The dargahs of India are testaments to the widespread belief in the spiritual teachings and supernatural powers of Muslim saints. Known most commonly as shaykhs, these saints belonged to various mystical Sufi orders that traced their origins to Iran and Central Asia, some going back as far as the 9th–10th centuries. Devotees regularly visit the tombs of these shaykhs, known as dargahs, to seek solace and fulfilment of their personal needs. At the urs festivities marking the death anniversaries of individual saints, the dargahs become the destination of huge crowds of pilgrims. Dargahs are popular sites that appeal to all levels of society, from sultans and powerful elites to ordinary people, Muslim and non-Muslim. Today, many thousands of dargahs are in active worship in India. However, the authors focus on 11 of the most historically significant of them. The articles are illustrated with evocative photographs by Karoki Lewis.
Mumtaz Currim, an independent research scholar, writes and lectures on Islam in India to emphasize its religious, artistic, and intellectual traditions. Her background includes a study of Islamic cultures and societies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and journeys to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Syria, Jordon, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, and Indonesia to explore their Islamic heritage. She is currently editing a Marg volume in a little known area of Indo-Islamic art, thought, and culture.
George Michell trained as an architect and then studied Indian archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has edited numerous Marg volumes, including Temple Towns of Tamil Nadu, New Light on Hampi, Banaras: The City Revealed, and recently co-authored The Great Temple at Thanjavur: One Thousand Years, 1010–2010.