PAKPATTAN: Pakpattan City holds key importance due to the presence of the shrine of famous Sufi Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shakar, popularly known as Baba Farid.
He was one of the most well-known personalities of the Chishti Order during the 12th century. After years of travelling, he returned to Pakpattan, where historians say that he converted the entire Sial Tribe to Islam. It also became his final resting place.
This year the 775th Urs of Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shakar was held with traditional zeal and fervour with thousands of devotees thronging the shrine of the 11th century saint. The annual event began on Zilhaj 25 and ended on Muharram 10.
At the Shrine of Baba Fareed, one can find two doors. One is the door known as the ‘Nuri Darwaza’ or the ‘Gate of light’ that faces the east and is open all the year round. The other door that faces the north is called the ‘Bahishti Darwaza’ or ‘Gate of Paradise’.
The Bahishti Darwaza is only opened during the Urs or death anniversary of Baba Farid. It is opened for five days during the Urs celebrations beginning on Muharram 5. More than two million devotees participated in the annual Urs celebrations, while approximately 0.8 million people passed through Bahishti Darwaza during the five days.
The door of Bahishti Darwaza is made up of silver with floral designs inlaid in gold leaf. The door will remain locked and barred to the public for another year as the Urs ended on October 1.
Apart from common people, politicians and bureaucrats also visit the shrine every year to pass through Bahishti Darwaza. Shrine administration told The Express Tribune that this year around 10 politicians and over 500 bureaucrats visited the shrine.
Ali Hamza, a devotee who came from Hyderabad, Sindh said, “I come every year to cross Bahishti Darwaza. It is our firm belief that crossing this door of heaven brings good omen, luck and wealth throughout the year.” He added, “Moreover, all the sins, greater or smaller, committed by believers are washed away when one passes through this door.”
Shahab, a resident of Larkana, said that the presence of thousands of devotees at the shrine is a proof of importance of Bahishti Darwaza. He maintained, “Let alone common people, politicians and bureaucrats also visit the shrine to wash their sins.”
Tauqeer Wattoo, a bureaucrat, who visited the shrine to cross Bahishti Darwaza said, “There are rumors that people pass through this gate to wash away their sins. I come here every year for the love and respect of greatest Sufi saint Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar.”
“Many of my other colleagues also come to pay homage to the greatest Sufi saint of the subcontinent,” he said. Wattoo elaborated, “Bahishti Darwaza is a door where people come for peace, solace and divine love.” He said that Sufi saints are a source of getting closer to Almighty Allah.
Another devotee Faheem, hailing from Multan said, “I have tied threads to get my wishes fulfilled. People tie threads of various colors, including green, blue, red and orange with the wishes in their mind. When their wishes are fulfilled they come and untie that string.”
Every year strict security arrangements are made to deal with any untoward situation during the annual urs of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj Bakhsh. District Police Officer Ismaeel Kharak told The Express Tribune that strict security plan was implemented for the Urs of Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar.
He said that close circuit cameras were installed from Nagina Chowk to General Bus Stand on all the important routes towards the shrine. “A control room was also set up in the shrine to monitor the security situation, while temporary barricades and walls were built on the entrance and exit routes of the shrine,” he added.
The DPO maintained that more than 2,500 policemen were deployed for security of the devotees.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2017.