A devotee’s destination

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A pilgrimage to Lalon Akhara

Md Ashik Uz Zaman Ashik

The Mausoleum of Lalon Shah or Lalon Akhara is the final resting place of ‘Baul Emperor’ Lalon, and a shrine has been built around this grave. The shrine is located in the village of Cheuriya in Kumarkhali Upazila of Kushtia District. Lalon Shah’s shrine was not built in a day. After the death of the renowned mystic saint in 1890, his devotees started flocking here, in such great numbers that necessitated the construction of some kind of monument. The shrine that exists at the site today was built in 1963 and inaugurated by the then governor of East Pakistan, Abdul Monem Khan. Today, the shrine receives visitors from all over the world. 

Lalon was born in 1774 in the village of Cheuriya and died on Friday, October 17, 1890. The details of the spiritual leader’s early life are debatable and not possible to verify. He had many qualities, a spiritual leader, mystic poet, reformer, and composer of Baul songs.He used to initiate locals and devotees at Cheuriya. 

He used to organize festivals here every year during winter. Thousands of devotees flock to this festival, where they discuss Baul songs and physiology. Even after his death, devotees throng here every year for this talk. This is how an arena is created here. Many notable Lalon devotees are also buried here, and the popularity of this place has increased day by day. In 2004, an academy building with a modern auditorium was constructed there. The mausoleum complex has a museum dedicated to Lalon.

The government has constructed a huge cultural complex at Lalon Academy for preservation of Baul and Lalon traditions. The four-storey academy is used as library, archive, museum and office room, and another two-storey building is used as a resort for Bauls.

Lalon composed about two thousand songs and poems which describe his philosophy which continues to provide spiritual inspiration and awareness to this day. He was against all forms of oppression and discrimination. He celebrated the freedom of mind and body. He did not believe in class divisions. Lalon was a Baul. Bauls deny all worldly affairs in desperate search for a mystical joy of the soul with songs. Lalon believed that the ‘body’ is the universe and the universe is the body.

The Lalon Fair is held here twice every year, once during Dol Purnima festival and again on the 1st of Kartik (16th of October).This fair is organized at Lalon Akhara. Lalon Fair attracts disciples from all over the country and around the world. The Baul song festival runs throughout the nights during these events. The shrine is decorated with colors on this occasion. 

How to go

The Shrine of Lalon Fakir is 2 km away from the Kushtia railway station. You need to take a bus or CNG auto-rickshaw and head there from the rail station.
From Kushtia bus stand by rickshaw/auto rickshaw to a place called Cheuria costs a fare of BDT 30-50,  From Kushtia railway station to bus stand by rickshaw/auto rickshaw to a place called Cheuria costs a fare of BDT 20-30.

Where to Stay

You may stay in Hotel Mukta International. The hotel is 47.9 miles away from Fakir Lalon Shah’s Mazar. The food options are also cheap here. The nearby tourist spots at Kustia include- Gorai River, Hardinge Bridge, Home of Baul Lalon Shah, and Nill Kuthi Bari. 

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