Friday, April 10, 2015

Bukhara. The Memorial Complex of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi.

The tomb of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi.

Bakhouddin Naqshbandi was the founder of what would become one of the largest and most influential Sufi Muslim order - the Naqshbandi. He is the unofficial patron saint of Bukhara and the Memorial Complex of Naqshbandi is where he is entombed.  It is considered to be a pilgrimage site for Sufi Muslims and a popular tourist attraction.

In addition to the Mausoleum of Naqshbandi, the complex also contains mosques, madrasahs, and khanakas.


After Bakhouddin Naqshbandi died in 1389, he was buried in his garden as he had requested.  Pilgrims began visiting his grave.  In 1544, Emir Abdulaziz built a platform with carved marble fence over the grave of the Naqshbandi and next to it, an enormous khanaka.

Later, the necropolis where the emirs of Bukhara and their families are buried, appeared.  The necropolis was followed by Muzaffar Khan Mosque and Hakim Kushbegi Mosque (with a small minaret and a madrasah). These buildings formed a courtyard with a hauz (pool).

In 1993, on the 675th anniversary of Naqshbandi's birth, the entire complex was restored and repaired.  Funding was contributed by Turkey and Pakistan.  Additional restoration and renovation work took place in 2003.

Shavkat dropped us off out front and we followed Suhkhrob inside.



On the other end of the entrance was a long walkway.  Above the trees, I could see the dome of Juma (Masjid) which was built in he 16th century as a khanaka.


Located just off the main path is necropolis where the emirs of Bukhara are buried.  This is where we started our visit.  Unfortunately, high stone walls surrounded each of the burial plots and I am far too short to see above the wall so I really did not get a good sense of what this place looked like.


Sukhrob also spent some time working here.  He shared some of his experiences with us.  Truly, if you are an archeologist, Uzbekistan is a good place to work.



I found a stoop to stand on and perched on my tippy toes, I could see some of the tombs.


The Memorial Complex of Naqshbandi is an important pilgrimage site for Sufi Muslims.  On the day we were there, there were indeed quite a few people praying and paying their respects.


From the necropolis, we made our way to a large courtyard where there was a large pool - ducks were wading in the algae green colored water.  On the periphery of the courtyard were several mosques and a khanaka.


The dome covered Juma (Friday) Mosque, originally built by Emir Abdulaziz in the 16th century as a khanaka.

Suhkrob led us to a twisted and warped trunk of tree resembling a giant piece of drift wood.  Legend has it that this tree sprouted where Naqshbandi stuck his staff, upon returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. He then added drops of holy water from Mecca to a nearby well. Faucets near the minaret continue to supply this well's water to pilgrims, who splash their faces with it and bring it home by the jugful for good luck.

As we stood nearby the remains of the tree, we watched people trying to pass under its one thick, low branch.  According to Suhkrob, this large remnant of tree is suppose to be the same age as Naqshbandi and has magical properties.  For example, it supposedly grant longevity to anyone who touches it or walks around it three times or it will fulfill the wishes of those who can pass under the one low lying branch.  You must be a believer!



From here, we went to the Holy Courtyard, where Naqshbandi's mausoleum and tomb are located.  The courtyard is enclosed by two mosques - Hakim Kushbegi Mosque (1720), now used as a women's mosque, and the Muzaffar Khan Mosque, built 150 years later.

Muzaffar Khan Mosque on the left; and Hakim Kushbegi Mosque, with its matching brick minaret, on the right.


Muzaffar Khan Mosque.


The Holy Courtyard is a small, inner courtyard surround on all sides by a beautifully restored iwan held up by traditional wooden columns.



Located at the far end of the courtyard was Naqshbandi's tomb, protected by a talisman affixed to the top of a tall post. Tradition says that it is auspicious to walk around the tomb three times, in a clockwise direction.


There were benches in front of and very near Naqshbandi's tomb.  People took turns sitting and praying.



Also inside the courtyard is a small structure known as a saqqakhana which translates as " Water Carrier's House".  It was constructed over a spring.  Passersby not only take water from the saqqkhana to quench their thirst but to ask for the fulfillment of requests after leaving behind a token gift.  You must be a believer!


Suhkrob had given Pat and I some time to wander about the courtyard on our own.  After we were done, we went in search of him and he was nowhere to be found. We figured he must have either gone to use the facilities or had met up with friend and was somewhere nearby.  We stood and waited and a few short minutes later, he appeared.  Apparently, our visit to the courtyard to see Naqshbandi's tomb wrapped up our visit.

We back tracked to Shavkat and the car.


On to our next destination, a palace fit for an Emir!