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In Pictures: Devotees flock to Sehwan Sharif for Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s 767th urs

The three-day urs will see millions of devotees from all faiths gather to pay their respects to the venerated saint.
Updated Apr 25, 2019 12:11pm

Hundreds of thousands of devotees from all around the country have gathered today to attend the three-day urs celebrations of venerated Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, at his shrine in Sehwan Sharif.

The visitors have come prepared to stay in the city throughout the urs, with a few staying in houses rented from locals while others carry tents with them for their sojourn.

Walkthrough gates and CCTV cameras have been installed for the safety of the devotees. At least 5,000 police personnel and 1,000 Rangers officials have also been deployed to maintain law and order.

Langar (food) and sabeel (sweet drinks) are easily accessible all around the shrine.

Qalandar was a poet and one of the most renowned Sufi saints in the subcontinent's history. The loving music and poetry of the Sufis propelled Islam throughout South Asia hundreds of years ago, and Lal Shahbaz is one of the most venerated of them all.

He welcomed those from all religions, castes, and creeds, and his tradition continues. Muslims are not the only ones coming to see Lal Shahbaz's tomb; Hindus also embark on this Sufi yatra, and the shrine is open to anyone of any faith.

An elderly devotee prays inside the shrine.
An elderly devotee prays inside the shrine.

A devotee clad in a red-coloured dress blows on a seashell horn as a mark of his respect for Qalandar.
A devotee clad in a red-coloured dress blows on a seashell horn as a mark of his respect for Qalandar.

An inside view of Qalandar's shrine. Visitors have filled the space completely.
An inside view of Qalandar's shrine. Visitors have filled the space completely.

A night view of the dome of Qalandar's shrine from the golden gate side.
A night view of the dome of Qalandar's shrine from the golden gate side.

Various earthen lamps are lit up and placed in the courtyard of the shrine.
Various earthen lamps are lit up and placed in the courtyard of the shrine.

Women light earthen lamps for the prayers they are seeking from God. It is known as *mannat* in the spiritual order and only those can touch the lamps who have some desire or prayer to be fulfilled.
Women light earthen lamps for the prayers they are seeking from God. It is known as mannat in the spiritual order and only those can touch the lamps who have some desire or prayer to be fulfilled.

An elderly devotee sits in the shrine's courtyard to bang on a gong as a signal.
An elderly devotee sits in the shrine's courtyard to bang on a gong as a signal.

Devotees struggle to touch the brown wooden frame built around the grave of Qalandar and called *zari* in the spiritual order.
Devotees struggle to touch the brown wooden frame built around the grave of Qalandar and called zari in the spiritual order.

An elderly devotee with a pair of anklets fitted with bells performs a Sufi dance at the main entrance of the shrine.
An elderly devotee with a pair of anklets fitted with bells performs a Sufi dance at the main entrance of the shrine.

Devotees throng the inner sanctum of Qalandar's shrine at midnight between April 23 and 24.
Devotees throng the inner sanctum of Qalandar's shrine at midnight between April 23 and 24.

A man produces a sound from a horn as a means of alerting people. Devotees — seen queued in the background — were subjected to body searches.
A man produces a sound from a horn as a means of alerting people. Devotees — seen queued in the background — were subjected to body searches.

Resplendent in a green frock, a devotee performs a Sufi dance in the shrine's courtyard.
Resplendent in a green frock, a devotee performs a Sufi dance in the shrine's courtyard.


All photos by Umair Ali, captions by Mohammad Hussain Khan.

Header photo: An outside view of the shrine decked in colourful lights to observe Shahbaz Qalandar's 767th death anniversary.