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Only Sufi Shrine to Celebrate Holi, Revellers at Dewa Sharif Soak Themselves in Myriad Hues of Harmony

Located in Barabanki, about 25km from Lucknow, the shrine also known as the Dewa Sharif, is perhaps the only Sufi shrine in India where people irrespective of their caste and creed gather to play Holi.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18.com@qazifarazahmad

Updated:March 21, 2019, 11:12 PM IST
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Only Sufi Shrine to Celebrate Holi, Revellers at Dewa Sharif Soak Themselves in Myriad Hues of Harmony
The pristine shrine premises turn into a canvas of yellow, pink, green and many other bright hues as thousands gather the shrine.
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Lucknow: Soaked in myriad colours, from head to toe, Sardar Manjeet Singh has been visiting the Shrine of Sufi saint Haji Waris Ali Shah to celebrate Holi for the last 30 years along with his family as he believes the festivities here are unique and perhaps, the best example of brotherhood and harmony.

Located in Barabanki, about 25km from Lucknow, the shrine also known as the Dewa Sharif, is perhaps the only Sufi shrine in India where people irrespective of their caste and creed gather to play Holi.

“It’s been almost 30 years since I have been coming to Dewa Sharif to take part in the festival of colours. This place perfectly exemplifies brotherhood and love,” says Singh.

Amidst the chants of ‘Ya Waris’, everybody here drench themselves in gulaal (dry colours) and flower petals, a traditional practice.

The pristine shrine premises turn into a canvas of yellow, pink, green and many other bright hues as thousands gather here to carry forward the ritual started by Waris Ali Shah himself.

Speaking to News18, a disciple of the Sufi saint, Ghani Shah, who also lives on the shrine premises, said, “People used to come to ‘sarkar’ (Waris Ali Shah) with gulaal and flower petals and play Holi with him. Since then, the festival is celebrated here with much fervour.”

Waris Ali Shah, born in early 19th Century in Dewa in a family of Hussaini Syeds, was the founder of the Warsi order of Sufism.

He is said to have embraced hundreds of people belonging to all faith into his commune.

Thousands of Hindus, including sadhus and fakirs of different cults, held him in high regard. He never asked non-Muslims to give up their religion, but urged them to follow their faith with greater zeal and sincerity.

The Sufi saint visited Mecca for pilgrimage several times in his life.

His followers say he even met the sultan of Turkey and Bismarck of Germany during his travels across Europe. He even travelled to England and met Queen Victoria.

His father, Qurban Ali Shah, too was a Sufi saint.

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