Phoolwalon Ki Sair
Phoolwalon Ki Sair (Sair-e-Gulfaroshan)
When: To be confirm
Where: New Delhi
Delhi is not all pollution and noisy traffic, as some would have you believe; it's also the home of a very interesting annual festival, with a history more than a hundred years old. Way back in the 19th century, the British appointed Bahadurshah Zafar the Mughal emperor. Bahadurshah's half-brother, Mirza Jahangir, was understandably annoyed at being thus ignored; and he, to vent his frustration, took a pot shot at the British Resident. The Resident, though uninjured, instantly exiled his would-be murderer to Allahabad. Mirza Jahangir’s mother, who missed her son terribly, made a vow that if her son returned to Delhi, she would walk from the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya to that of Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. Her prayers must have been powerful, for Mirza Jahangir was pardoned; and his mother’s pilgrimage, which she duly went on, has continued till today in the form of the Sair-e-Gulfaroshan, or the Phoolwalon ki Sair.
A three-day long religious (yet secular, for everybody participates in it) festival of flowers, the Sair-e-Gulfaroshan begins with the procession from Nizamuddin's dargah to Kaki’s dargah. The procession, which is led by musicians, fire-dancers and flower-sellers, makes its way to Kaki’s tomb, where flower 'chaadars' and 'pankhas' are ceremonially laid on the dargah. This is followed by a visit to the nearby Devi Jog Maya temple, an ancient shrine where the ceremony is repeated. The festivities are rounded off with a cultural programme of kathak performances, qawwalis and devotional music.
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