Crazy Sufi night in Lahore

When someone told me that Sufi Night was held in the equivalent of a mosh pit (the crowded chaos at the front of a gig where everyone is squashed in and bounces around together) I didn't really believe them. But they were completely correct, it was absolute madness and a brilliant night.

Music from the night: Click preview to play it on this page

IMGA0007 (by Yodod)

There were maybe 500 people crowded into an open area between some buildings and a Sufi shrine, all sat next to each other closer than I could have imagined people could sit. Thursdays are also tourist night, so there is an area that we are led to, obviously full of people who had a good seat, who now have to be aggressively kicked out of the area and threatened with sticks to make them move. It doesn't help that everyone in the whole room is smoking huge joints and isn't inclined to move. Half the crowd is in a trance, the rest are passing around joints like there's no tomorrow.

IMGA0010 (by Yodod)

The 50 Pakistanis's who were sitting on the steps of the shrine in the tourist area were replaced by about 10 tourists all staying at Malik's guest house - 'The Regal Internet Inn'. He's well respected and his helper Niemet also did his best to make sure we were all OK. All over Lahore if we said we were staying with Malik people said he was a very good man and touched their heart, everyone saw him as their friend. The reason for all this chaos were the three drummers stood with huge drums, swirling around like dervishes (the original dervishes were the first Sufis) playing amazing rhythms and spinning on the spot while they did it. The most famous one is deaf (blue clothing) and can still keep time from all the vibrations.

IMGA0003 (by Yodod)

We stayed for about 4 hours and went home elated from the experience, if the first people to play acid house weren't inspired by Lahore's Sufi night I will be amazed. What made it even more strange was the transvestite's who regularly walked through the crowd and went into the shrines and then prayed for half an hour or so, while the music was going on. In such a crazy macho man world it seemed so incongruous to see 'gay men' dressed as women being able to walk around openly. Some are eunochs and live a very secretive life that William Dalrymple managed to find out a little about in 'City of Djinn's', they are respected and feared in Pakistan and India, yet are thought to bring good luck...........

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