Mausolem at Chisht-i-Sharif


Chisht-i-Sharif is a scant three kilometers away and as you approach it across a plateau you see the two famous gumbad or domes of Chisht on the opposite plateau. The town with its meandering bazaar street sits in the ravine between these plateaux. Winding down and up, you will find an avenue of pine trees leading directly to two ruined buildings now standing in the middle of an extensive graveyard.

As is so often the case, experts argue as to the purpose of these buildings. Some speak of them as mausoleums. Others see them as parts of a grand complex of buildings, a madrassa (religious school), perhaps, with its mosque. The mutilated molded terracotta brick decoration can only speak softly of their former magnificence. The dome to the east bears a Kufic inscription in which the shafts of the script are purposefully bent in order to create a regular series of squares along the top which are filled with floral arabesques.

The inscription is bordered by a plain, yet nevertheless complicated, meandering braid. Inside, the south arch is decorated with a band of interlacing polygons; the north arch with a stylized floral band.

The western building has a more ornate and monumental façade consisting of a triple band of geometries beside the doorway; next to it there is a columned and arched recess composed of two square panels filled with interlaced polygons banded by a simple braid, and a rectangular panel containing a cursive inscription with flowers scattered on the background.

This decorative style has led some scholars to conjecture that this building may be earlier than the one to the east. Inside, there is a stucco Kufic inscription running across the tops of the pointed arches in the iwans. Here the “brambly” style found in one panel in the mosque at Herat has been used.

Myriads of learned and pious teachers, philosophers and saints have lived and died at Chisht-i-Sharif. Many scores of others have travelled far, spreading the fame of Chisht by bearing the name Chishti. A Sufi brotherhood called Chishtiya founded by Muinuddin Mohammad Chishti (RA)who was born in Seistan in 1142 spread widely throughout India. One of its more famous members was Salim Chishti, a contemporary of the Moghul Emperor Akbar (1556–1605 A.D.). His ornate marble mausoleum in the mosque at Fatipur Sikri, not far from Agra in India, is a popular place of pilgrimage today.
On the eastern side of the pine grove there is a large mosque shrine built during the reign of Zahir Shah (1933–1973) to replace an older mud-brick building. It marks the resting place of Maulana Sultan Maudud Chishti who died in 1132 A.D. Each year pilgrims come to pay homage here, many of them from as far away as Pakistan and India

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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