A Journey to Bhit

Recently I had to attend a wedding near Hyderabad, and since there was a gap between the different events; I decided to take that opportunity to explore some nearby areas. A recent addition to my bucket list is to explore Sindh and learn about their specialties.

The first place I went to was Bhit Shah, also called “Bhit”, a small town located in Matiari district of Sindh, 34.7 miles away from Hyderabad. The place is very popular and is named after the famous Sindhi poet and Sufi, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. It hardly took us an hour to reach there. The town’s entrance is made of up two huge blue arches, and as soon as you go past that, in five minutes you are near the resting place of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai who is considered to be the best poet of the Sindhi language.

Outside the main shrine area are multitudes of shops selling a variety of things. We got a chadar or paarh, as called in Sindhi (sheet of cloth placed on the grave by the local people) and some niaz (sweet and savory food items to be distributed among the people inside). The niaz available ranged from dry fruits like cashews, almonds, raisins etc. to popcorn, sugar balls (khaandbhoogran, in sindhi) and dates.

The shops there not only sell food items, but also Sindhi traditional attire, jewelry, caps, local hand painted pottery, limestone toys, hand held fans and dhaabkis (flat plate-like pieces of dinnerware used for keeping bread). People usually buy souvenirs for their family and friends when they visit. Two things caught my eye in the colorful marketplace, a beautiful hand held fan and a very bright bread holder.

Finally we reached the gate where shoes were collected for safe keeping at a charge of 50 Pakistani rupees. Shoes off, we entered the shrine. Before we could got inside it, we had to buy some flowers as well for keeping at the burial site. Moving ahead we walked on the cool white marble to keep our feet from burning.

The mausoleum of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is a magnificent structure with a single white central dome surrounded by many small minarets with intricate patterns in blue, white, green and yellow. Even in the scorching heat we had to stop and admire its beauty.

Inside the main burial room we paid our respects and distributed the niaz among people. As we were exiting the burial site, we could hear the local singers with their musical instruments singing folk pieces of music. Their voices and tunes were mesmerizing. We found a place near them in the shade, and sat down for half an hour and listened to their songs. This whole experience was immensely enjoyable. In all my previous visits to the place I had never heard the locals singing in their soothing voices.

With that, we started driving back to the city as we had another appointment there. The trip although short, was a very pleasurable experience for me.

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