Pilgrimage is a fundamental and one of the imperative parts of human experience. Like other religious traditions, these journeys often involve distinctive rituals, narratives and communities. In Islam, pilgrimage is most commonly identified with the hajj, the great pilgrimage to Mecca and its surrounding sites. A related pilgrimage, the umrah, is often referred to as ‘the lesser hajj’.

Apart from hajj and umrah, various other religious journeys are undertaken by Muslims around the world, ranging from local visits to family graveyards in Javanese villages to large-scale annual pilgrimages to cities such as Karbala and Mashhad. Islam is a global religion with over 1.7 billion followers, however only two million pilgrims can perform hajj each year due to safety concerns and the limited space of the sites.Thus, Muslims around the world participate in other religious journeys known collectively as ziyarat. While not considered an obligation on the same level as hajj, these journeys are nonetheless popular. The other factor that may contribute to their popularity is that the range of places visited as part of these traditions is immense, and often reflect the cultural and religious variations in diverse Muslim communities. For instance, among popular ziyarat sites are the graves of Sufi saints, some of the most popular ones among the devotees are listed below:


Also known as Dargah of Shaikh Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindi, Rauza Sharif isa significant site of tourist attraction in Sirhind, owing to its historical importance and architectural beauty. He is more popularly known as Mujaddid, Alf Sani. It is often regarded as the second Mecca among Sunni Muslims. The Shaikh lived in this place during the times of Akbar and Jahangir, and he is held in very high esteem among his community. Every year the mausoleum of Rauza Sharif is flocked by thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the globe to take part in the Urs of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi every year.


Ajmer Sharif Dargah, also known as Ajmer Dargah, is the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti and is one of the holiest places of worship in India not only for the Muslims but followers of every faith. Being the final resting place of the Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, it has had an enormous contribution in spreading the ethical and spiritual values of Islam amongst masses.

Known asthe great Sufi Saint, Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti dedicated his entire life to the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. The shrine is located in the city of Ajmer, Rajasthan and is visited by millions of people every year. It is considered very sacred by the people of all religions. Ajmer Sharif was built by the Mughal Emperor Humayun; hence it justifies the rich Mughal Architecture of the entire shrine. The Dargah has various constituents like tombs, courtyards and Daalaans. The major among these structures are- Nizam Gate, Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Aulia Masjid, Dargah Shrine, Mehfil Khana and about a dozen of other prominent establishments.

When visiting Ajmer Sharif, one can spot two huge cauldrons in the inner courtyard of the shrine. These containers have a capacity of 2240 kg and 4480 kg and are used during special occasions to cook sweet delicacies like Kheer.


Haji Ali Dargah, the mausoleum of the famous Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, is situated on the islet about 500 yards from the Worli, Mumbai coastline in the Arabian Sea off Lala Lajpatrai Marg.

The whole edifice including the white-colored dome and minarets portrays the Indo-Muslim or Mughal architecture. Built amidst the sprawling 4,500 sq. m. picturesque surroundings, Haji Ali Dargah comprises a Masjid, the tomb of the Sufi saint Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a Qawwal Khana, and a three-story sanatorium. A 700-yard-long walkway connects the Dargah to the shore.

The Dargah Sharif adorned in pristine white color on the outside stands in the middle of the marble laid central courtyard. Inside the Sharif lies the mausoleum of Haji Ali draped in an elaborately woven exquisite rug, mostly in red, green and golden colors (chaddar) and intricately designed Zari cloth. The tomb is enclosed on all sides by silver fame and is flanked by eight marble pillars supporting the crown at the top.

The marble ceiling of the main hall is decked with multi-hued mirrors forming patterns and inscribed with 99 names of Allah. Verses from Quran Sharif are also engraved on the ceilings and walls of the main hall. Three prayer halls encircle the main hall on East, West, and South sides, of which East Hall is reserved for men and West Hall for women to say their prayers.

Approximately 10 -20 thousand people of all religions, faiths, and regions visit the Dargah to seek the blessing of the legendary saint. Lakhs of devotees visit it on the 2nd day of Ramadan and Eid-Ul-Adha. People believe that their desires get fulfilled and wishes granted by the grace of the Saint.


Counted among the most sacred and imperative Islamic tourist places in Srinagar, the Hazratbal Shrine lies on the peaceful banks of Dal Lake. The shrine derives its name from the Kashmiri terms, “Hazrat” meaning “Sacred” and “Bal” meaning “Place”. The Hazratbal Shrine was built by Sadiq Khan as a unique pleasure house. However, in the later period, the place was used for offering prayers and was eventually turned into a shrine. The marble structure today, is referred to by many different names like Dargah Sharif, Assar-e-Sharif, and Madinat-us-Sani.

The major attraction of this majestic shrine is a unique relic called Moi-e-Muqaddas that is basically a holy hair from the beard of Prophet Muhammad. The hair is well-preserved inside the structure and is presented before the devotees only on special Islamic occasions.

Women are allowed only till the first part of the Hazratbal Shrine. Situated on the banks of Dal Lake facing the Nishat Bagh, it affords a picturesque view of the lake and surrounding mountains. The weekly prayer at the Hazratbal Shrine takes place every Friday.


Furfura Sharif is a village in the Hooghly district in West Bengal. The shrine is regarded as the holy place among the Muslims. The Masjid was built by Muqlish Khan in 1375. It is popularly believed in this village that the Muslims here, were chiefly Ashrafs, the descendants of Muslims who invaded Bengal in the 14th century. However, the most important place within Furfura Sharif is the Mazar Sharif of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique, and his five sons, popularly known as the ‘Panch Huzur Keblah’. Every year, the place witnesses an overwhelming crowd of the believers during the Pir Mela which is quite popular here.


The Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is a mausoleum and shrine located in Delhi. It is dedicated to the world-famous Muslim Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Chishti. Built in the year 1526, the entire dargah is a beautiful amalgamation of red stone and white marble. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah seeks to propagate the Sufi tradition which is based on spirituality and views all religions as equal. As an implication of the same, people of all religions are allowed to pay their respects to the grave of the great saint, and they do visit the shrine in the counts of thousands every week. The tombs of many other people Mughals such as Jahan Ara Begum and Inayat Khan are also present in the premises of the dargah. Not only this but, the tomb of lyricist Amir Khusrois also situated within the Nizamuddin Dargah complex.

A vibe of spirituality and serenity seems to be omnipresent at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, where you can find throngs of devotees even in the later hours of the evening. The spirit of service is commonplace here, and a langar or free community kitchen is held every Thursday and Sunday for the devotees where only vegetarian food is served. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah also plays host to qawwali and a Sufi singing session on Thursdays and Saturdays and a number of Sufi singers come here to pay their homage. One can easily spend hours of their time listening to the melodious renditions of the qawwals, or simply contemplate the divine under the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah sky.

Born in Badayun (3 April 1325), Uttar Pradesh, Nizamuddin Auliya was one of the most famous Sufi saints in the Indian subcontinent. His father passed away when he was just 5 years old, and soon after that his mother moved to Delhi along with him. After staying in Delhi for several years, Auliya decided to become the disciple of Baba Farid at the age of 20 and moved to Pakpattan (Pakistan), though not permanently. From here, his spiritual journey began and he unraveled many truths about God and his divine ways.


Known as the resting place of the Sufi saint Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir, Piran Kaliyar Sharif is a famous dargah located in Kaliyari village near Haridwar. It is a place of great spiritual energy as well religious unity with both Hindu and Muslims being ardent visitors to the dargah. It isone of the most important Muslim shrines in the India and is equally cherished by the Hindu populace of the region.

The place is thronged by millions of devotees, both Hindus and Muslims who are attracted by the spiritual energy of the place and the fact that it is considered to fulfill ones wishes. Besides the dargah, there is a small village which too is a nice place to explore and observe the culture and livelihoods of the region.


Dargah is originally a core concept in Islamic Sufism and holds great importance for the followers of Sufi saints. Many Muslims believe their wishes are fulfilled after they offer prayer or service at a dargah of the saint they follow. Devotees tie threads of mannat ("grace, favour, praise") at dargahs and contribute for langar and pray at dargahs.

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