Lord Jhulelal: An Analytical Study

by Thakkar Harish Gopalji | 2018 | 62,623 words

This thesis studies Lord Jhulelal, the most important deity revered by Sindhis in India and beyond. Traditional views hold Lord Jhulelal as an incarnation of Vedic Deity Varuna (the river God). Historically, Jhulelal is a binding force for the Sindhi community who had to leave Sindh during the partition of India in order to settle at distant places...

Part 8 - Historic temples in Pakistan

A book titled ‘Historic temples in Pakistan, A call to conscience’ is a detailed account of the present-day temples in Pakistan. As the name suggests it takes into account most of the temples that still exist, especially after partition.

Each temple is of immense importance for the students and scholars as well who would be interested to peep into the glorious past of their religious monuments or structures which were once a part of undivided India, but today they are not. Still, they reveal a lot of information even after they have been found to be in a condition that is not desirable. In fact, they could be declared as national archives and their brief history be made available to visitors to enable them to get the information for such shrines and to know their importance in the culture of Sindh.

A special feature of the book is that it is conceived by two female journalists. The text is by Reema Abbasi and photography by Madiha Aijaz. A UNESCO award winner, Reema has described important features of these temples in her text without going for unnecessary expansion. Madiha, an acclaimed photographer, has provided praiseworthy pictures for the book.

There are three temples and some more references in the book which are connected with the subject of the thesis. The three temples are:

1. Varun Dev Mandir, Manora;
2. Daryalal Sankat Mochan Mandir or Jhule Lal Mandir;
3. Sadhu Bela Shrine near Bukkur Island;

1. Varun Dev Mandir, Manora:

This temple is a boat ride of about twenty minutes from Karachi port to Manora Island through the sea.

Lord Varuna or Varun Dev is referred to as Uderolal in Sindh, also known as

Jhulelal, referred to as a traveller saint or child saint. He is named as Lal Shahabaz Kalandar in the town of Sehwan Sharif. She says that this is the same place where many centuries ago, Hindus had gathered to pray to Lord Varuna. During the period of forty days, they had performed a kind of penance and had abstained from worldly pleasures. They prayed for forty days singing and dancing in the worship of Varundev.

It is known that their prayers were answered and a saviour by name Uderolal or Jhulelal was born in the town of Nasarpur in Sindh.

As described by the writer in this book which says that the temple though in a bad shape, its pyramid-like tower (what she obviously refers to is the Shikhar) appears to her like a javelin ready to launch into the sky. Further, she says that it’s sandstone structure, as if presiding over the Arabian sea, still courts mystery in its majesty, which shows that in spite of the negligence of many decades, it still has retained its grandeur. (Abbasi 2014:94), As reported and as seen in photographs, the temple rests on a platform which is elevated and the structure of the temple above the ground, its style and architecture, are all indicative of the North Indian ‘Nagar’ style under which this temple can be classified. The structure is made of sandstone which appears to be yellow and somewhat golden in the pictures, probably with the effect of weathering of long years. At some places, it is stated to be about 2000 years old, however, from the appearance and after careful study, the age of the temple could be 800 years, as opined by Dr. G.B. Deglurkar, a renowned scholar and an expert in this field. Based on the design and style of the ‘Shikhar’, this temple can be described as ‘Shekhari Shikhar’ type as explained by Dr Deglurkar.[1]

On the whole, this temple remains un-noticed by the people of India, because of the difficulties to visit and travel to our neighbouring country Pakistan and not being able to even get any news about such beautiful structures still standing though in a very bad shape. Its condition can be described as dilapidated which will not be an exaggeration.

2) Daryalal Sankat Mochan Mandir or Jhule Lal Mandir:

Another temple mentioned by the authors is known as Shri Laxmi Narain Temple which is stated to be about 200 years old. This temple is very important to Hindu community because immersion of idols during Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri are done here. This temple is also referred to as Darya Lal Sankat Mochan Mandir or Jhule Lal Mandir. Lord Jhule Lal is idolised and revered by Hindus of Sindh. On first Friday of the month a community meal is prepared for distribution as Friday is considered as an auspicious day of Lord Jhule Lal. The fisherman and sailor community also worship at this temple for their safe return from the sea voyage. It is their belief that they would be offered protection and would return safely to their home with the blessings of the Deity. As the name of the temple suggests, this temple is dedicated to goddess Laxmi and God Vishnu. The idols of other Gods like Radha Krishna, Lord Ram Seeta and Hanuman, Goddess Kali, Mata Durga, Panchmukhi Hanuman along with Chamunda and Khodial Mata are also found in the temple. (Abbasi 2014: 118-120).

3) Sadhu Bela Shrine near Bukkur Island:

The Indus river is home to many shrines. One of them is Sadhu Bela in yellowing Alabaster near the island of Bukkur. The river narrows here and this place can be reached by taking a short boat ride from Sukkur.

The beautiful and highly revered shrines of Udero Lal, Jhule Lal and a traveller saint Zinda Pir are found here. (Abbasi 2014: 216)

Since the manifestation of Zinda Pir or Khwaza Khizr in 952 A.D., this place is visited in large numbers by Hindus and Muslims on every Friday. A magnificent image of the saint in a red and blue coat with green headgear riding on a fish is found above the doorway. At Sadhu Bela, there are community feasts along with offerings and rituals accompanied by devotional songs every Friday which attract a large gathering of devotees. The pantheon of river saints is believed to be the protector of an ancient tribe of boatmen and fishermen known as Mohanas from the fiery nature of the river. (Abbasi 2014:217)

A detailed study of these temples could reveal many facts and many mysteries.

Footnotes and references:


As discussed in person with Dr. Deglurkar, an eminent scholar

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