Private Limited. p. 317. ISBN 81-89449-04-4. ;;;This is a Lodi period Mosque and Khanqah or convent, which in the early twentieth century came under the possession of the hijras or the eunuch community of the Tukman gate area in Shahjahanabad. The Hijras still possess it and visit Mehrauli on religious occasions to distribute langar to the poor. The Khanqah also has tombs of several Hijras including one said to be of a hijra known only as Miyan Saheb. 
  3. ^ a b c Aparna Das. "Retreating into the Sufi's shadow". Express India. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Khanqah". Kosmix. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Delhi's special people, then and now". The Hindu. 2003-05-19. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  6. ^ a b Freilich, Morris; Douglas Raybeck; Joel S. Savishinsky (1991). Deviance: anthropological perspectives. Deviant Careers: The Hijras of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-89789-204-6. 
  7. ^ "Monuments". Delhi Art Central: Anand Foundation. Retrieved 2009-08-22.