Sacred Crocodiles


The sacred crocodiles are a different breed. They are friendly and docile. Children can swim in their ponds and people can have a bath oblivious of the larking animals around. There is a mutual respect for one another. These crocs have their names and can be called forth from the pond to greet the visitors. They allow the visitors to pat them. Some are strong enough to give a ride to the visitors. Pulling their tails is normal and brings excitement, laughter and giggles. Some even move out of the water and walk around.
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MANGHOO PIR CROX: THEY ARE DIFFERENT

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by Hafeez RM

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A look on any crocodile is frightening with its long narrow jaws, protruding teeth, thick skin and a powerful tail. They are found in fresh and salt waters, wetlands and canals. Saltwater crocodile are the largest, as long as 7 meters or more. This is followed by Nile crocodile with 6 meters and American Crocodile 4.6 meters. In all, 23 species of crocodile have been identified the world over.

Being fierce hunters, they attack their prey with lightening speed. They kill animal as heavy as they are and swallow their catch lock, stock and barrel. (more…)

The tomb of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi


The main entrance to the tomb. Inside there are separate sitting arrangements for men and women, where all mumble their secret wishes to the saint.
Desperate women, under threat of divorce, pray for a son. Some are seeking good fortune, some pleading for the health of their loved-ones. Drug addicts ask for forgiveness and an opportunity to live a normal life.
This is an unusual crowd. Parents have their children with them and persuading them to ask the saint for high marks in the next examination. The young ones raise their tiny hands for blessing of the Sufi Saint.

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A HIDEAWAY, SOME SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE & THE SUFI SPIRIT

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by Hafeez R.M.

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Every day, near about sunset, a steady stream of devotees crawls towards a green dome. Their destination is a grave draped in flowers. All wish to touch it but the marble railing comes their way. Not to feel belittled, they step back; sit cross-legged with head down and recite verses from Holy Qur’an. Soon the place would become congested and the khadims would persuade some in deep slumber to move out to make way for others.

A man reading Muslims’ holy book [the Quran] at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, whom many consider the patron saint of Karachi. Each December, Muslims from all walks of life converge here to attend the three-day Urs celebrations of the great saint.

There are separate sitting arrangements for men and women but all mumble their secret wishes to the saint. Desperate women, under threat of divorce, pray for a son. Some are seeking good fortune, some pleading for the health of their loved-ones. Drug addicts ask for forgiveness and an opportunity to live a normal life. This is an unusual crowd. Parents have their children with them and persuading them to ask the saint for high marks in the next examination. The young ones raise their tiny hands for blessing of the Sufi Saint.

(more…)

Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan


Mata Hinglaj Reception: This is what greets one upon arriving at Mata Hinglaj. The main temples are from 15 minutes to 45 minutes walk from here..

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Hinglaj Mata Temple, હિંગલાજ માતા મંદીર, हिंगलाज माता मंदीर –  in Balochistan, Pakistan

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by Gopinath Kumar

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 The temple of the goddess [Hinglaj] is a Hindu shrine located within the huge Hingol National Park of Balochistan which lies along the Makran coast in the Lyari district of Balochistan province. Legend has it that when goddess Sati, the consort of god Shiva burnt herself in response to her father’s anger at her for not inviting Shiva to a ceremony, Shiva became furious and started to create disasters, problems, violence, and sufferings in the world. In order to calm his anger, god Vishnu took the body of Sati and began to cut it into 51 pieces where they all fell at different parts of the earth. Hindus believe that the head of Sati fell in the area of Hinglaj Mata in Balochistan, Pakistan. (more…)

Thousands throng Mela Chiraghan in city


Mela Chiraghan or Festival of Lights is a three day annual festival to mark the urs (death anniversary) of the Punjabi Sufi poet and saint Shah Hussain. It takes place at the shrine of Shah Hussain in Baghbanpura, on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan, adjacent to the Shalimar Gardens. The festival used to take place in the Shalimar Gardens also, until President Ayub Khan ordered a ban in 1958 on holding the mela in the historical Shalimar Bagh of Lahore.
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THOUSANDS THRONG MELA CHIRAGHAN IN LAHORE

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by Shahnawaz Khan

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Mela Chiraghan, the festival of lights that marks the birth of Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Hussain, began on Friday night. Nearly half a million people from around the country are expected to attend the three-day event.

Syed Saeedul Hassan Shah, the Punjab minister for religious affairs, inaugurated the three-day urs by laying a floral wreath at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Hussain (also known as Madhu Lal Hussain). The Punjab Auqaf Department organised a Mehfil-e-Samaa to discuss the legacy of the saint.

The roads approaching the tomb are dotted with stalls, some which have set up television sets showing dances performed at stage shows to entertain pilgrims. All sort of food items are on sale: gol gappas, fruit chaats, qatlamas, sweetmeats and even bhang-laced papparhs.

During the festival, devotees light thousands of earthen lamps to honour the saint at his shrine, which is situated near the Shalimar Gardens. Each year, the saint’s followers, especially transvestites and eunuchs, spurred on by hashish and qawwalis, dance the night away.

A large segment of the festival crowd comprises young people. Most of them seem to be smoking hash-laced cigarettes. Pilgrims toss candles into a large bonfire (mach) as legend has it that anyone doing this would be granted their wish by God. Some believe that their prayers would be granted if they sit close to the fire.

Shah Hussain (1538-1599) lived during the era of Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir. It is said he adopted the name of his Hindu disciple Madhu Lal to immortalise their friendship

Traditionally, Shah Hussain’s urs was held in Shalimar Bagh and marked the start of a four-day festival. On the second day, Baisakhi was held to celebrate the start of wheat crop harvest. The third and final day was reserved for women. Horse raisers used to bring their horses for sale to the festival.

During the British rule, the Raj turned the selling of horses into a separate event that became the Horse and Cattle Show.

In 1958, President Ayub Khan banned the celebration of the mela in Shalimar Bagh. Over time, the festival shortened to three-days and began to comprise only the urs.

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Published in: on 29/03/2011 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

ETPB making preparations for Baisakhi Festival


* Chairman says 4,000 pilgrims had visited Pakistan last year

* Visitors play role of goodwill ambassadors for Pakistan

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HERE COMES THE SPRING, HARVEST AND THE CELEBRATIONS!

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by Afnan Khan

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The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and all the concerned authorities are set to host the Baisakhi festival with around 8,000 foreign guests, mostly Sikh pilgrims from all over the world. The celebrations will start from first week of April.

The number of foreign guests, mostly from India, will be double this year on orders of board Chairman, Mr. Asif Hashmi, who recently chaired a meeting of high-ups of police and other departments to supervise the preparations for the event.

Hashmi said that such events were essential to promote a soft image of the country across the globe. ETPB has increased the number of pilgrims due to requests by members of the Sikh community.

He further said that the visitors not only appreciated the efforts of Pakistan government for facilitating such a huge event but also played the role of goodwill ambassadors of Pakistan in different parts of the world.

The ETBP chairman informed that around 4,000 pilgrims had visited Pakistan during the last Baisakhi and visitors, mostly from India, US, Canada and Europe, were very happy with the decision of the board. Strict security measures had been taken to ensure foolproof security for the foreign guests, said Hashmi.

He added that the board would provide visitors with the facilities of boarding and lodging along with security and medical treatment in case any of them falls sick during the days-long celebrations.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims visit Pakistan every year on different events, including Baisakhi, Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary and religious rituals associated with other Sikh gurus and personalities. Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, a number of temples in Nankana Sahib and Hassan Abdal are primary sites of visit for the Sikh pilgrims from all around the world.

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Published in: on 29/03/2011 at 1:55 pm  Comments (2)  
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