23 January 2012

Babavali Dargah

A favourite place of mine and one curiously undiscovered by most visitors is a large Moslem burial ground located in the middle of Bavajai Nagar contains the dargahs of two Moslem saints. Most Muslims in India belong to the Sunni school, and burial sites for revered religious figures are known as dargahs (or durgahs).

In response to my previous posting and the many enquiries as to the exact location of the burial ground, I am including photographs and directions in this narrative which will help interested visitors locate the compound.

Directions are thus. Leave the front gate of Ramana Ashram (using Ashram as a central point) and take a left. Proceed down Chengam Road towards town for about 200 yards until reaching a fork in the road – take the right side and proceed onwards passed the petrol bunks.

Petrol bunk, right and towards Ashrams.
We go left and towards town

There is never a quiet time on
Tiruvannamalai roads nowadays

Turning for Subramanian Theatre
coming up on left side

A hundred yards after the petrol bunk on the left side there is the Subramanian theatre, just after the theatre is an orange facility.

Orange painted facility

Across the road from the facility is a tiny lane. Go down the lane.

Tiny lane

30 yards on the right side is the Muttu Karimariamman Temple.

Small Muttu Karimariamman Kovil

Just after the Temple on the left side is a high white wall (it is in front of the big building in the left background of this photograph). In the middle of the wall is a large closed metal gateway. Next to the gateway, is a small opening with bars. The opening will be unlocked, push to enter.

To enter compound use doorway left side,
front of big building at left background

You are now inside the very large 4-5 acre burial ground. There will be a few local villagers inside the compound making bamboo leaf rice winnowing baskets. You don’t need to speak with them to ask permission to be inside the compound, they too are visitors and guests.

Surprising to be in such a large open place
in middle of busy Bavajai Nagar

The whole grounds empty
except for about 4-5 shrines

Quiet, peaceful compound

The second structure on the left side is the dargah of Mahan Aharajath Jaguhthum Sha Valiullha. He was born in Tirupattur as Sayed Abdullah Basha. His guru gave him a new name and sent him to Tiruvannamalai with the instructions to meditate at Babavali Dargah at the grave of his own Guru, Syed Munivar Sha, who died over 400 years previously.

Dargah of Mahan Sarat

Mahan Aharajath lived to about 75 years of age and died over 100 years ago. He instructed his followers that if he died away from Arunachala, that his body be brought back to this place. In this, the saint was prescient, as he was to die in Chennai, and from there his body was brought back to Tiruvannamalai and now rests in this Dargah.

The custodian Sardhar Bai at the Dargah relates that Ramana Maharshi was known to have spent time in meditation at the burial ground. Subsequently many of his devotees visited the burial ground, which later was to gain the reputation of being a place of mystical powers.

Dargah of Mahan Sarat

Thus far the only known narrative of this place is a short extract taken from the book In Days of Great Peace by Mouni Sadhu.

“One day, a friend invited me to attend worship in the mosque of Tiruvannamalai. I went and was told the strange story of a North Indian Mohammedan saint, generally called Haji here. A few days before his death he said to his pupils:

When I leave my physical form, my Spirit will remain with you. Let everyone, without any difference of creed and social status, come to my grave whenever he may be in need of help. Let him express his need or wish as clearly as he would, were he facing my present visible form. I shall certainly hear his entreat and shall transmit it to the Most High, who will fulfil it for the sake of His servant

Dargah of Sayed Munivar Sha

For me, the tomb of the Mohammedan saint proved to be one of these magnetic spots. in a few moments, after having excluded the visible words from my consciousness, I became aware of the Hajis presence. It was like that of a sweet and extremely kind person asking me what were my needs and wishes and urging me to express them frankly without any shyness or reservation .....

During the next weeks I returned several times to this silent shrine, having some entangled and difficult problems to solve. One of them seemed utterly hopeless, for its solution from the physical point of view was impossible. And yet, within three days after my last visit and request for the Hajis help, a happy and unexpected solution came of itself without intervention on my part.”


sami yair said...

I just returned from Thiru, I looked for this Dargha. I asked many no one knew. I went to Mahan Syedini Dargha. Hope Haji can read this. Next time i know where to go.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Haji, in advance, for the Sun and the Stream.