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