Photo by Rahat Dar
The 434th annual Mela Chiraghan kicked off in Lahore with thousands in attendance. The festival had previously been on hold since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however now it is back in full force. Held adjacent to Shalimar Gardens, the urs for Shah Hussain and Madho Lal was in full swing from the get-go. Despite long queues at security checkpoints and a heavy police presence, the devotees were undeterred.
Over a span of three days, the festival featured qawwali and dhamal performances, as well as the ceremonial lighting of chiraghs (oil lamps). The third day of the festival was dedicated to women and had a large gathering. Mela Chiraghan is one of the most diverse festivals held in the Punjab, and the gathering welcomes devotees from all faiths.