By Muhammad Rizwan

People are praising the beauty of camels and skills of the trainer in loud voices by clapping, as the locals of Thal desert perform their cultural dances known as ‘Jhoomar’.  Nearby markets are sparkling with the traditional dresses and households, native sweets beautifully presented at the stalls along with many merry-go-rounds.

This was the scene in the heart of Thal Desert, of a small village in district Layyah as the Mela Inayat Shah was recently held. As the spring arrives, the villagers near a small town of Fatehpur, 25 kilometers from Layyah town, have been witnessing this cultural festival for the past 150 years.

The festival features traditional dancing of the camels, decorated by the locals, attracting a large number of visitors at the mela.

However, the festival could not take place last year due to security concerns.

Thousands of nomads along with their camels migrate from different parts of Pakistan to participate in this event. These nomads gather near the shrine of Inayat Shah, a renowned Sufi saint, offering their tribute.

This festival has multiple positive factors to count as it not only produces business opportunities but also makes an excellent room for these people to connect & revive their ancestral values.

Their connection with the Sufi saint and their love for him always attracts them to be on time for this festival. Despite lacking in formal education, these people send out a message of peace, harmony, friendship and love to everyone.

Muhammad Rizwan is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Layyah district of southern Punjab. 

All photos and video by the author