LAHORE - The three-day celebrations of Ali Hajveri's 972nd Urs concluded with special prayers for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan here on Thursday.
Devotees actively participated in the final day's activities, during which people from various parts of the city as well as the country brought chaddar (shawls) in form of groups while dancing to drum beats. Other activities included Mahfil-e-Sama and a day-long literary gathering.
The Urs of Data Ganj Bakhsh attracted thousands of people from around the country, who participated with religious fervour. Strict security measures were in place during each day of the Urs. Hundreds of people enjoyed the Mehfil-e-Samma on Thursday night, which was divided in two different sessions in the grand hall of Data Darbar.
On the third day, groups from around the province arrived traditionally dancing to drum beats, holding Chaddars and collecting money on their way to Data Darbar. The money was later deposited to Data Darbar Fund.
One of the special features on the concluding day was a grand chaddar (shawl) brought by devotees. A group arrived with a 6-metre long and 3 metre wide Chaddar, which they had specially prepared for the Urs.
However, langar (meals) distribution got messy, as people thronged to get the food. At around 3pm. devotees came close to breaking a grill door at one of the four entrances to Data Darbar, after scuffle started amongst the people for food.
Similarly, long queues were formed outside the shrine to get milk from the wooden huts prepared for the occasion.
Traders and merchants from all over the province had set up bazaars around the Darbar, where handicrafts and products of various regions were put up for sale. Meanwhile, the provincial Auqaf Department imposed restrictions on illegal and un-Islamic activities during the urs.
The police department made foolproof security arrangements to ensure the safety of the devotees coming from across the country. Data Darbar was struck by a bomb blast in 2010. To prevent a repeat of such an incident, CCTV cameras were installed in and around the shrine to monitor the event.
A good number of policemen, nine walk-through gates and metal detectors were provided to the security staff for this purpose. In addition to this, security guards from the Auqaf Department and from private security agencies were also been deputed at the venue.