In pictures: Without spectre of Covid-19, full-scale celebrations resume at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s urs – Pakistan

In 2020 and 2021, the shrine’s traditions and religious ceremonies have been reduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Malik Anwar, a woman in her 60s, is excited to be part of Qalandar Lal Shahbaz’s full-fledged celebration of urs again after two years thanks to the federal government lifting all epidemic-related restrictions on gathering people in the Holy Land.

“It’s great to see a full-fledged urs celebration again this year,” said Anwar, who lives in the Rawalpindi district of Punjab.

Hazrat Usman Marwandi’s Urs of Hazrat Usman Marwandi, also known by his spiritual title Qalandar Lal Shahbaz, attracts millions of people from all over Pakistan (primarily from Punjab) and other parts of the world.

During the two-year ban, Anwar did not give up his shrine visits out of respect for the saint.

Devotees participate in a celebration at Ur of the Sufi saint Lal Shavaz Kalandar in Sehwan. — Photo by Umair Ali

In 2020 and 2021, in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocol, a limited number of devotees and officials were allowed to gather inside and outside the shrine. Traditional and religious rituals were also reduced. Tamar (devotional dance), performed and read by a small group of Shinto.

Restrictions on celebrations also led to clashes last year when hundreds of devotees, mostly from outside Sindh, were forced to enter the shrine. As a result, dozens of believers and seven police officers were injured.

“It is heartbreaking to see believers gather at the shrine to sing a chorus. Tamar In the patio without fear or restrictions. Business is restarting in Sehwan and the family is paying tribute to Ral,” Anwar quickly said, crediting his devotion, love and respect for Qalandar to his prayers that he said was answered at the sanctuary.

Devotees participate in a celebration at Ur of the Sufi saint Lal Shavaz Kalandar in Sehwan.

‘To serve people’

Sivtein Naqbi, a Lahore resident from Multan, called the land of the Sufi, reflected Anwar’s feelings.

The 39-year-old has been tasked with serving the followers of Kalandar Lal Shavaj. “I do this to treat people well when they pay their respects to the Kalandar. I take their respect for Ral very seriously.”

Serving has been Naqvi’s routine for the past 15 years. langar (Food) Three times a day among believers — breakfast, lunch and dinner. that much Niaz (Food offered in God’s name) is divided among about 200 people.

Every year he approaches Sehwan a few days ahead of us in Kalandar.

Devotees pay tribute to Ral Shavaj Kalandar at the sanctuary of Saint Sufi in Shehwan.

Naqvi’s menu organization halwa puri Lamb biryani for breakfast, lamb biryani for lunch, and korma for the devotees in the evening. “The chef accompanies us, we buy the goats from Sehwan’s market, and we stock up on the rest before we start.”

Naqvi uses the land of Sehwan Sharif located in Makrani Para around the temple for 3 days. “This time, after my performance, I return to Lahore early. Naukri (Serving believers)” he said.

celebration at the shrine

On the right bank of the Indus River, about 130 kilometers northwest of Hyderabad, Sehwan is witnessing a lot of activity this year.

Sehwan’s shopkeepers adorned their shop annually before ours opened. Visitors are still busy with shopping, some buying photos of the sacred figures sold in the narrow streets behind the Temple of Kalandar.

Energetic men and women filled the shrine, and devotees danced in tahmar at Ur of Kalandar.

Devotees in red dresses are performing. Tamar From urs by Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

His devotees usually wear the red frock style that remains their hallmark. they do Tamar At set times in the courtyard of the shrine, also known as Tamar A courtroom spinning in ecstasy for several minutes.

Held on three specific lunar days marking the death of a saint, Urs of a spiritual nature is a mega event mainly for those belonging to the Barelvi school of thought. Although that day marks the date of the saint’s death, it is considered a divine meeting with the Shinto’s Murshid (spiritual guide). That is why the disciples celebrate this event with great joy, believing that the saint is the only contact between them and God.

Devotees participate in a celebration at Ur of the Sufi saint Lal Shavaz Kalandar in Sehwan.

People of various religious beliefs visit the shrine all year round, and the number grows around our celebrations. In March, as temperatures slowly start to soar, barefoot men and women of all ages continue to crowd the Kalandar settlement.

many performances Tamar In the group outside the dome while others struggle to enter the shrine with ‘Volo Volomera Sonar Lal Kalandar Mast‘ they shout. Others continue to sound their horns from shell-like objects inside the shrine.

Devotees of the Temple of Lal Shavaz Kalandar honk at objects such as seashells.

A young woman named Gul Zareen from Multan said: She will return to Punjab after paying her respects. “Coming here every year is a comfort,” she said.

Qalandar Lal Shahbaz is said to have been used to: Tamar To commemorate the martyrs of Karbala when they fell in love with them.

Bearded men dance in red dresses and sparkling anklets to celebrate the saint’s pilgrimage. Tamar in trance. Holding them with long hair and begging bowls is a way of expressing deep affection.

Some women beat their breasts in the courtyard to commemorate Hazrat Imam Hussain, grandson of the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Nowhas (Lamentations) inside, while others sit in awe at the Temple of Kalandar, a replica of the Temple of Imam Ali Raja in Mashad, Iran.

Police stand guard at the Lal Shabaj Kalandar Temple as devotees arrive to commemorate Ur of the Sufi saint.

According to the spiritual order associated with the Kalandar, those wishing to pay their respects at the shrine must first visit the tomb of Kalandar’s beloved Saki Bodla Bahar. Bahar was Qalandar’s most trusted servant and is attributed to many legends.

Gentlemen’s staff close the inner sanctuary for a formal opening ceremony scheduled for the morning of Shabaan on the 18th, when urs begins. And when the door is opened, the moment you enter the shrine, you are captivated by an aura of enchanting mysticism.

This photo shows devotees arriving at the Lal Shavaj Kalandar Temple to commemorate Ur of Saint Sufi.

Lost Festival

But all of this disappeared when the coronavirus came down to Sehwan just like in the rest of the world.

The appearance of the abandoned shrine over the past two years has brought suffering to many.

An eerie silence fell around the shrine. All passageways leading to it were kept completely closed.

The temple was closed in mid-March 2020 as a precaution by the Sindh government, and the entire state was closed on March 23rd.

This April 2020 photo shows the shrine of Lal Shabaj Kalandar almost empty after coronavirus-related restrictions were put in place.
This photo shows an empty road leading to the holy site of Lal Shabaj Kalandar during Ur of the Sufi saint in April 2020.

There were no singers Volo Volomera Sonar Lal Kalandar Mast All I could hear was the crowing and fluttering of pigeons around the dome and just above a beautiful dark brown wooden frame called ‘.catera‘ or Seat in Persian.

The shops were also closed at that time. The financial loss to the business was undoubtedly huge as the annual capabilities of urs generate millions of dollars in revenue from Sehwan in just a few days. People spend a lot of money on philanthropy langar During their stay, it boosts the local economy and residents rent properties to visitors to earn extra income.

However, the festival returned to Sehwan after a two-year hiatus. And Malik Anwar wants this to stay.

This April 2020 photo shows the shrine of Lal Shabaj Kalandar almost empty after coronavirus-related restrictions were put in place.

Header image: Shinto perform Tamar at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s urs in Sehwan.