In a world where coexistence seems impossible, Rajasthan’s Alwar district sees Hindus and Muslims offering prayers under the same roof.
The integrated shine of Sayyed Darbar and Sankat Mochan Vir Hanuman Mandir are two structures that aren’t even separated by a wall. Sitting atop Moti Doongri Hill, the site is important as communal tension is on the rise after the murder of Pehlu Khan by cow vigilantes.
On Thursdays, as soon as the bhajan ends, the same microphone and loudspeakers play qawwalis praising Allah. Saffron and green flags flutter together in the compound.
Devotees enter the compound from the gate of the temple where they pray and offer their forehead for a tika. The devotees then proceed towards the dargah, where they cover their heads and bend down to kiss the grave. Those who visit the site say the smoke from mahaaarti (of camphor and wicks soaked in ghee) when mixed with roshni-kirasm (burning of loban at the dargah) creates a fragrance that cannot be compared.
Offerings at both the mandir and dargah come from a common thali.
Sushma Agrawal is a regular devotee and initially visited the site almost ten years ago. “Initially, I thought my in-laws would be taking me to two different places but I was shocked to see that the two places exist in complete harmony,” said Agrawal speaking to Times of India.
Mahant Nawal Baba is the chief caretaker of both places and objects to those who are surprised at the peaceful coexistence. For years he has performed early morning aarti at the site.
“Both the places show the same path and are equally revered. What’s the problem,” asks Das.
This story originally appeared on Times of India