Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Bolo Haus Mosque

Bolo-Hauz (Children’s Reservoir?) Mosque was reportedly built in 1712 by the Ashtarkhanid ruler Abul Fayud Khan (1711-47) for his mother, Bibi Khanum. Later it was apparently frequented by the emirs of Bukhara who lived in the nearby Ark.
Bolo Haus Mosque (click on photos for enlargements)
Bolo Haus Mosque
This short minaret was added to the complex in 1917 by Shirin Muradov, a famous Bukhara craftsmen.
 Bolo Haus Mosque
The entryway, or iwan, is a fairly recent construction, added to the mosque's eastern facade 1914-17 by the last Mangit ruler Sayyid Alim Khan (1910-20)
Detail of entrance to Bolo Haus Mosque
The porch in front of the Bolo Haus Mosque. The twenty columns are made from poplar, walnut, and elm wood. 
Porch of Bolo Haus Mosque
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosqueue
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosque
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosque

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | Naqshbandi’s Mother

A third of a mile north-northeast of the Tomb Complex of Naqshbandi, the seventh of the Seven Khwajagan Of The Bukhara Oasis, is the tomb complex of his mother. It is a favorite pilgrimage site for women. 
Mosque dedicated to Naqshbandi’s mother (click on photos for enlargements)
Mosque dedicated to Naqshbandi’s mother
Old stone pedestal and wooden column of the mosque
Although no one on site was able to confirm this I got the impression that Naqshbandi’s mother was buried in the courtyard behind the wooden screen. Women often come here to pray. 
 What I assume is the tomb of Naqshbandi’s mother
 Mosque of Naqshbandi’s mother and reservoir 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #7 Naqshbandi

Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshbandi (1318–1389) was the seventh of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis. He is the eponym of the Naqshbandi Order which exists down to the present day. His mausoleum complex, seven miles east-northeast of Bukhara, is one of the most popular pilgrimages sites in Uzbekistan and is visited by Naqshbandis, other pilgrims, and tourists from all over the world. 
Entrance to the Baqshbandi Mausoleum Complex (click on photos for enlargements)
Entrance to the Baqshbandi Mausoleum Complex
Courtyard of the 17th century Madrassa
Mosque within the complex
Reservoir within the complex
Ancient tree trunk within the complex
Monument within the compound
Within the mausoleum complex with the tomb of Naqshabandi in the distance
The tomb of Naqshabandi
The tomb of Naqshabandi
The tomb of Naqshabandi
Tomb complex behind the Naqshbandi complex. Buried here are numerous Timurid and post-Timurid potentates.
Tomb complex of Bukhara Panjandrums

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mongolia | Zaisan Tolgoi | Fifth of the Nine-Nines | Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui

The Fifth of the Nine-Nines—nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather—begins today, January 26. This is Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui, the time when “Cooked Rice Cannot Be Frozen.” I must admit I really don’t understand the definition of this period. It seems to me that cooked rice would be frozen at any temperature below freezing, and we can certainly expect colder temperatures than that during the last week of January and beginning of February. Anyhow, the Fourth of the Nine-Nines was supposed to be coldest of the Nine-Nines, but it turned out to be fairly moderate—yesterday the temperature got up to 6º F. in the afternoon. This morning, the first day of the 5th Nine-Nine, it was a mere 20 below 0º F at 7:00.

As all you Devotees of Sin (the God, not the act) know, the Full Moon occurs tomorrow at 12:39 p.m. This is the Wolf Moon, the winter moon when wolves experience the most hunger. Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year, begins in seventeen days, on February 11. In case you are wondering, the Tsagaan Sar Countdown Clock on my blog counts down to the New Moon, which actually occurs at 3:20 p.m. on February 10. The Tsagaan Sar celebration starts the next day. As you probably know, this will be the Year of the Female Water Snake.  
When you are out for your pre-dawn constitutional this coming week might want to check out the waning moon gliding by Saturn around February 2nd and 3rd.
Graphic Courtesy of Sky and Telescope

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #6 Kulal

Sayyid Amir Kulal (d.1370) was the sixth of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis.
In his childhood he [Kulal] was a wrestler. He used to practice all of its arts, until he became one of the most famous wrestlers in his time. All the wrestlers would gather around him to learn from him. One day, a man watching him wrestle had the following thought come to his heart: “How is it that a person who is the Descendant of the Prophet  and who is deeply knowledgeable in sharia and tariqat, is practicing this sport?” He immediately fell into a deep sleep and dreamt that it was the Judgement Day. He felt that he was in great difficulty and that he was drowning. Then the shaikh Sayyid Amir al-Kulal appeared to him and rescued him from the water. He woke up and Sayyid Amir al-Kulal looked at him and said, “Did you witness my power in wrestling and my power in intercession?" One time his shaikh-to-be, Muhammad Baba as-Samasi, was passing by his wrestling arena, accompanied by his followers. He stopped and stood there. An evil whisper came to the heart of one of his followers saying, “How is it that the shaikh is standing here in this wrestling arena?” The shaikh looked at his follower immediately and said, “I am standing here for the sake of one person. He is going to be a great Knower. Everyone will come to him for guidance and through him people will reach the highest states of Divine Love and the Divine Presence. My intention is to bring this person under my wing.” At that moment Amir Kulal gazed at him, was attracted and abandoned the sport of wrestling. He followed Shaikh Muhammad Baba As-Samasi to his house. Shaikh Samasi told him, "You are now my son."
Sayyid Amir Kulal’s mausoleum complex is located eight miles east of Bukhara.
Entrance to the mausoleum complex of Sayyid Amir Kulal
Grounds of Sayyid Amir Kulal’s mausoleum complex 
Mausoleum of Sayyid Amir Kulal
Interior of mausoleum. Kulal’s tomb is behind the wooden door.
Grounds of Sayyid Amir Kulal’s mausoleum complex

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #5 Samasi

I spent most of the morning tramping around the ruins of Varakhsha, the ancient city on the western edge of the Bukhara Oasis which once served as the seat of the kings of the region. Leaden skies loomed overhead and gusting winds swept snow flurries through the ruined walls and battlements. In the first millennium the city was well within the boundaries of the Bukhara Oasis; now it is on the very edge, with desert stretching off the west. 
Ruins of Varakhsha (click on photos for enlargements)
Shortly after noon we left for the mausoleum of Muhammad Baba as-Samasi. My driver had been to the mausoleum before, but he had gone there directly from Bukhara. He was not quite sure how to get there from the ruins of Varakhsha. We drove north a few miles and found ourselves in the desert.  At a  crossroads we stopped to ask directions from a man passing by on a tractor.
Desert at the first crossroads
The wind had picked up, blowing fresh snow flurries almost vertically across the sand. Following the tractor driver’s directions we soon found ourselves amidst the barren and fallow fields on the cultivated edge of the oasis. We came to crossroads with no idea which way to go. We drove on a couple of miles before encountering a car coming the other way. The driver informed us we were going the wrong way. We had to go back to the crossroads and turn right. We followed the road to the right a couple of miles and came to another crossroad. The last man we talked to had not mentioned this crossroad. We turned right and drove four or five miles until we came to small house set back off the road. We stopped and the driver went to the door to ask for directions. We had taken a wrong turn at the last crossroads. We returned and turned right again. We must have gone through eight or nine crossroads before we finally found ourselves in the parking lot of Muhammad Baba as-Samasi mausoleum. It had taken us an hour and a half to get here, although I later discovered the mausoleum is only eight miles from Varakhsha. 
Western edge of Bukhara Oasis showing Varakhsha and the Mausoleum of Samasi 
My driver, who was wearing only a sports coat, and I hurried through what seemed like gale-force winds from the parking lot to the entrance portal. 
Portal of the Samasi Mausoleum
Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi, the distinguished student of al-Azizan [Ramitani], was the Scholar of the Saints and the Saint of the Scholars . . . He followed Shaikh Ali Ramitani al-'Azizan and he was constantly engaged in struggling against his self. He was put into seclusion on a daily basis, until he reached such a state of purity that his shaikh was permitted to transmit to his heart from the Unseen Heavenly Knowledge. He became very famous for his miraculous powers and his high state of sainthood. Shaikh 'Ali Ramitani chose him before his death as his successor and ordered all his students to follow him. He used to say, as he passed the village of Qasr al-Arifan, “I am smelling from this place the scent of a Spiritual Knower who is going to appear and after whose name this entire Order will be known.” One day he passed the village and said, “I am smelling the scent so strongly that it is as if the Knower has now been born.”
As we shall soon see, the Knower was Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshbandi, the seventh of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis.
Walkway through the mausoleum complex
Grounds of the mausoleum complex
As we entered the courtyard which contains the tomb of Samasi I noticed a strange thing. There was not a breath of wind. I mentioned to the caretaker that on the way here the wind seemed to be blowing thirty or forty miles an hour. We had even encountered strong winds out in the parking lot. But here it was perfectly calm. “This is a peculiarity of this place,” said the caretaker. “It does not matter what the weather is outside; the wind never blows here around Baba as-Samani’s tomb.”
Tomb of Samasi
Tomb of Samasi
Tomb of Samasi
Tomb of Samasi
Mosque at the mausoleum complex
Interior of the compound
My driver. He is a life-long resident of Bukhara
As we left to drive back to Bukhara we discovered that out in the parking lot the wind was still howling relentlessly .