Pilgrimage to the Sufi Shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in Pakistan.

The Shrine for Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai a noted Sindhi shrine of a Sufi scholar, mystic, saint, and poet who is widely considered to be the greatest Muslim poet of the Sindhi Language, is an 18th-century Sufi Shrine located in the town of  Bhit Shah in the Pakistani province of Sindh about 45 minutes drive from Hyderabad. The shrine is considered to be one of the most important in Sindh, and its annual urs festival attracts up to 500,000 visitors over the course of three days, beginning on the 13th day of the Islamic month of Safar. The festival commemorates Shah Abdul Latif’s death by means of celebration, as his death is regarded to be a union with God.

 

The Columban Sisters in Pakistan invited their Congregational Leader, Sr. Susanna Choi and Councellor, Sr. Angela Yoon to join them on a pilgrimage to this famous shrine and to imbibe the true Sufi spirit that is rooted and prevails throughout Sindh Province.

Bhit or Bhit Shah is a small town located in Matiari District, Sindh, Pakistan. Passing along the road that leaves Haala for Hyderabad, beyond the shrubs there are a solitary group of large white mounds, which form hills known as Bhit in Sindhi.

Among these sandy mounds the great poet of Sindh made a small cave, where he pondered deep into himself to seek inside of his soul. Even when he was a boy, he would turn away from the haunts of men and disappear into a thick group of shrubs, surrounding these sand-hills.

The shrine complex was built in 1772 by Mian Gulam Shah Kalhoro to house the tomb of the Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.  The shrine complex includes a mosque and a mausoleum that open onto a large courtyard encircled by domed arcades by means of a large gateway. The complex is notable for being elaborately decorated with Sindhi tile work featuring blue and white floral themes. It is a structure covered with traditional Iranian qashani  tiles, glazed in the colours such as blue and turquoise.

       

The final resting place of Shah Latif is under the main-dome of the building. His grave is enclosed by a carved wooden screen and lies under a beautifully painted fresco. Musicians are often seen serenading the constant trickle of devotees who visit the saint.

              Columban Sisters huddled under the tree where Shah Latif meditated and received enlightenment.

 Qawwali is performed nightly at the shrine after evening prayers.

Shah Latif composed his poetry in language of common people. He was also a great musician. He simplified the music of his time. He invented simple musical instrument “Tambooro” which is even now popular all over Sindh.

Shah’s message is the message of love and brotherhood. He believed in equality of all people and pleasing God by good deeds. According to him it was goal of life.

Women serve as caretakers of tombs within the shrine complex.

Male singers at the shrine mimic female voices by singing to mimic heroines in Shah Abdul Latif’s poetry.

Srs. Susanna and Angels in the shrine’s inner sanctum, the site of the saint’s tomb.

Beloved’s separation kills me friends,
At His door, many like me, their knees bend.
From far and near is heard His beauty’s praise,
My Beloved’s beauty is perfection itself.