Last week I visited Uch after five years. Uch is an almost perfectly preserved medieval city with narrow streets lined by old houses So far, it has not been much spoiled by ill- advised modernisation. It was historically important as a centre of Suhrawardy Sufism and the magnificent shrines of the Sufi masters of the Suhrawardy Order dot the city. The construction of these shrines spans three centuries from 1200-1400 CE. The city was never known for its cleanliness but, during my recent visit, I found it much cleaner than before.
When I visited Uch in 2007, I went first as most visitors do, to the shrine of Jalaluddin Surkhposh (1192- 1291 CE). The simple and dimly lit interior of the shrine with its exquisitely crafted and hand-painted wooden roof, wooden pillars and turquoise floor, is awesome. There are scores of simple unnamed graves of his followers and devotees within the sanctum and, in one corner, the grave of the great Sufi himself. I noticed immediately the prominent Christian cross niches along the wall behind his grave, all in one row. Continue reading