THIS white-marbled sanctum is a paradigm of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb in Lucknow!
Situated around 40 km from Lucknow, on Dewa Road, is a pilgrim town that is the birthplace of Haji Waris Ali Shah, a renowned Sufi saint of the 19th century. He influenced the lives of many people for generations, with his messages of universal love for humanity and was regarded as a follower of Vedanta.
After leaving for his heavenly abode in 1905, he was buried at the same spot where he drew his last breath along with his father, Syed Qurban Ali Shah. This place was marked by a splendid monument erected in his memory, by his followers of all religions and is called the Dewa Sharif Dargah. Read on to know more about this pavam place, which draws in flocks of visitors every year, from all corners of the city and the state, at large!
The Hindu-Iranian styles of architecture!
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The mausoleum commemorates the brotherhood among people of all castes and religions and hence is made of Hindu-Iranian styles of architecture. Being a symbol of purity and peace for many, the Dewa Sharif Dargah is designed to be an enormous white mausoleum with a green dome and houses two intricately decorated shrines. Just like most pilgrimage spots, there are many shops here, that sell embroidered sheets, souvenirs, snacks and much more, on the passage towards the dargah.
Pilgrims from all parts of the country visit the mausoleum of Haji Waris Ali and out of the lot, many present embroidered Varanasi silk chadars to the tombs of the saint and his father, which are later carried in silver plates during processions. Qawwali's and devotional songs are also sung by professional artists, whenever such a procession saunters towards the dargah.
An enormous cattle market at the 'Dewa Mela'!
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Although Dewa Sharif is a popular tourist destination and is thronged by visitors throughout the year, followers at the dargah flare up during the time of Urus (death anniversary of the Sufi saint), which is marked by a celebration of 10 days. The devotees of Haji Waris Ali Shah, both Hindus and Muslims, organise a big fair called 'Dewa Mela' every year in the month of October-November to commemorate the saint and his teachings of love and brotherhood.
Even though an enormous cattle market marks the highlight of this fair, you must visit the immeasurable shops of handicrafts, household utility items, toys and sweets, among others, to savour the city's local taste. Various cultural programmes are also organized during the fest, such as an All-India Mushaira Sammelan, Kavi Sammelan, Manas Sammelan, music conferences and much more, to keep the celebrations spirited.
Not just for cultural buffs, this fair is a feast for sports lovers as well because games like football, hockey and badminton, are organised during this mela. A brilliant display of fireworks marks the conclusion of the 10-day affair, which is appreciated by children as well as adults for its glorified beauty.
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb at play
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Another interesting fact about the dargah is that every year, all followers from different religious backgrounds come together at the mausoleum and celebrate Holi together, colouring the white walls with different shades of love and friendship. In a world full of communalism and religious differences, the people of Lucknow have found their harmony through the sanctity of the Dewa Sharif Dargah.