SEHWAN: The 764th Urs of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was observed in Sehwan from May 26 to 28 with religious zeal and spiritual fervor.
Known for its religious tolerance, Sindh welcomes thousands of devotees during Lal Shahbaz Urs – the death anniversary celebrations – who come to pay homage to the great Sufi saint of his times.
Devotees from far and wide visit the Lal’s land and experience a transcendental feeling that brings them closer to god and divine spirits – the state associated with malangs.
Dhamal – the dance on drum beats – is the major feature of the festival where every devotee tries to forget his own being, existence while dancing and going into a trance-like state.
Urs celebration: Thousands flock to Mela Chiraghan
For that matter, a legion of devotees bring ‘dhols’ to the Urs to help believers reach the pinnacle of spirituality.
However, Lal's Mela is not only about dance and dhamal. Scores of Shia believers throng the vicinity of the shrine and present their pursa -- meaning condolences -- in the form of chest-beating and self flagellation.
The beauty? Every devotee holds the diversity associated with Lal Shahbaz's shrine in high regard, allowing everyone to celebrate or observe Urs in their own, distinct way.
Experience Laal’s Mela through these pictures:
Jameel Shah Khaak-e-Ali is from Multan. He has been attending the Laal’s Urs for 28 years now and loves to call himself a Faqeer.
On one hand, he carries a horn that is associated with Laal Shahbaz, whereas on other hand he has a bowl called ‘Kaasa’.
“This horn says ‘Mast Qalandar’ or ‘Ali Haider’ when played. This ‘Kasa’ is symbolic of Imam Hasan’s last meal when he was poisoned by his enemies. I carry these essentials because I am slave of Ali,” Shah says.
“I am not here for having wealth or any other demand. I have been blessed by Laal Saeen so much that I don’t need money at all. I like to stay a Laal’s faqir because this beggary suits me.”
Three Malangs from Shah Jamal, Lahore came to pay their respect to Lal Shahbaz.
During their one week stay, these devotees will be camping near the shrine and will play dhool to make other devotees dance on its beat.
Devotees carrying Lal's chador are entering the shrine. The chador is prepared by the believers with religious zeal and is then presented for the tomb of the Sufi saint.
A devotee is seen in a trance-like state while doing dhamal on drum beats played.
An outside view of the tomb where Lal Shahbqaz Qalandar is buried.
Shia believers mourn the death anniversary of Lal Shahbaz by chest-beating and self-flagellation in the vicinity of the shrine.
A dholi - drummer - at the shrine.
A replica of Imam Hussain's shrine presented during the Urs.
A Malang playing the horn.
A crippled person is seen making his way towards the shrine to pay respect to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
A devotee chants slogan during the Urs celebration inside Lal Shahbaz's shrine.
Devotees raise red flags in remembrance of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar while entering the shrine's premises.
A devotee chants slogan in celebration of Lal's Urs
PHOTOS BY FAWAD HASAN