The privilege of being able to do the ziyarat of Bibi Masooma (AS) and Imam Raza (AS) is an honour in itself, but adding to that the role of a mentor, and being able to impact the lives of our youth for the better, added another dimension to my experience of this trip.
Our first ever Khoja Heritage Tour is currently underway! This historic trip gives participants the opportunity to visit key locations in India, which are significant to our community.
The exciting 16-day tour travels across 12 different cities and gives participants a deeper understanding of the origins of our Khoja community and the chance to learn more about our history.
Our community dates back to the late fourteenth century from the desert of Sind, where our conversion to Shia Islam by a missionary named Pir Sadruddin took place. The touring group will visit Kalo Dungar in Kutch, where they will get to see the land from where our ancestors originated.
To fit into the Gujarati Society, our ancestors needed a new identity. The community could no longer be called Thakkars. Pir Sadruddin gave them the title of Khwaja, which morphed into the term Khoja.
Those on the trip will have the opportunity to visit the shrines of Pir Gulamali Shah and Pir Dadu in Kera and Bhuj, as well see the three historic buildings representing the three Khoja strands in Palagali area of Mumbai.
In the wake of the turmoil of the late 19th century as the Khoja Community tried to define its beliefs, the likes of Nur Muhammad Meghji, Hasham Dosa and Dewji Jamal visited Ayatullah Zayn al-Abedeen Mazandarani in Karbala through the guidance of an Indian student in Karbala by the name of Mulla Qadar Husayn. They joined Dewji Jamal in India to research the teachings of Ithna Asheri faith amongst Khojas of Mumbai.
This was the beginning of a journey for the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Community, as it contained its faith in the crucible of Khoja culture. As a testament to that beginning, visitors will be able to sit in the very first madrasa called the Madrasa of Mulla Qadar Husayn in Mumbai.
The tour will highlight the contribution of many key personalities who helped shape the community and sacrificed their lives, along with paying homage to the most revered religious scholar of the community in the early 20th century, Allama Haji Naji, in Bhavnagar.
Shrine of Pir Gulam Ali Shah in Kera.
A useful handbook has been produced with a detailed itinerary of day to day activities as well important tour policies and guidelines.
Download the handbook here.
The Khoja Heritage Tour published a short documentary, which covers the history and cultural significance of the sites planned for the tour.
Watch here: https://goo.gl/NkwDj5
Updated 11 December 2013
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