The Nizamuddin dargah nestled in the archaic and historical streets of Delhi’s old city is a point of interest for musical celebration every week on Thursdays, and has been for the past seven centuries. Each night preceding the holiest day of the week is garnished with a musical tribute to Nizamuddin Auliya by some of the oldest musical families in the nation. Here’s the story of the qawwals that you might be familiar with from some popular Bollywood films.

This is our ode to the descendants of the Sufi poet Amir Khusro, Nizami Bandhu. 

The Nizami Bandhu’s ancestors had been playing for the Mughal courts for over 700 years.

Masters of Islam’s sacred musical offerings, qawwali, the Nizami Bandhu are the face of one of the richest musical traditions in our culture. Considered to be one of Nizamuddin Auliya’s most beloved disciples, Amir Khusro’s devotion to his master was such that he has been noted to have expressed his desire to be buried next to his mentor. Amir Khusro’s grave now resides in the Nizamuddin dargah, at Nizamuddin Auliya’s feet.

The Nizami Bandhu still carry the beautiful tradition of the family to this day without falter.

Performing the mystifying art form that goes back centuries, the Nizami Bandhu – now headed by Chand Nizami – were considered one of the two gharanas of qawwals that were know to be the crown jewels of Sufi music, so to say. Now, the two gharanas share the pride with Chand Nizami at the helm.

Each week at the Nizamuddin dargah the famous qawwals gather for an evening of aural celebration.

Each Thursday, hundreds of town folk gather together to watch the centuries old Sufi musical tradition being carried out in its rather familiar and ancestral splendour. Performances that have been carried out by the incredibly revered predecessor to Chand Nizami, Mehraj Nizami, who passed away in October, 2015. At 45 years old, Chand Nizami is now considered the quintessential successor to Mehraj, having performed on stages around the world.

You might recognize the virtuosos from their performance in popular Bollywood movies.

With fleeting, yet memorable performances in Bollywood movie songs like ‘Kun Faya Kun’ from the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Rockstar from 2011, and the 2015 song rendition of poet Amir Khusro’s ‘Aaj Rang Hai’ for Salman Khan’s movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan. These just happen to be a few of the performances that the gharanas are known for, apart from setting the stage across countries around the world.

You can catch the Nizami Bandhu in their splendour on Thursdays at the Nizamuddin dargah in Old Delhi at 4:30 PM and 6:15 PM. Carry a crisp ₹100 note as a token offering and immerse yourself into the centuries old Sufi tradition.

For those who needed a taste of Delhi.