Worshipping the alligators in Pakistan
The yearly festival attended by Sheedis, whose ancestors are believed to have been brought to the subcontinent as slaves from Africa. (Photos: AP)
Ethnic Pakistani Sheedi devotees dance to traditional drums during the alligator festival at the shrine of Saint Khawaja Hasan in Manghopir, a suburb of Karachi.
The yearly festival attended by Sheedis, whose ancestors are believed to have been brought to the subcontinent as slaves from Africa, is performed to pay homage to alligators who they believe hold mystical powers.
The pilgrims are Pakistani Sheedis, whose ancestors came from Africa and are drawn from different Muslim sects, making them a potential target for hardline militants who want to impose their strict interpretation of Islam on others.
Some archaeologists have claimed to have found fossilised remains of crocodiles here that are thousands of years old and some British colonial writers also suggested that they have been here for ‘thousands of years.’
During this festival the people will also make pledges to the shrine. These pledges are given to the crocodiles.