Turkman Gate, which is today the focal point of a busy crossroad at Daryaganj,
was named aer a Sufi saint Shams-ul-Arifeen Shah Turkman Bayabani. Shah Turkman lived centuries before Shahjahanabad was even established in 1639. He was a contemporary of Qutub-ud-Din Bakhtyaar Kaaki and Iltutmish and died in 1240, the same year Razia Sultan, the first woman ruler of Delhi was killed.
Shah Turkman is believed to be one of the earliest Sufis to have settled in Delhi. He belonged to a sect of Sufis who believing in living and praying alone in secluded places (bayaban means wilderness), hence the surname Bayabani. In his book The Delhi That No-One Knows, author RV Smith writes: “The Baba came to Delhi perhaps in the wake of the invasion of Muhammad Ghori aer the second battle of Tarain (1193).”
“But he did not live in Mehrauli where the new rulers had taken up abode. In those days, this area (Daryaganj) was a jungle where roamed many wild beasts, but this man of God did not have anything to fear. His needs were simple and he ate wild fruits and drank water from the pond that occupied the place where the Ramlila Ground is now situated.”
Notably, Shah Turkman’s shrine is the oldest known Sufi shrine in Delhi