Today, I am taking you on a spiritual journey to the valley of Lahoot-e-Lamakaan, situated in Khuzdar, Baluchistan, the western province of Pakistan. The meaning of Lahoot e Lamakaan according to my understanding is Lahoot of the homeless. Since the 14th century, this valley is home to a renowned Muslim Sufi Saint “Syed Bilawal Shah Noorani”.
We are heading from Karachi towards the valley in a car. It is at a distance of around 110 kilometers. The conditions of the roads are good enough for a normal car, apart from some patches. On the way, you can find Gas stations and hotels. All forms of road transportation are used for reaching this valley including motorbikes, cars, SUVs and coasters. The beauty of Baluchistan has always mesmerized me in so many ways. The friendly people, crystal clear beaches, wild life, mountains and roads. But this journey has its own significance due to its spiritual nature.On the way, we will explore the beautiful mountainous terrain of Baluchistan. These mountains are part of the Kirthar Mountain Ranges. Kirthar Mountains are the natural border between Sindh and Baluchistan Province.In this journey, we followed the sequence as followed by the devotees of “Shah Noorani”. The people who visit Lahoot La Makan are called Lahooti. The rest place of Saints are called “Dargah” by their devotees.
Just a few kilometers from the Lahoot-e-Lamakaan valley, there is Dargah of Sufi Saint “Muhabbat Shah Faqeer”. Very little is known about him on the internet. This is the first stop for the Lahootis before heading toward the valley of “Shah Noorani”. The road to the valley is beautifully paved along side the hilly torrents that are coming down from the mountains of Lahoot. The Sun was set when we reached the valley. There is an entrance charges of 50 rupees for vehicle parking. Since, the bomb blast that occurred back in 2016, this area is now secured by Frontier Corporation and Levies Forces of Pakistan. Local Cellular Network with the name Ufone is now working in the area. Cameras are restricted in the area but mobile phone cameras are allowed.
We set up out camp outside in a vacant place as we have a long day ahead of us.
Our day started with the chirpings of birds, the night was very cold.
We started our day by going through the Bazaars and reach the shrine. The shrine of “Syed Bilawal Shah Noorani” is situated on the first floor of the building while his other descendants are buried on the ground floor. The interior of the tomb is decorated with white stones and the floor is finished with marbles. The Lahotis sit around the grave of the saint, pray and seek internal peace. Dhamaal (a kind of mystic rite) is performed at his shrine during an annual fair held as part of Holy Month of Ramadan. Pilgrims from Sindh, mostly visit the shrine by foot at the time of annual fair. They proceed from Sehwan Sharif after the end of the fair of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar via Naig Valley. They walk along stony routes through the Kirthar Mountains.Some of the devotees presents their devotion by singing spiritual songs and poetry along with cultural musical instrument Sitar. This also provides an earning source for them from the incoming visitors.Shah Noorani shrine is surrounded by mountains, which is home to the local people for centuries. Mostly, they are engaged in providing services to the visitors which include food services, gem stones, grocery and medical shops, fire-woods, bath and washrooms services. My eyes are searching for a souvenir which could remind me of this place when I get back home. I come across a man making threaded bracelets from wool in different colors. I bought these bracelets one from each color, just for 100 rupees.Just like any other city, we found place for recreational activities for the young ones.The most unique feature of this valley is the harmony between living and dead, this whole area is built in a cemetery. You will find beautifully crafted graves everywhere. People sitting, eating and sleeping beside graves without any fear. The stunningly stone-crafted graves depict the fineness of the local stone art.After visiting the shrine of “Shah Noorani”, we hiked towards the Gokal Mountains to see the panoramic view of the valley. There are various mystical stories associate with these mountains. It is believed that Caliph Hazard Ali (RA) fought with Gokal demon. After defeating the devil, the caliph locked up the demon in a cave and closed the opening or entry of cave with mount.We are now leaving this valley and continuing our journey to our next milestone.On the way to the shrine, there is another revered place for the devotees know as “Maula Ali Qadam” which mean The footstep of Caliph Hazrat Ali (RA). This place represents high value to the Shia Muslims. Another most significant part of the Lahootis pilgrimage is, Jabl e Lahoot (The mountain of Lahoot). On the top of Jable Lahoot, there is a huge cave with narrow entrance, where it is believed that “Shah Noorani” used to spend most of his time during his lifetime to attain his spirituality.The way to the cave is almost 2-3 kilometers long and to be covered on foot. We have filmed the whole route for our viewers insight.The Lahootis chant these hills with various slogans while going up and down this route.Here, You will again find the local vendors selling food items and other souvenirs. Families come here for the fulfilment of their wishes and get helped by the old spiritual devotees sitting in this place. This is the cave of Lahoot, know as “Maa ka Pait” (Womb of the Mother). It is believed that, whoever goes into this cave, all his sins are cleaned just like a new born baby.We have photographed an image of the inside of the cave in which you can see the inside of the cave.The outside view of the mountain is uniquely patterned by nature with inverted cone like structures. It is also believed that, In old days, these cone shaped rocks used to pour out milk, but the locals started trading the milk, due to which it stopped and now only water is coming out of it.On the cap of the Jabl e Lahoot, you will find a hole, some people believe that Prophet Noah anchored his ship on this mountain.Apart from all the legends, beliefs and rumors, this whole journey has put my heart at peace. And I wish that I could have more time to explore this valley again.We have reached the end of our journey and now heading back home with a hope that the peace and spirituality of this place remains intact. We are thankful to all the contributors, viewers and the people of Baluchistan for letting us make this documentary.