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Mesmerizing music draws pilgrims to Delhi shrine

Destination IndiaThe most worshipped musicians in Delhi are in this shrineMaggie Hiufu Wong, CNN • Updated 8th December 2017FacebookTwitterEmail(CNN) — Hundreds of threads are tied on the lattice windows, carrying worshippers' prayers. The air is heavy with the scent of rosewater and incense. And the sound of qawwali is ringing in the background. It's Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Nizamuddin and a pilgrimage site for Sufi devotees from around the world. Qawwali: The sacred musicQawwali is a popular musical form associated with Sufi music in India. It's a fusion of devotional poetry and Hindustani music and was developed by the great Indian scholar, poet and mystic Amir Khusrow.And the shrine is home to one of the most famous Qawwali families, the Nizami Bandhu, who have been singing at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah for hundreds of years. Related contentInside India's exquisite haveli mansions"This is one of my favorite places in Delhi," Amit Kilam, drummer and singer in rock band Indian Ocean band, tells CNN Travel. "This place transports me to some other time zone altogether. It's like an oasis without being extremely in-your-face religious. This place gives you great peace."In Qawwali, words are more important than music, with a repetition of verses. "The musician will start with a certain set of notes and will keep repeating them, repeating them over and over again in any form over a small melody. He is creating an atmosphere." Great tourist destinationThe surrounding Nizamuddin Basti neighborhood is a destination in its own right. "It still ticks all the boxes of being a great tourist place. The place is beautiful architecturally. It has a sense of history. The food around the place is spectacularly good," says Kilam. "So you have everybody from everywhere and from every walk of life here."Related contentKerala's backwaters: See India at a relaxing pace "There's something about faith and the beauty of faith -- and this place transcends normal religion and goes towards spirituality."Thursday and Friday evenings are a sure bet for experiencing qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. Performance times are 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 9 to 10:30 p.m. Read more on kunzum.com.Freelance writer Divya Dugar also contributed to this report.WonderWhere the next adventure beginsSee all Wonder1PeruAncient beauty, mystery and an impossible empire.2IcelandFrozen warmth, colorful darkness and gorgeous landscapes.3French AlpsDays of thin air and adrenaline, nights of wine and glory.4GalapagosLush grasslands, dry deserts and a different world below the waves.5VanuatuFly back in time, trek a volcano and hop on a boat in the real Garden of Eden.The Wonder List with Bill Weir

Destination IndiaThe most worshipped musicians in Delhi are in this shrineMaggie Hiufu Wong, CNN • Updated 8th December 2017FacebookTwitterEmail(CNN) — Hundreds of threads are tied on the lattice windows, carrying worshippers' prayers. The air is heavy with the scent of rosewater and incense. And the sound of qawwali is ringing in the background. It's Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Nizamuddin and a pilgrimage site for Sufi devotees from around the world.

Qawwali: The sacred music

Qawwali is a popular musical form associated with Sufi music in India. It's a fusion of devotional poetry and Hindustani music and was developed by the great Indian scholar, poet and mystic Amir Khusrow.And the shrine is home to one of the most famous Qawwali families, the Nizami Bandhu, who have been singing at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah for hundreds of years. Related contentInside India's exquisite haveli mansions"This is one of my favorite places in Delhi," Amit Kilam, drummer and singer in rock band Indian Ocean band, tells CNN Travel. "This place transports me to some other time zone altogether. It's like an oasis without being extremely in-your-face religious. This place gives you great peace."In Qawwali, words are more important than music, with a repetition of verses. "The musician will start with a certain set of notes and will keep repeating them, repeating them over and over again in any form over a small melody. He is creating an atmosphere."

Great tourist destination

The surrounding Nizamuddin Basti neighborhood is a destination in its own right. "It still ticks all the boxes of being a great tourist place. The place is beautiful architecturally. It has a sense of history. The food around the place is spectacularly good," says Kilam. "So you have everybody from everywhere and from every walk of life here."Related contentKerala's backwaters: See India at a relaxing pace "There's something about faith and the beauty of faith — and this place transcends normal religion and goes towards spirituality."Thursday and Friday evenings are a sure bet for experiencing qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. Performance times are 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 9 to 10:30 p.m. Read more on kunzum.com.Freelance writer Divya Dugar also contributed to this report.WonderWhere the next adventure beginsSee all Wonder

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