Meghalaya: This 16th Century shrine in West Garo Hills unifies Indo-Bangla border

Shillong, May 16:Prayers holds no boundaries for devotees of the Urs or prayer fair which is held annually for centuries at a place which is hemmed along the Indian side of the Indo-Bangladesh border. Divided by geography but united in spirit, the Dargah (the tomb or shrine of a Muslim saint) of Peer Hazrat Shah Kamal Baba, popularly known as Pirsthan or Dargah has been flooded with devotees from both sides of the divide. Devotees are with the hope to seek blessings from the Peer Baba at his shrine. The site is considered auspicious as their prayers which are offered on the first and second Sunday every year in the month of May always have a favorable response.

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Source: leiden-islamblog.nl

The tomb is situated right along the Indo-Bangla broder, alongside the Dalu-Mahendraganj-Mankachar border road in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya. This annual prayer fair which is held at the Pristhan close to Mahendraganj in West Garo Hills and devotees from Bangladesh were allowed to visit the Dargah upto 2001. Due to a conflict between India and Bangladesh; security has been beefed up and no persons were allowed to ply across the border for the annual Urs ever since.

The Shrine was believed to have been built in the 16th century and also believed to have been constructed in a night’s time. Its  architecture is similar to that of the Moghul era.

What is significant about this particular prayer festival is that the people of the region are observing this age old ritual till today irrespective of the geographical rift. While Indian devotees can get a glimpse of the Shrine at Mahendraganj, the other devotees offer prayers and pay homage to the Saint on the other side offer of the fence.

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Historically, the Pristhan is proved to be the burial place of the last remains of Shah Kamal and his Garo wife According to local legend, Shah Kamal had driven away a demon which had been creating chaos and destruction to the village and during the rule of Raja Mahendra Narayan – the Zamindar of Karaibari and restored peace in the kingdom.

Shah Kamal was gifted 1280 bighas of land as a token of gratitude by the Raja. After the death of Shah Kamal and his wife, the burial place was constructed on a hillock overlooking Bangladesh.

The Shrine is revered not only by Muslims but by Hindus as well the local Garo, Hajong and Koch communities who respect the site for its age old history and tradition.

TNT NEWS

Featured Image Source: Meghalaya Tourism Facebook page

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