beats the drum for

Tomb of Shah Jamal

The tomb of Sufi Saint Baba Shah Jamal is located in Lahore, Pakistan. There is a musjid built around the tomb which incorparates a graveyard.

At the foot of the stairs leading up to the tomb, there is a majlis - which is like a regular urs, every Friday morning (from midnight onwards) - a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. Dhol is played with devotees (dervish or fakir) dancing in a trance also known as 'dhamaal'. The famous Pappu Sain is the central attraction performs on the dhol.

This performance, every Thursday night/ Friday morning, is attended by people from all walks of life - students, government officials, musicians both domestic and international, models, common folk - in short everyone. The environment is very friendly and safe. Women are always respected and I have yet to see any incidents. It is encouraged that people wear simple and plain clothes and come well covered in respect of the shrine.

Attendees usually smoke cigarettes or drink a special drink prepared from Hash, as the tradition has been. Not all attendees smoke hash and neither are they expected or asked to. However it is tolerated. Many a times Pappu Sain has stopped his performance angry at the fact that people have forgotten the reason for coming to the shrine and instead concentrating on indulging in hashish, etc.

The tomb is more than a simple shrine, providing shelter, food and solace from the vagaries of everyday life.

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