602nd Urs celebration of Sufi saint Hazrath Khwaja Banda Nawaz begins
GULBARGA: The 602nd Urs celebrations of the 14 th-century Sufi saint Hazrath Khwaja Banda Nawaz got off to a good start with thousands of devout Muslims and Hindus participating in the traditional `sandal procession' from the Mehboob Gulshan Public Garden in the city this evening.
The five-day urs will be formally inaugurated on Friday at the famous Khwaja Banda Nawaz Dargah where the mortal remains of the saint who spent his life spreading the message of harmony and universal peace is enshrined.
Syed Shaha Mohammed ul Hussaini, a descendant of Khwaja Banda Nawaz, inaugurated the Sandal procession at the garden in the presence of his son Syed Shaha Khusro Hussaini and other senior Muslim clerics and leaders. The garden was milling with the devotees since morning and the beginning of the `sandal procession' was marked by the recital of verses from Holy Quran.
The highlight of the inauguration was the Qawwali performed by reputed artistes Fareed Ayaz and party from Pakistan at the garden. The artistes from Pakistan will also perform at the Dargah Sahreef on Friday. They will perform at the KBN Institute of Medical College, Hafth Gubaz and Khaja Bazaar during their stay in Gulbarga city till December 14.
The procession headed by Syed Shaha Mohammed ul Hussaini traversed through the main thoroughfares of the city and reached the Dargah Sharief. The sacred Sandal paste carried in the procession would be anointed on the mazar of Khawaja Banda Nawaz on Friday morning after religious rituals and prayers signalling the inauguration of the urs.
A prolific writer, Khwaja Banda Nawaz was identified as the first prose writer in Urdu and has penned more than 195 books in Urdu, Arabic and Persian.
The Sufi saint made Gulbarga his abode for 22 years till his death. He was a disciple of Hazrath Khwaja Pir Naseeruddin Mahmood.