Qawwali is a Sufi form of music that originated in the 13th century. Amir Khusro, a Sufi musician, poet, and scholar is regarded as the godfather of Qawwali. It provides a synthesis of the truth and divine love and its rendition of creates a ‘sama’ that transports you to a completely different place. It is one of the most exhilarating musical experiences to listen to Qawwali live.

Bollywood has been successful in composing some of the best Qawwali, some of which have survived the test of times because of their sheer beauty. Here is a list of the best Qawwali’s that you will find in Bollywood –


1) Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahata Hai

‘Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahata Hai’ was released in 1963 as part of the album of ‘Dil Hi To Hai’ movie. Starring legends like Raj Kapoor, Nutan, and Prana, this album is perhaps best known for the song ‘Laga Chunri Mei Daag’ but hidden in the album is this gem. Sung by Asha Bhosle and composed by Roshan, this Qawwali is perfection in itself. Sahir Ludhianvi has weaved magic into the lyrics of this song that renders it a unique quality.


2) Murshid Khele Holi

A very recent Qawwali that won hearts was ‘Murshid Khele Holi’ of the movie D-Day. Sung by some of the most talented singers of this era such as Munnawar Masoom, Shankar Mahadevan and Javed Ali, this is nothing short of a masterpiece. Munnawar Masoom is a magical artist, whose work needs to be seen live in order to be fully experienced.


3) Na To Caravan Ki Talash Ho

Sung by Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle and Sudha Malhotra, this Qawwali which is around twelve minutes long defines what perfection is. It is from the movie ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ which has some other famous Qawwalis and will leave you in awe of the composer Roshan and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. It remains a personal favourite and has an other-worldly element to it.


4) Jee Chahata Hai Choom Loon Teri Nazar Ko Mai

‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ starring Madhubala and Bharat Bhushan was an immense hit when released in 1960. It was also one of the last movies to star the very beautiful Madhubala. The movie album which has four Qawalis became really popular back in its day. This Qawwali which is sung by Asha Bhosle, Sudha Malhotra, Balbir, and Bande Hassan deserves a spot on this list for all the right reasons.


5) Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat

There is no movie that can ever reach the heights that Mughal-E-Azam has achieved. This remains to be one of the iconic movies that Bollywood has produced. People remember this movie for its direction, sets and, music. Composed by Naushad and sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum, the ‘Jugalbandi’ is sure to enchant you and move you with its magical element.


Anukriti Mishra.

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Feature Image Credits- Pinterest


“I asked my soul: What is Delhi?

She replied: The world is the body and Delhi its life.”

-Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Once you’ve transcended and forgiven the horrors of head-ache inducing crowds and traffic, Ghalib’s words might ring true to your ears. Of the myriad experiences that life in Delhi has to offer in terms of its overwhelming sights, sounds and smells, the qawwali at the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin is the soothing balm to the city’s chaos.

The Nizamuddin Dargah is the mausoleum of Nizamuddin Auliya, an eminent sufi saint. The shrine of Amir Khusro, a sufi musician and poet, who was a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya, is situated within the dargah complex. The tomb of Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan and a follower of Sufism, is also located within the complex. The Nizami Brothers, whose family has been associated with this art for seven centuries, are the traditional qawwals of the dargah. The qawwali session at the dargah has been popularised by its depiction in several recent movies.

Make your way to the dargah on Thursday evenings, at 5:30pm or 9pm (there is just one session at 9pm during the winters), for a unique spiritual experience. At the end of a thronging, narrow market  of vivid colours and food, lies the dargah. Women must keep their head covered, and footwear must be left outside, with one of the several shopkeepers at the market. The white marble dome, lit up in soft yellow light, against the evening sky, and the notes of a harmonium guide you towards the courtyards and arches of the dargah; the crowds, gently miling around; evening prayers are to be offered. The smell of rose petals and incense, quiet prayers and gentle connections with a higher power-the experience remains indelible.

A low key tuning of the harmonium, with devotees and tourists alike, gathered around it, gradually develops into a sufi qawwali. The courtyard of the dargah is packed with people, most engrossed in their own spiritual trances, others mesmerised by this declaration of love for the Divine. The power of the music and the lyrics washes over you in waves, as the crowd collectively sways to the music, seated and enthralled. Peace is not as elusive as it usually is.

Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Mathura Road, Old Nizamuddin Bazar, New Delhi

Nearest metro station: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Abhinaya Harigovind

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