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  Updated: February 5, 2006

A brief history of Karbala Gamay Shah

By: Nasir Shah
Courtesy: Daily Times

Every one has heard of Karbala Gamay Shah, the famous imambargah in Lahore – heart of Pakistan -, but very few people know why it is called Karbala Gamay Shah.

Although ‘Karbala’ is the name of the plain where Grandson of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SW), Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) was martyred, here the word signifies a place of mourning where people assemble in Muharram.

‘Gamay Shah’ is the epithet of Hazrat Baba Syed Ghulam Ali Shah.

According to a leaflet distributed at Karbala Gamay Shah during Muharram, Hazrat Baba Syed Ghulam Ali Shah was buried at the place presently known as Karbala Gamay Shah. The Qazalbash family purchased the land where Hazrat Baba Gamay Shah was buried and built an imambargah there.

Baba Gamay Shah was a Sufi who lived during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the beginning of the 18th century. He remained celibate all his life.

Baba Gamay Shah selected the place presently known as Karbala Gamay Shah for his spiritual practices. Always attired in black, Baba Gamay Shah was known for his incessant mourning for the Ahle Bait (AS), descendants of Prophet Muhammad (SW). A zarih of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) has also been fixed next to the grave place of Baba Gamay Shah.

During Muharram, one of the country’s largest processions, the Nisar Haveli procession of Mochi Gate, which begins on the midnight of Muharram 8, makes its way to Gamay Shah, along with all other such processions from the city, on the eve of Muharram 10.

On Safar 20, a chehlum procession - forty days after Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)’s martyrdom, makes its way from Haveli Alif Shaheeyan in Mochi Gate, ending at Karbala Gamay Shah.

Husseini mourning end on Rabiul Awal 8 with a procession that originates from an imambargah in Islampura, concluding at Karbala Gamay Shah.

Processions have been held here since the colonial period, when Gamay Shah began walking around the Walled City, holding a taziah in his hands and mourning for the martyrs of Karbala.

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