I don’t know if it is still ‘live’ on New Delhi’s tourists map or pilgrims circuit , but the legend of Matka Mazar, near Delhi’s Purana Quila makes interesting read. My source is a newspaper clipping dating back to 1982. The scanned page of newspaper photo feature, credited to Himani Pande, shows earthen pots stacked on top of the tomb of Hazrat Sheikh Abu Bakr Tusi, a saint from Arabia who spent his last years in Delhi over 700 years ago. Devotees to his tomb offered ‘matka’ (earthen pot) in prayers.
Legend has it that the nomadic saint, camping in Dekhi, didn’t, for some reason, endear himself to the then Dehi ruler Shah Balban, a tyrannical type with pronounced sadistic tendency. It is said the ruler, in a bid to humiliate the noble soul credited with divine powers, sent the saint ‘meal’ of iron pellets and a cake of elephant dung. The sage accepted the offer and put the cake in his ‘matka’ mixing it with water to make sherbat (fruit juice). The iron pellets turned into roasted gram.
Pilgrims visiting the dargah of Hazrat Tusi offered matka at his mazar . The one the sage possessed is believed to be buried in a nearby well that has remained sealed for centuries.