It is through a familial relationship that I was introduced to the concept of a dargah. It’s all very complicated but to make it easy, my great-nephew, Beau Gano, was one of the construction managers in the building of this revered place of rest for Murshid Samuel Lewis. In the mountains near Taos, a small village of the faithful followers of Murshid SAM has the honor of caring for his remains. The sect is known as Sufi Ruhaniat. As I am woefully ignorant of the many non-Christian religions in the world, I can’t speak intelligently about the meaning and purpose of their spiritual sites. Fortunately there is an Internet and I was able to find out much about Sufi Ruhaniat and Murshid SAM on their website. Details on the construction of the Dargah can be found here for those interested.
Our trek leader, Joseph Gano, brought us to Lama Mountain where the paved road eventually turned to gravel and became too steep for us to drive my sedan any higher. We stopped at an area where we could park and hiked along the road and then a trail up to the Dargah site. Along the way, the views were beautiful, the vistas magnificent.
To protect the privacy of the people who live in the village, I didn’t take any photographs as we passed through the small collection of houses, but as we neared the Dargah, this image looking toward the valley shows the roofs of the houses there. They have a beautiful community in a beautiful part of New Mexico.
Murshid SAM passed away in 1971, but before he died, he requested to be buried on Lama Mountain. His grave site covered simply in a mound of quartz stone. The construction of the Dargah began in 2014 and was finished in late 2018. All that remains to be completed is the landscaping which is on hold until spring 2019. During construction, the grave site was undisturbed, the Dargah being built around the mound. The floor and the ceiling were designed in geometric patterns.
Prior to the construction of the Dargah, people who wished to visit the grave site would be subjected to the intense sun at the 8700 foot (2652 m) level on Lama Mountain. According to the Sufi website, Murshid SAM “predicted that his own resting place would become a touchstone; a place where pilgrims could receive guidance and answers to life’s questions.” The beautiful structure will no doubt be a pilgrimage site to the faithful. I present for your review a gallery of images captured that morning on the way and at the site of our visit to this holy place. In most browsers you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.
There sure are a lot of religions I’ve never heard of out there. And they are crafty enough to enjoy tax free status… Well played. What a beautiful building, once again your travels have taken me somewhere I’ve never heard of & for that, as usual, I am thankful.
I learned much from their website. Had Beau not worked the project, I would have missed an interesting experience for sure.