The Jamatkhana

The term jamatkhana is derived from the Arabic word jama‘a (gathering) and the Persian word khana (house, place), which together can be translated as ‘a place of congregation’ or ‘assembly house’. The term has its origins in the Indian subcontinent, and historically has been used to refer to the covered outdoor spaces used by Sufis of the Chishti tariqa for fraternal discussions and during sessions of teaching and counsel conducted by their pir or shaykh. In this context, the jamatkhana is most often found within important tomb complexes such as that of Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri and Mu’inuddin Chishti in Ajmer.
The term is also used by other communities of the Subcontinent. Amongst the Alevi and Dawoodi Bohra communities of South Asia, the term refers to the space where community members gather for social occasions including communal meals. Spaces designated as jamatkhanas can also be seen in Mughal complexes, such as that of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Nizari Ismaili communities throughout the world also refer to their spaces as Jamatkhanas which have been designated for the community’s religious and social practices.

SOURCE : http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=109647 

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