The Qawwali Project – An Untold Story

Dinesh Khanna

Sufi Kathak Foundation

Sufi Kathak Foundation
New Delhi, India

Dhruv Sangari (Bilal Chisty) is a leading, popular Qawwal from the new generation of practitioners. Qawwali, when traditionally performed at the Dargah (shrine), becomes a medium for the audience and performer alike for spiritual messages to be transferred, in the Sufi tradition of Mehfil-e-Sama (assembly for listening). Every Qawwal prays to the Saint before the performance, in a way seeking his permission for the performance at the mehfil and in complete surrender to the will of the Saint.

The Qawwali Project, is an initiative conceptualized by Manjari Chaturvedi where the untold story of Qawwali unfolds through the eyes of photographers. The practitioners are photo-documented with their performance art, their lives and their association with the Sufi shrines where they perform. Qawwali is the performance art and Qawwal is the practitioner. This is an attempt by the Sufi Kathak Foundation to document the traditions as they exist at the shrines itself.


  • Title: The Qawwali Project – An Untold Story
  • Creator: Dinesh Khanna
  • Location Created: Dargah Hazrat Qutubuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki, Mehrauli
  • Original Language: Text: Manjari Chaturvedi
  • Type: photo
  • Contributor: Sufi Kathak Foundation
  • Rights: Dinesh Khanna
  • Region: New Delhi
  • Qawwali practitioner: Qawwal Dhruv Sangari (Bilal Chisty)
  • Photographer's biography: Dinesh Khanna is a managing trustee of Nazar Foundation, and one of the co-founders of the Delhi Photo Festival and was also a photography curator for the first two editions of the Serendipity Arts Festival. He is the visual consultant with Sahapedia and advises on the ‘Sahapedia Frames’ Grant for cultural photography. He teaches photography in various institutions, and is a Director of the Dhrish Academy at the Museo Camera: Centre for Photographic Arts. He has published four books of photography — Bazaar (Penguin: 2001), Living Faith (Penguin & Harper Collins: 2004), Right of the Line: The President’s Bodyguard (Rashtrapati Bhawan, 2014), and Life in Rashtrapati Bhawan (Rashtrapati Bhawan, 2015).

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps