Starting in the early 12th century, the movement gained popularity in Greater Khorasan and neighbouring regions. The first references are found in 11th century prose text Qalandarname (The Tale of the Kalandar) attributed to Ansarī Harawī. The term Qalandariyyat (the Qalandar condition) appears to be first applied by Sanai Ghaznavi (d 1131) in seminal poetic works where diverse practices are described. Particular to the qalandar genre of poetry are terms that refer to gambling, games, intoxicants and Nazar ila'l-murd - themes commonly referred to as kufriyyat or kharabat.
The writings of qalandars were not a mere celebration of libertinism, but antinomial practices of affirmation from negative action. The order was often viewed suspiciously by authorities.
The term remains in popular culture. Sufi qawwali singers the Sabri brothers favoured the chant dam a dam masta qalandar (Oh go, go, crazy Qalandar!), and a similar refrain appeared in a hit song from a Bollywood movie that became a dancefloor crossover hit in the 1990s.
The Qalandariyyat in Persian Mystical Poetry from Sana'i 61-75 in The Heritage of Sufism, 2003 ISBN 1-85168-189-2.