Karachi’s Mystic Crocodiles Draw Thousands

via www.dailytimes.com.pk

Crocodiles with huge teeth-filled mouths lie in the sand and slap their snouts on the edge of sulphur springs, greeting worshippers who journey to the Mango Pir shrine on the outskirts of Karachi.

It is one of thousands of Sufi shrines where millions of devotees come from all corners of the country to pray, chant, dance, sing, occasionally smoke hashish, and seek healing. The 700-year old Mango Pir shrine, 25 kilometres southwest of the city centre, is believed to be the resting place of a Hindu bandit who tried to rob the caravan of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj, a 13th century Sufi saint.

According to local legend, Mango Pir converted from Hinduism to Islam when he realised his sin, and in reward Ganj gave him lice which grew into crocodiles.

The compound surrounding his shrine swarms with some 150 crocodiles. Devotees regard the deadly reptiles as sacred, and potential fulfillers of their most fervent wishes. Devotees journeying to Mango Pir make offerings not to the buried there…