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Mumbai: On Monday morning, a fire in Srinagar razed Peer Dastgeer Sahib, the shrine of the 11th century saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, to the ground. While the saint’s relics were saved, the 200-year-old shrine, with its wooden interiors and papier-mache detailing, was gutted. With its ceilings made in an old Kashmiri style of geometrical woodwork patterning called Khatamband, panels worked in papier-mache and painted in blues, greens and gold, the serene halls of Dastgeer Sahib were greatly loved locally. “Replicas might be made, of course, but I doubt the fineness and detailing from centuries ago can be recreated," says Sajid Wani, a Srinagar native who comes from a family of artists.

In daylight: The men’s section of the shrine, with its large, stained-glass windows overlooking a busy Srinagar street. Photographs by Vivek Menezes

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These pictures, taken in May inside Dastgeer Sahib by writer Vivek Menezes, capture the shrine’s beautiful, quiet interiors, as well as the local devotees who dropped in to say morning prayers.

supriya.n@livemint.com

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