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Brief life sketch of Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)

Name and Genealogy

Amongst the descendants of Hazrat Ibrahim a.s., Hazrat Ali a.s. belonged to the line of Quraish. He was the son of Abu Talib r.a., son of Abdul Muttalib of the distinguished tribe of Bani Hashim. Only one step above his lineage coincided with that of the Prophet s.a. of Islam. The latter being Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib and the former Ali bin Abi Talib bin Abdul Muttalib . It was his father Abu Talib who had nourished and brought up the Prophet s.a. His mother Fatima bint-e Asad was also a noble lady belonging to the tribe of Bani Hashim whom the Prophet s.a. regarded as his own mother.

About Dargah Shah-e-Mardan

Dargah Shah-e-Mardan is the oldest and holiest Shiite's (Shia Asna Asha'ri) shrine in India. It is probably 700 years old ‘Dargah', although the detail of its construction is unknown. It is located in the Aliganj, currently known as B. K. Dutt Colony in South Delhi neighborhood of Jor Bagh, just two kilometers away from Prime Minister House.   During the Mughal era the village here was then known as ‘Aliganj'. This area had been called Aliganj till recent. The name from Aliganj to B.K.Dutt colony was changed just two decades ago by the then Govt. This village was called 'Aliganj' on account of Imam Ali (as) ibn Abu Talib (as). The name Dargah Shah-e-Mardan is also derived from the same name. 'Dargah' means a court and 'Shah-e-Mardan' means the 'king of Heroes', a title of Maula Ali (as). Dargah Shah-e-Mardan means the 'court of the king of Heroes'.  A sacred white marble stone having a clear footprint of Maula Ali(as) ibn Abu Talib(as) known as 'Qadam-e-Mubarak' or Qadam Shareef, is also placed inside Dargah Shah-e-Mardan.

Originally the enclosure of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan was developed and secured by Qudsiya Begum Zamani, the mother of Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah Bahahdur and the grandmother of last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. An inscription on a marble slab set over the arch of the northern gateway reads as -

Translation "Muhammad(pbuh) the friend of God said  'I am  a city of learning and Ali(as) is its gateway" "In the auspicious reign of Ahmad Shah Bahadur, the king and champion of faith, the building of the fort, the Majlis Khana (the congregation house), the mosque and the tank, was completed  in one year, according to the orders of Her Highness Nawab  Qudsiya Sahiba  Zamani, under the supervision of  Nawab Bahadur Jawaid Khan Sahib, and under the control of  Lutf Ali Khan in 1164 A.H.(1750 A.D.)"

Nawab Qudsiya Begum professed 'Shia' faith. During the reign of her son Ahmad Shah, she possessed a 'mansab' (title) of 'Nawab' of 50,000. When her influence was at its peak, she had constructed a few religious buildings here in the vicinity of Qadam Shareef of Imam Ali (as), which already existed here.  She enclosed those structures with a massive parapetted wall. The enclosure had a bastain at each of its four corners and was furnished with four gateways and two posterns. The wall, all its bastions and posterns do not exist now. The northern gateway had an inscription referring to the buildings erected by Qudsiya Begum and alludes to the enclosure as a fort.

Enclosure of Dargah Shah-e Mardan includes Qadam Shareef,  Bibi ka Rauza or Bibi ki Chakki, Kazmain, Imam Bara also known as Baradari, Nawab Qudsia Mosque, Majlis Khana, Red Mosque and Dargah Arif Ali shah. Its surrounding waqf land includes Naqqar Khana, Zeenat ki Masjid, Baoli, Qanati Masjid, Karbala and Chotti Karbala.

It is also said that Enclosure of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan was founded by Nawab Qudsiya Begum. Mahabat Khan, a prominent Mughal general and statesman, who died in 'Deccan' (Hydrabad) in 1634 A.D. (1144 A.H.), has expressed a desire to be buried close to the Qadam Shareef in Dargah Shah-e-Mardan. Upon his death his corpse was brought to Delhi from 'Deccan' and was buried close to Qadam Shareef.

Timur Lang, a 'Mongol' conqueror had made the world's first 'Tazia' (replica of Shrine of Imam Hussain (as) and buried it in 1399 A.D. (800-01 A.H.) in the vicinity of Qadam Shareef. He called that portion of land as 'Karbala'.  (Ever first Karbala after the original Karbala in Iraq, in the world)

These two incidents indicates that Dargah Shah-e-Mardan has been standing here much longer and building Dargah Shah-e-Mardan by Qudsiya Begum cannot be accepted as true. Dargah Shah-e-Mardan was existed well beyond the time of Qudsiya Begum. Nawab Qudsiaya Zamani only developed it in an organized way with the resources at her command. An inscription on the northern gateway itself is a proof that the buildings constructed by her were only the additions to the latter.

In her last days Nawab Qudsiya Begum was imprisoned and blinded along with her son Ahmad Shah Bahadur. She spent the remaining years of her life in prison and died in 1765 A.D. (1178-79 A.H.)

Prior to the partition of India this area was inhabited by shia Muslims in a very small population, around the Dargah shah-e-Mardan including some members of the Royal family. However, in 1947 when Delhi suffered the pain of partition, this area was no exception and the complete Muslim population had to flee from the area. After the Shia community migrated from the vicinity, Govt. rehabilitated the 'non Muslim' migrants from Pakistan here on the waqf land. The big gates, boundary walls and properties of the Dargah Shah-e-Mardan and in its surrounding were brutally vandalized and encroached by the refugees.

It was during this time that Mr. Agha Mirza concerned about the safety of Qadam Shareef and shifted this sacred stone having the footprint of Maula Ali (as) to Dargah Panja Sharif at Kashmiri Gate, Old Delhi. However, when conditions became conducive, the Qadam Shareef was again put back in its original and rightful place at the Dargah shah-e-Mardan.

The area of Aliganj, and partially part of current Jorbagh was used as the Shia cemetery.  At one time this area was second in importance (in the whole Delhi) only to the Dargah Shah-e-Mardan, because of ‘Qadam Shareef'. Dr. Khaliq Anjum, a renowned scholar and a great litterateur once persuaded Mr. Lal Bahadur Shashtri, the Prime Minister of India to stop the car in which they both were travelling in, to inspect the damages. Shashtriji was very shocked and gave orders immediately for remedial steps. Thus, a great part of Dargah shah-e-Mardan and its surrounding waqf was saved, which enshrined the heritage of the Shias down the ages.

People from all walks of life belonging to all religions, castes and creeds come here as devotees for offering their prayers and getting their 'mannats' (wishes) fulfilled. Not only local Shia Muslims but Ministers, Members of Parliament, other Govt. officials, Foreign Diplomats from various Embassies especially from the various Muslim countries come to this Dargah on regular basis. Moreover, eminent personalities have addressed the gatherings on several occasions. These include Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India, Mr. Lal Bahadur Shashtri, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Mahavir Tyagi, a prominent freedom fighter and famous parliamentarian,  Mr. Krishan Chander, a prolific writer, Mr. Jon Dayal, from Christian Council and Aacharye  Pramod Kirishnan to name a few.


Monuments of Delhi, compiled by Maulvi Zaffar Hassan, Vol.1 (2008 A.D.) Originally Published in 1916 A.D.

Fall of the Mughal Empire by Jadunath Sarkar, Vol. 1 (4th Edition, 1991) Originally Published in 1932.

Aasar-us-Sanadeed by Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, (2014 A.D.) Originally Published in 1847 A.D.

Waaqiyaat-e-Darul Hukumat by Bashiruudin Ahmad Dehlvi, Vol. 3, Published in 1919 A.D.

Dilli ki Dargah Shah-e-Mardan by Dr. Khaliq Anjum, Published in 1988 A.D.

Archaeological survey of  India (ASI) reports.

National Archives of India, New Delhi.

British Council Library, New Delhi.

Encyclopaedia Britannica.


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Who are Shi'ah?

The term "Shi'ah" is an adjective used by Muslims who follow the Imams from the Family of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt). They use it not for reasons of sectarianism or for causing divisions amongst Muslims. They use it because the Qur'an uses it, the Prophet Muhammad used it, and the early Muslims used it - before words such as Sunni or Salafi ever came into existence.


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Historic Perspective of Anjuman

For the preservation, upkeep and management of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan an Anjuman was present from innumerable years as 'Guldasta-e-Haideri'. In the year 1954 A.D., the name was changed to Anjuman-e-Haideri and was also registered in the same year under the leadership of Nawab Zain Yar Jung and Colonel Bashir Hussain Zaidi. Col. Zaidi was the chairman of the management committee of the Karbala Jorbagh, New Delhi. Other members of the Anjuman-e-Haideri(regd.) were Janab Agha Mirza sb, Janab Maulana Syed Sulaiman Abbas Rizvi sb, Janab Mehmood Hussain Naqvi Tabish sb, Janab S. Hussain Ali Jafri sb, Janab Hamid Hussain Zaidi sb, Janab Ishtiyaq Hussain Shariq sb, and Janab  Vyas Dev Mishra sb, to name a few.  Janab Syed Hussain Ali Jafri sb. and Janab Vyas Dev Mishra sb. played the most important role to secure the waqf properties, after independence. After fighting many legal battles they ensured the betterment of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan and its surrounding waqf properties.


Anjuman-e-Hiaderi (regd.) is a civic, religious, not political, and a trustee body. It has been looking after the affairs and interests of Dargah shah-e-Mardan, Karbala Jor Bagh, New Delhi, and it’s surrounding waqf land, which include Naqqar Khana, Zeenat ki Masjid, Baoli, Qanati Masjid and Chotti Karbala. Managing a giant trust like Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) is a daunting task. The office bearers of the present body of Anjuman e Haideri (regd.) are stalwarts from various fields as education, management, business, law and medical profession etc. Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) has gained important status because of its farsighted leadership and activities of far reaching implications. It does not merely look after the management and activities at the above mentioned waqf properties, but it also function as an active body on various national and international issues directly related to the community.


Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) successfully amplifies its voice against the atrocities on the innocent 'Muslims' around the world, and extends solidarity to all suppressed classes in the country and elsewhere. It also engages in creating the awareness and spearheading the community and the social issues. It creates awareness against terrorism, the world wide menace; strengthen communal harmony and developing bond among the oppressed classes.


Till 1995 the strength of the Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) was about 100. It then kept on increasing to 129 in 1998, 149 in 2001, and 176 till September 2010. After the new committee got elected in the year 2010, the membership was made easy and the membership soon increased to more than 1100 at present. Currently membership is open for all Shia Asna Asha'ri (12 imami) community members. Efforts are being made to further increase the membership to have widest representation from the Shia Community in the Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) Membership is voluntary. The management body is elected for three years by fee paying members of the Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.). The current body of Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.) is elected in October 2016. The constitution of the Anjuman was amended in 1996-97 and was also translated in English language. As per the new amendments the 'Managing Committee' of 20 persons is elected all together by members of the Anjuman-e-Haideri (regd.). The Managing Committee holds regular meetings to discuss the various issues regarding the management and upkeep of the Dargah Shah-e-Mardan and its surrounding waqf land, to organize the religious programmes and to review the progress of the initiatives taken.


In 2014 Anjuman-e-Haideri(regd.) has prepared a Master Plan for the protection and beautification of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan and its surrounding waqf land, which includes but not limited to construct a Boundary Wall, an Entrance Gate, an Office for the Anjuman-e-Haideri(regd.), an Infirmary, an extensive Library, Bargah-e-Zainabiya(a new Hall for Majalis), Col. B. H. Zaidi Conference Hall, an Educational Institute, Enlargement of Nawab Qudsia Mosque, a separate Congregation Hall for the ladies, a Modern Air-conditioned bathroom for 'Takfeen' of dead bodies, Musafir Khana (Guest House), residence for Imam e Juma, Moazzin and khadims, and an additional parking space for devotees. A model for the said plan is already prepared and can be seen in Qadam Shareef.

Having felt the urgency of the bathroom for the dead bodies, a modern Air Conditioned bathroom has been constructed in 2015, which is equipped with the latest technology and all the required amenities.


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Quran's Call for Unity

Discussing historical facts or jurisprudential differences should not in any way discourage Muslim unity since the majority of Muslim historians from all schools of thought agree on similar historical facts. Differences between the philosophers, scholars and thinkers of the schools of thought can be either constructive or destructive. If they lead to the fragmentation of the Muslim nation, then they are unacceptable, as the Holy Qur'an says:

"But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each group rejoicing in its belief."[303]


Featured Views

Washington Irving on Hazrat Ali

(1783-1859)  Well-known as the “first American man of letters”.

q       "He was one of the last and worthiest of the primitive Moslems, who imbibed his religious enthusiasm from companionship with the Prophet himself, and followed to the last the simplicity of his example.  He is honourably spoken of as the first Caliph who accorded some protection to Belles-Lettres.  He indulged in the poetic vein himself, and many of his maxims and proverbs are preserved, and have been translated in various languages.  His signet bore this inscription: 'The kingdom belongs to God'.  One of his sayings shows the little value he set upon the transitory glories of this world, 'Life is but the shadow of a cloud - the dream of a sleeper'."

[Lives of the Successors of Mahomet, London, 1850, pp. 187-8]