Amritsar, March 26 : Thousands of devotees converged here at the Bhoma town, 34 kilometers from Amritsar, to participate in the annual Urs ceremony of Muslim seer Baba Rode Shah at his Dargah (shrine).
Interestingly, the popular mode of offering respect at the shrine is alcohol. One can find several devotees carrying bottles and cans of spirited drinks as offering to seek blessings for their families.
The liquor is later distributed among all the devotees as Prasad (God's offering).
"For the past four years, I've been coming to this Dargah, all children are also blessed by the Baba's grace. We have Prasad in every form, not just alcohol especially for the female devotees and children. Anyone can come here and there is no discrimination. I'm overwhelmed with the kind of festive atmosphere here," said Gurvinder Singh, a Sikh devotee.
People from far-flung areas throng this place during this Urs.
"People have great faith in this Urs, as prayers offered by childless mothers to be blessed with children, people get employment, happiness and success in life," said Harbans Singh, a member of the Urs committee.
Most of the devotees are men, who arrive here irrespective of their caste or creed or religious identity. There is no discrimination among people to attend the celebration. Many women, though less in number, too come along with their children.
It is said that Rode Shah was a humble wise seer who undertook penance for a long period. He is said to have possessed mystical power while alive. For a major part of his life, he lived on the outskirts of Bhoma, then a village over a century ago, and cured many ailments as well as counselled those in distress.
It is said that in 1896 a devotee offered liquor to Baba as a gratitude for fulfilling his wish. Baba distributed the same liquor among his disciples and this became a tradition ever since. Though Baba remained a teetotaller all his life!