Shrines in Lahore, Lahore
I was completely surprise by my experience at a Dohl event in Lahore.
This is an event every Friday night, where about 1000 dudes cram into a courtyard outside a tomb, smoke, and watch a drumming and dancing spectacle from about 11pm to 4am.
First, a space is cleared for the dancing (guys with sticks go around and threaten to hit peoples legs if they don't pull them in).
Next, a guy comes out and rants and raves for about 30 minutes (until people yell out things like 'shut up and drum').
He then went around trying to get everyone to sit down, climb down off the walls, and out of the trees, which people did, only to climb back up again.
Finally the drumming started (which was excellent), followed by guys in white robes dancing, hopping around, and spinning (fast).
I stayed until about 1am, and really enjoyed the show.
The Shrine of Data Ganj Baksh is one the largest in Lahore, and is located in the old city. It's the resting place of a Sufi saint, who died in the early part of the milennium and is credited with helping spread Islam to the sub-continent.
As with all other Islamic places, shoes are not allowed and can be stored at the front for a price. The complex is pretty large, and I used to read about a lot of illegal things going on inside, like prostitution and drug-selling. I didn't see any of it happening during my trip though. The main part of the shrine holds the body of the saint, where many people were venerating it, although not too many people seemed to be praying.
I myself was interested at seeing the reactions of the people to the grave of the saint. It is enclosed in a wall with some windows. The thing that I noticed was the amount of respect the people gave to the shrine, it was akin to the rituals I had seen in Mecca. I don't agree with what they were doing, but thats another story.
The shrine itself can be an interesting visit for a peek into the beliefs of many Lahoris, and for the historic value of it housing a famous saint. I would be a little careful in the area around the shrine though, and only go during the day time. It is located in the old city outside Bhati gate.