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In pictures: Hopes and prayers as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine welcomes visitors after five months

A spellbinding aura of mysticism could be felt as the faithful entered the shrine on a hot Monday.
Updated 17 Aug, 2020 11:04pm

Scores of devotees flocked to the shrine of venerated Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan despite the mercury sizzling at 46 degrees Celsius on Monday after it was reopened for visitors after a closure of five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The shrine opened at 4:30am after the usual ‘khidmat’ of the gravesite, said an Auqaf employee present outside the brown-coloured woden kathera that houses the saint's grave.

A spellbinding aura of mysticism could be felt as the faithful entered the shrine's premises chanting "Bolo bolo Lal Qalandar mast". As usual, beautiful white pigeons fluttered around the dome – dotted with meticulously engraved names of Allah – and proceeded to perch in a corner while continuing their rhythmic cooing.

Compliance of Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOPs) was observed to some extent, while police and Auqat officials reminded visitors to put on masks and avoid forming crowds. Under the SOPs, a public dhamal is not yet allowed as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus.

— All photos by Umair Ali

A view of the inner sanctum of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine after it was reopened on Aug 17.
A view of the inner sanctum of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine after it was reopened on Aug 17.

A man uses a temperature gun to check the temperature of visitors at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
A man uses a temperature gun to check the temperature of visitors at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

A woman comes out from Qadeemi Alam Pak's side entrance after paying her respects to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
A woman comes out from Qadeemi Alam Pak's side entrance after paying her respects to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

An inside view of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine after it opened to visitors on Aug 17
An inside view of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine after it opened to visitors on Aug 17

An inside view of the dome at the shrine in Sehwan.
An inside view of the dome at the shrine in Sehwan.

A faithful tries to touch *kathera* (wooden frame around Qalandar's grave) after the shrine was reopened on Monday.
A faithful tries to touch kathera (wooden frame around Qalandar's grave) after the shrine was reopened on Monday.

Businesses around Qalandar's shrine reopened after the lockdown was eased on August 10.
Businesses around Qalandar's shrine reopened after the lockdown was eased on August 10.

A town committee worker sanitises the inner sanctum of the shrine on Monday after it was reopened for visitors.
A town committee worker sanitises the inner sanctum of the shrine on Monday after it was reopened for visitors.


Header image: Visitors pictured inside the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar after it was reopened on Aug 17