Uch Sharif: where the shrine culture began

Published June 27, 2011
A man frequenting the shrine sits in front of the entrance leading to the darbar of Jalaluddin Bukhari.
A man frequenting the shrine sits in front of the entrance leading to the darbar of Jalaluddin Bukhari.
Caretakers of the shrine sit at the door of the darbar of Jalaluddin Bhukhari.
Caretakers of the shrine sit at the door of the darbar of Jalaluddin Bhukhari.
The entrance of the darbar of Jalaludin Bukhari as seen from the inside. Intricate wood work and pillars constitute the shrine's architecture.
The entrance of the darbar of Jalaludin Bukhari as seen from the inside. Intricate wood work and pillars constitute the shrine's architecture.
The grave of Jalaluddin Bukhari rests at the extreme back while those of his extended family dot the darbar.
The grave of Jalaluddin Bukhari rests at the extreme back while those of his extended family dot the darbar.
Famous saints and mystics have used these small compartments for prayer and meditation. The room on the extreme lower right was reportedly Baba Bulleh Shah's room.
Famous saints and mystics have used these small compartments for prayer and meditation. The room on the extreme lower right was reportedly Baba Bulleh Shah's room.
There is a lot of restoration work taking place at the shrines in Uch Sharif.
There is a lot of restoration work taking place at the shrines in Uch Sharif.
A bricklayer works on constructing a new wall around the main Uch Sharif enclosure.
A bricklayer works on constructing a new wall around the main Uch Sharif enclosure.
There are little prayers tied up in those threads.
There are little prayers tied up in those threads.
Two of the three interconnected tombs of Bibi Jiwandi.
Two of the three interconnected tombs of Bibi Jiwandi.
The tomb of Bibi Jiwandi set against a mass of small, cemented graves. The area in itself is the patch of desert preserved in the area and is surrounded by lush green vegetation.
The tomb of Bibi Jiwandi set against a mass of small, cemented graves. The area in itself is the patch of desert preserved in the area and is surrounded by lush green vegetation.
A man walks towards the tomb of Bibi Jiwandi.
A man walks towards the tomb of Bibi Jiwandi.
The other side of Bibi Jiwandi's tomb. Only half of the original tomb stands today.
The other side of Bibi Jiwandi's tomb. Only half of the original tomb stands today.

They say this is where the culture of shrine worship took root. Approximately 75km from the city of Bahawalpur, Uch was founded by Alexander the Great and later came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate. Built near a place called Panjnad – where all of the Indus rivers meet – Uch used to be a centre of political and cultural activities and is home to myriad of mosques and shrines.

Some of the most popular shrines in Uch are those of Bibi Jawindi, Baha’al-Halim and Jalaluddin Bukhari – all of which are concentrated in a compound known as Uch Sharif and are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The compound itself is largely covered with cemented graves and has been preserved as it was in the desert it was once a part of. As a result of some massive a network – artificial canals and man-made tributaries of rivers – the surrounded area is green with cultivation making visiting the shrines an almost surreal experience.

Most of the old shrines in Uch Sharif are in massive need of restoration and that work is currently being carried out there. One advise when visiting Uch Sharif is to remember to wear socks – you will be asked to take off your sandals once inside the compound and the floor is scorching hot. Text and photos by Madeeha Syed

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

BEING stranded on foreign shores is hardly an agreeable experience. And if the environment is hostile — as it...
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...