Ullal urs begins today

Staff Correspondent

It is observed in memory of Sufi saint Hazrat Sayed Muhammad Shariful Mandani Thangal

Islamic scholars and cultural figures from across the world will participate in 25-day event

MANGALORE: The stage is set for one of the biggest events on the religious calendar of Sunni Muslims in the region. For 25 days starting Thursday, the coastal town of Ullal, which lies 10 km south of the city, will host the urs at the Sayed Madani Dargah.

Held once every five years, the Ullal urs is a religious-cum-cultural event observed in memory of the Sufi saint Hazrat Sayed Muhammad Shariful Mandani Thangal, who arrived in Ullal from Saudi Arabia in 1592. Speaking to The Hindu, Ahmed Bawa, a member of the organising committee, said that the event was expected to draw about 25 lakh pilgrims from across the country. He said that in the past, the urs had been celebrated once every two to three years, but since 1920 it had been observed once every five years. He also said that the urs was a combination of religious, academic and cultural activities that would involve the participation of leading Islamic scholars and cultural figures from all over the world.

One of the highlights of the 25-day festivities will be the mass marriages programme, where thousands of couples from economically backward families will tie the knot with financial assistance from the organisers. The 40 {+t} {+h} annual convocation of the Sayed Madani Arabic College will also be held as part of the urs.

Governor H.R. BhardwajChief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Home Minster V.S. Acharya, Social Welfare Minister D. Sudhakar, district in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar, Oscar Fernandes, MP, Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa will participate.

A release from Southern Railways said that for 25 days, train number 624 (Mangalore Central-Kozhikode passenger) would stop for a minute at the Ullal railway station.