DERA GHAZI KHAN, March 16: The shrine of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar, maintaining its peculiarity of being the most frequently visited place in the district since the ancient times, is situated in the foothills of the Suleman range.

The urs of the saint commences in the month of March and lasts till mid April.

The town was renamed after its saint while previously it was known as Nigaha or Moqam, a sacred place for Hindus. According to the Hindu mythology, god Shiva was born in Moqam and spent his childhood here.

Islam started spreading in the area after the arrival of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar Syed Ahmed in the thirteenth century. Now the Hindus, the Muslims and the Sikhs have great respect and reverence for the saint’s shrine and the town.

According to the gazetteer of Dera Ghazi Khan district (1893-97), Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar was born to Hazrat Zainulabdeen in 1220 AD, who had come from Baghdad.

Devotees mainly from Punjab and Sindh come here in large numbers to take part in urs which continues almost for two months.

Before partition, devotees from Jullundar, Hoshiyarpur, Gurdaspur districts and even from Mithra would come here to seek blessings.

The urs-cum-seasonal festival is celebrated at the shrine on every Thursday of March. Do Aba, Chanaw and Weesakhi are the three major events of the urs. Weesakhi festival relates to local farmers while rest of the two events are specific for devotees from the upper and central Punjab.

With the steady rhythmic beating of the drums, most of the male and female devotees dance at the shrine. A majority of women visiting the shrine wish to get sons with the blessings of the saint.

Later, devotees march through the bed of Kaki hill stream where they take a bath in temporary wells dug up by locals.

Devotees, including women and children, cross a narrow mountain path called pul sarat to “secure paradise” for themselves.

Mujawars (custodian) of the shrine belong to three clans — Kaheen, Sheikh and Khalung, descendants of three disciples — Jurat Langah, Ahmed Afghan and Gohra, respectively. Every mujawar family has its own devotees who stay at their houses during the urs.

Meanwhile, the shrine and its establishment, now under the Auqaf department, are not properly being looked after.

An ancient rest house-cum-shrine of Dhoda Rana (claimed to be brothers of the saint) in Wadoor village is situated between DG Khan and Sakhi Sarwar Sharif. Every devotee has to spend a night in Dhoda Rana shrine before proceeding to the main shrine. The local people have however demolished the Dhoda Rana shrine while the Auqaf department could not save the historical building despite getting huge monetary offerings from the shrine.

Despite having a water supply system, visitors face a constant problem of drinking water while medical facilities at the Civil Hospital are quite insufficient.

Opinion

Casualties of war
17 Sep 2021

Casualties of war

As we ruminate over the consequences of America making a mockery of international law, it is equally important to take an inward
Love of wealth
17 Sep 2021

Love of wealth

Those obsessed with wealth are likely to be involved in corrupt practices.
Pro-rich growth
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pro-rich growth

An intellectually honest prognosis of our political economy for the working class makes for grim reading.

Editorial

TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...
Aid for Afghans
16 Sep 2021

Aid for Afghans

Humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.
16 Sep 2021

Wheat price

THE government’s decision to raise the wheat release price, or the rate at which provinces issue their grain ...
16 Sep 2021

Keeping the press out

ON Monday, the government yet again displayed its rising contempt for the freedom of press — this time in...