Monday, March 05, 2012

In the Courtyard of the Beloved - a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah

IN THE COURTYARD OF THE BELOVED is a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Made from over 18,000 still images and ambient sounds recorded on-site,
rapid-fire bursts of kaleidoscopic imagery assemble into fractured collages where a moment expands outwards and then converges back into itself, fleshing out a three-dimensional rendering of place.

Each day, hundreds of pilgrims travel by airplane, train, car, rickshaw and foot to reach this shrine, which honors a 12th century Sufi mystic who believed in drawing close to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity. Beginning with imagery from these journeys, the film then enters the physical space of the shrine; a unique nexus of marketplace, social space and spiritual haven, where devotees come to offer their prayers and find a moment of reflection away from the din of Delhi traffic. As the sun sets behind the dome, musicians begin the qawwali, a style of Sufi devotional music that ranges from contemplative religious elegy to raucous crescendo.

Click on the image above to play the visual montage

Made with the collaboration of Samina Quraeshi
Original tabla score by Suphala
Audio post-production by Paul Bercovitch
Produced by Sadia Shepard
Photographed and edited by Andreas Burgess

Credit: (XR) Exposure Room

About the Saint: Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, affectionately known as Mehboob-i Elahi or "Beloved of God," was born in Badayun, India, east of Delhi. His grandparents had migrated there from Bokhara. When he was a boy of five, his father died.

As a teenager, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia distinguished himself as a scholar, a debater, and a student of the Koran. But he increasingly was drawn to the inner life of the mystic.

When he was eighteen, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia encountered a group of Qawwalis (Sufi singers and musicians) who introduced him to the Chishti Sufi order and the teachings of Baba Farid, and soon became a disciple of the group in Delhi.

Hazrat Nizamuddin quickly showed profound spiritual realization and was named a leader of the Chishti order. He soon decided to withdraw from the crowds of Delhi and retired with a group of followers to a small village namedee Ghiyaspur where he lived for 60 years. Nizamuddin taught that three essential elements were necessary for the Sufi dervish: Love, Wisdom, and Gnosis. (credit)
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