Thursday, March 8, 2007
LAHORE: The 963rd urs celebrations of Syed Ali Abul Hasan Hajveri (Hazrat Data Gunj Buksh) starts in the city today (Thursday). The Data Darbar administrator, Mirza Nadeem-ul-Hassan, said that the 963rd Urs celebrations would continue till midnight on March 10.
Governor Khalid Maqbool will inaugurate the event by laying a chaddar at the shrine after the Isha prayers. Devotees from various parts of the country have started arriving in the city to pay tributes to the 10th century Sufi.
The first day of the urs is expected to attract 300,000 visitors. Approximately a million devotees are expected to attend the last day of the event.
The shrine and its surrounding area have been decorated with lights. Devotees wearing anklets can be seen performing the traditional dahamal to the beat of drums. The devotees offer chaddars and flower bouquets at the shrine. Many have walked hundreds of miles to pay tribute to the saint.
The tribute includes recitations of the Holy Quran, qawalis, and recitation of naats and poetry by Sufi saints. Many shops in the area sell flowers, rosaries and velvet and silk sheets.
Hotels located near the shrine have no vacancies. The bazaars are packed with visitors distributing niaz or langar (free food) among the poor and the devotees of the saint. The Auqaf department has arranged several programmes on the occasion, including Qaumi Mehfil-e-Naat, recitation of the Holy Quran, Husn-e-Qirat competition, seminars on sufism, speeches and a special dua at the end of the celebrations.
Hazrat Data Gunj Buksh’s was born in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal (373 AH) in Hujwair (Afghanistan). He was a scholar and wrote several books on sufism including Kashf-ul-Mahjub.
He was a disciple of Mohammad bin Al-Hassan Al-Khuttali and followed the tradition of Junayd in sufism. He eventually came to Lahore where he died in 1063 or 1071 AD.
Several later Sufis have stayed at the shrine for 40 days to obtain spiritual benefits. The Ghaznavi king, Sultan Zakiruddin Ibrahim, built his mausoleum. The tomb has been renovated and expanded several times. It has been an object of veneration and a place of pilgrimage for over 900 years.