Pir Mangho Urs

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Manghopir is located in Karachi
Manghopir
Manghopir
Location of Manghopir Lake in Karachi

Pir Mangho Urs (Urdu: عرس پیر منگھو‎) is an annual festival (urs) at the shrine of Sufi Pir Mangho at Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The urs marks the death anniversary of Pir Mangho and is held annually in the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. The Urs entirely separate from the more widely known Sheedi Mela that is also held at the Manghopir shrine.

Manghopir[edit]

Manghopir has some of the oldest Sufi shrines in Karachi where hot sulphur springs are believed to have curative powers and many crocodiles - believed locally to be the sacred disciples of Pir Mangho, roam freely. Balochs often call this place as 'Mangi' or Garm-aap / Sard-aap (due to the presence of the hot & cold springs).

Sheedis and festivals[edit]

Manghopir is mostly inhabited by one of Pakistan's smallest ethnic communities, Makrani or Sheedi. Sheedi are said to be the descendants of Afro-Arabs from Zanzibar and maintain their distinct Afro-Arab and Omani identity in the midst of the dominating South Asian cultures.

Presently, these African-Pakistanis live in various parts of Karachi. Most are found in Lyari, but they are also found in Malir, Moaach Goth, Manghopir, and further interior at Sindh and Balochistan. Due to Lyari's dominant Sheedi people population, it is often called 'Little Africa'. Some Afro-Arab style festivals and dances like Gowaati, Lewa, Dhamaal, beating Omani style shindo, jabwah, and jasser drums are still popular in Manghopirs Lyari locale. Many forms of folk beliefs and medicines are also still practiced. A prominent Urdu poet and Lyari citizen, Noon Meem Danish, proudly claims to be the great-great-grandchild of an African from Zanzibar. "Now after centuries of cultural amalgamation, Sheedis proudly call themselves Baloch or Makrani."

Crocodiles[edit]

The crocodiles are an integral part of the shrine and are so tightly interwoven with the story of the saint that it is almost impossible to judge between fact & fiction. There are many traditions about myth of crocodiles, as if it is believed that Baba Farid gave the reptiles to Manghopir. According to scientific explanations, these crocodiles were carried through some heavy floods, during ancient times and later gathered or collected at this pond. Archaeological investigations have also suggested the existence of a Bronze Age settlement (2500-1700 BC) near Manghopir, who worshipped crocodiles and before the advent of Islam crocodiles were also thought sacred for Hindus.

Hot springs and healing resort[edit]

There are hot and cold springs about a kilometer from the shrine. Warm water passing through the sulphur rocks is said to have some medicinal qualities. Many people with skin diseases regularly come from long distances to have a bath to cure them. There are separate swimming pools and shower rooms for men and women. Scientific analysis has shown that this warm water is naturally saturated with carbon dioxide, besides containing some sulphur & other skin friendly nourishments, which are no doubt suitable for many skin-diseased patients.

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