Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saint from Baghdad

Just where Mount Road forks off to Dams Road, almost on the corner, is this little shrine set in a corner of a sandy patch. It is quite small and appears even smaller by being close to the Makkah Masjid, with its tall minaret dominating the vicinity. The Dargah-e-Hazrat Syed Moosa Shah Khaderi is much older than the Masjid, having been around since the 17th century, by one account. Syed Moosa Shah was a Khaderi mystic, who came to Madras from Baghdad. In course of time, Shah Baghdadi was sought after for his cures, and, after he died, the Dargah was built over his tomb.

Legends grew around the Dargah. One such tells the tale of a British engineer who wanted to demolish the Dargah to widen Mount Road. The workers refused to do anything more after their initial attempts at digging saw blood spurting from the soil. The engineer insisted and was instantly dead. Since then, there have presumably been no attempts to dig around the Dargah, which could be one reason why the sandy patch remains around it.

Despite its size, this is one of the most popular shrines in Chennai. Being right on the main road, it has attracted several prominent Chennai citizens - the most globally recognizable among them being AR Rahman, who visits this Dargah every Thursday - if he is in Chennai!


Sandhya said...

I have crossed this road many many times and have noticed this dargah too. But never knew the history of it. Thank you!

Shantaram said...

@Sandhya: That has been the biggest benefit of doing this blog - have become more mindful of all these small things around us!