Nomadic Muslim devotees throng a forest shrine in disputed Kashmir

BABA NAGRI, India (AP) — The highway to the Baba Nagri forest shrine in India-controlled Kashmir was a colourful spectacle. Tens of 1000’s of males in vibrant attires, henna-dyed beards and brilliant headgears thronged the Muslim shrine nestled on the base of a mountain to pay their obeisance final week.

Worshippers raised their fingers and cried their needs. Some additionally tied multicolored threads across the bushes on the shrine, which represented their prayers.

The shrine to Mian Nizamuddin Kiyanwi has its origins within the nineteenth century and offers free meals all yr to the devotees, most of them from Kashmir’s nomadic pastoral group. Devotees consider their needs are granted on the shrine.

Kiyanwi, initially from Kashmir, migrated to the Hazara area of modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan in the course of the late nineteenth century. There he was mentored by a Sufi saint and later returned to Kashmir to evangelise Islam. After he died, the shrine was constructed as a mark of respect in the direction of him — a manifestation of the area’s distinctive ties with Sufism.

Abdul Razaq, a devotee, mentioned that he has been visiting the shrine since he was 6 and feels blessed by paying obeisance there.

“I keep in mind as a child we needed to journey so much by foot, however issues have modified, and as we speak we are able to attain the shrine in a day,” he mentioned.

One other devotee, Mohammad Farooq, who’s blind, mentioned: “It could have been nice if I might see issues for myself, however I discover peace after I go to the shrine.”

Kashmir, divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by each in its entirety, is a Muslim-majority area.

Insurgent teams have been combating since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence, a aim supported by numerous Muslims within the disputed territory.

The area has remained embroiled in civil strife for many years and the shrine, together with tons of of others strewn round its panorama, has been and continues to be, way over a mere religious retreat for Muslims.

Many worshipers discover these shrines a uncommon area far faraway from unrelenting political tensions within the area.

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