Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Dharti Mata

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The most satisfactory and accomplished journey was a short trek to the summit of Takht e Suleman in November 1994. The trip took all of three days, but being on the summit opened a great window of light. My guide, two local militiamen showed me the 'grave' of Qais Abdur Rashid that all Pathans believe is a common ancestor to them. The grave was actually a stone pedestal measuring twenty-one feet square. It was an ancient pagan sacrificial pedestal.

Two years earlier, at the shrine of Channan Pir in Cholistan, I watched the rituals of salaam and giving thanks for the son and realised that this was a throwback to Dharti Mata of our pagan past. And shortly before the dawning at Channan Pir, I had been on the peak of Musa ka Musalla where some Gujjar herders were taking a couple of buffalos to say salaam too the shrine on the summit. They told me that this ritual made the animals more fertile. That is what Dharti Mata does: she bestows fertility upon her worshippers.

Now, on the Takht e Suleman, as we stood there with the Pathans praying to their so-called ancestor, it came to me like a bolt of lightning: this was another face of the worship of Dharti Mata. In the beginning on Musa ka Musalla, it was a slow understanding that grew more established when I was at Channan Pir. But on Takht e Suleman all the pieces fell into place with an audible click. I think it was this wonderful peak with its drape of chilghoza pine trees that brought me new knowledge and was therefore the most satisfactory and accomplished journey.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 10 March 2016 at 14:17, Anonymous Muhammad Athar said...

The artcle reminded me my expadetion of 1987 once i along with other collegue stayed night at Mosa ka mussala.

At 11 March 2016 at 10:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

some of your posts are sort of cryptic!!! But as interesting as ever.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days