Friday, March 30, 2012
Mela Charaghan: Urs of Madhu Lal Hussain begins at Baghbanpura
Lahore: The three-day 424th urs of Madhu Lal Hussain started here on Saturday as devotees from all over the province began pouring in to pay their respects to the Sufi poet.
The urs, also known as Mela Charaghan (Festival of Lights), started at 11am with chadar poshi, a ritual changing of the sheet covering the tomb.
The ritual was performed by Auqaf Minister Haji Ehsanuddin Qureshi, MNA Rohail Asghar Sheikh and MNA Pervez Malik, while MPA Chaudhry Shehbaz and MPA Waseem Qadir were also present at the occasion.
A number of food stalls were set up on GT Road and close to Madhu Lal Hussain’s shrine. Swings, a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, a swing boat ride and a trampoline were installed around the shrine for children.
Mela Charaghan got its name from the large fire, Alao, at the shrine where people throw candles, oils and mud lamps (charagh) after making wishes. The fire remains lit till the conclusion of the ceremony.
The urs continues around the clock, with women mostly there during the day and the men at night.
Auqaf Minister Qureshi, inaugurating the urs, said that the government was paying special attention to the protection and renovation of Sufi shrines.
He said that Mela Charaghan was a cherished folk tradition in Punjab, especially Lahore.
Sheikh Muhammad Younis, the manager of the shrine, told The Express Tribune that tight security had been arranged for the urs.
He said that men and women had separate entrances.
He said that the concluding prayer would be led by Ghulam Mustafa Rizwan.
He said that the Auqaf Department roughly broke even or made a small loss at the festival.
The department allocated Rs345,000 for the urs this year, while last year Rs300,000 was collected from charity during the urs.
A side of the shrine was occupied by malangs wearing traditional black dhotis and anklets and dancing the dhamal to drum beats. People gathered in groups to discuss the contribution of the Sufis in spreading Islam and for naat khawani. The Auqaf Department distributed a langar (free food) to the devotees.
People travelled great distances to get to the festival, some waving red flags bearing Quranic verses.
Saleem Baba, a malang from Sialkot, said that he came to the urs every year. “We get blessings from the saint and then distribute them amongst the people in our areas,” he said. “We try to bring people enlightenment, so they can understand the vital contribution made by malangs.”
Pictures: Devotees arrive from far and wide for three-day urs. Photo: Ijaz Mahmood and Waseem Niaz / Express.