BAHAWALPUR-Cholistan is the land of peace as the local Muslims and Hindus have been living together for thousands of years. It is the land of great poet and Saint Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Fareed who always give the lesson of love.

As Cholistan had seen so many ups and down of various civilizations, there is a chain of Qilas and Darghas of saints in Cholistan. One of the oldest and famous shrines in Cholistan is known as Channan Peer shrine. It is situated 65km away from Bahawalpur and located in the centre of the Cholistan.

The authenticated history of Chanan Peer is not available in the books of history. However, it is said that in 7th century, the renowned Sufi saint Hazarat Jalaluddin Surkh Poosh Bukhari of Uch Shareef visited the state of Jasalmeer. In those days this area was governed by Raja Sadharan. Raja. He enjoyed every aspect of life but had no child.

Channan Peer Mela is celebrated in Cholistan Desert for seven consecutive Thursday. It starts from 11 Feb to 10 April of every year. Fifth Thursday is the most popular one Thursday. It attracts people from far and wide, just as they have done for hundreds of years. The people come from far off areas of Cholistan as well as Bahawalpur to participate in this mela. In the beginning the people would come from Cholistan and Bahawalpur district, now it has become very popular festival of the southern Punjab.

Hindus and Muslims equally participate in this event. District administration Bahawalpur announced local holiday on 5th Thursday of Channan Peer Mela each year.

Sadharan had a perfect life, with one problem: he had no children. His wife, Rani Nainoo, found out about Jalaludin's visit, tracked him down and asked him to pray for her to have a son. The Sufi did this and even foresaw that the son would be born a Muslim. A child was indeed born - and tumbled into this world reciting the kalima.

The Raja was a little peeved and gave the order to have his son killed. The boy's mother pleaded for the baby's life. Ultimately, the ruler agreed that Channan Peer would be left alone in the desert in a wooden cot. After a few days, Hindu pilgrims found the baby being fed by a mother deer. The Raja was informed - and again demanded the death of his son. The Rani then came to the desert and looked after him, until she was forced to abandon her child again. Eventually, Channan Peer went on to preach Islam throughout the desert, inspiring poets and converts and many others, before he eventually merged into the sand and was never seen again.

For hundreds of years, people have come from all corners of Cholistan and beyond to join in the festivities. It is now the most popular festival in southern Punjab, with Hindus and Muslims participating as one in the theatre performances, magic shows, dancing, rides, horse and camel shows, jewelry shopping, and, of course, feasting.

Most of those who come stay overnight and leave on Friday morning, after a magical night on the sand dunes under the wide open sky. The area is about 65km from Bahawalpur.

Channan Peer started the preaching of Islam from his early age and many Hindus become Muslim, this situation did not liked by Raja of Jaisalmeer State and he attacked on Chunan Peer and his companions. In this war Hazrat Channan Peer sacrifice his life in the name of Islam. Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid was very impressed with the preaching of Chanan Peer and he completed his Chilla at Dargah Channan Peer.

There is a big tree of "Jund" (Cholistani tree) which has its own importance. Cholistanis say that there is the grave of Chanan Peer's mother under the tree. They believe that if the piece of red cloth is tied with the branches of the tree, their desires will come true.

The tomb was constructed some years back without roof but now two years before roof on the tomb had been constructed by the Auqaf Department, Government of Punjab.

The devotees put their night stay on each Thursday on the sand dunes under an open sky. The last and the fifth Thursday night sees more crowds because most of the people also pray there and enjoy themselves with their cultural heritage.

Special bazaars are set up on the occasion while cultural musical show,theatres, jhoomar, circus, magic shows, and camel dances are other attractions for visitors.