The Sufism in its totality – songs and philosophy – now has gained popularity not only in India or the Indian sub-continent but all over the world.
The magnificence of the spirit of Sufism became crystal clear to me the moment I glanced at the grand mausoleum of Hazrat Makhdoom Shah Yahyah Maneri. Maner owes its name from this great sufi saint who brought a socio-cultural cum religious revolution centuries ago.
Located exactly 25 km away from Patna on the right hand side of the highway, the importance of this sufi centre (Maner Sharif) became evident to me when I found a group of foreigners taking snaps of the mausoleum that was described as the best piece of Mughal era in Bihar by the British scholar-historian Buchanan.
Intruding in their discussion, I asked a young man that to which country he belonged and what brought him here. I came to know that he is from far off USA and the call of his spiritualism made him cross seven seas to come to Maner which was once visited by Emperor Jehangir for the same purpose.
At the time of Jehangir’s rule, Maner was extremely famous for its courteous people, sufi saints and Khanqahs (Islamic schools imparting religious education). In those days the scholars, Sufis and Rais (feudal lords) visited Maner Sharif both for pilgrimage and take lesson from the great scholars.
Hazrat Makhdoom was a renowned Pir and his fame had spread even to far off places. After his demise, a “mazaar” was built over his grave and one of his family members was in charge of its upkeep. The tradition continues even today. The construction took two years and was completed in 1616 AD. Red and yellow stones were brought from Chunar for the purpose.
The influence of Mughal art is clearly visible in the “makbara” and the building architecture. It is worth mentioning here that at this time the Mughal architecture had began influencing the architecture of other areas. The makbara with massive entrance is the beautiful example.
During my daylong sojourn here, I found people coming with a variety of purposes. Some to offer “chadder” at the “dargah”, some for picnic, some to see the wonderful architecture and some to do historical researches.
Maner is also very famous for its Laddoo made of pure ghee. Importance of this sweatmeat became glaringly clear when I found people thronging at the Laddoo shops. Befitting the sweatness of the Laddoos, the experience of a visitor at Maner would also be very sweat.
Getting There: 25 km from Patna (one can hire a taxi to go to Maner and return the same evening well easily to Patna).
By Air: nearest airport is Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport, Patna
By Rail: nearest junction is Patna Junction
Where to stay: there are lot of hotels in Patna suiting every pocket and taste.