Their windscreens decked out with prayers such as ‘Allah nigehbaan’ and ‘Mashallah’, the buses travel for hours along highways, curving along mountains and crawling over narrow bridges under the scorching sun. The destination is Sri Maata Hinglaj, also known as Nani Mandir.
Colourful saris and other clothing dry on rocks as several devotees take a dip in the muddy river a couple of kilometres short of the temple. “It is clean for them,” smiles Ali Sher, the driver of one of the buses overloaded with Hindu pilgrims. “We started our bus journey from Tando Mohammad Khan. On the way we stopped at all the temples that fell on our way through Keenjhar, Karachi and the mud volcano a few kilometres away from here. This is like Haj for Hindus and stopping at the different temples along the way is like Umrah for them,” he says.
About the Islamic inscriptions on the buses, bus conductor Abdul Raheen says, “We have our writings here, they have their red and orange triangular flags. We don’t mind that. They don’t mind this.”
“All the pilgrims are requested to take full care of the sanctity of Maata Mandir. Please abstain from creating nuisance on the premises. Eating any kind of meat and fish is prohibited. Maata Mandir is open only for the purpose of paying homage to Maata. Don’t come here for picnicking. Please don’t litter, take special care to keep this place clean. Please cover your head when entering Maata Mandir,” reads an inscription on the yellow board next to the mustard and light blue gates left open at this time of year. There are four temples inside, the biggest of which is Nani Mandir.
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The forgotten prayers of a people
By Sadef A. Kully
KARACHI: The legend is almost as old as the Indus River, Lord Shiva and his consort Sati, daughter of King Dakhsha, were vexed by Sati’s father for not inviting them for a ceremony. Sati went to the ceremony uninvited and in return was ignored. She was hurt by the behavior that she sacrificed herself in the fires and was burnt alive. Upon hearing the fate of his love, Lord Shiva went mad and began chaos on earth.
In order to help Lord Shiva deal with his grief, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s body in 12 pieces and scattered them across the earth where her head fell upon Hingol. Wherever the pieces of Sati’s body fell became Shakti Peethas, holy places of cosmic power, for all gods and worshippers.
Hingol is not a legend – as a matter of fact – today it is known as Hingol National Park and lies almost 170 km outside of Karachi in Balochistan. Sati’s head fell by Hinglaj Matajee Temple located inside a natural cave of a hill which is a holy pilgrimage site for the 2.5 million Hindus in Pakistan, although many feel the numbers have doubled in the last decade, and more than 90 per cent of them live in the Sindh province.
Hindus are the third religious group, after Muslim and Christians, and Hinduism is considered the indigenous religion of the sub-continent by local and international historians, which is not far from the truth.
There are over 40 Hindu temples across Pakistan, and in Sindh alone there are almost 30 temples in Karachi and interior Sindh. …
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Another name of Hinglaj Devi is Goddess Naina which is very akin to Goddess Nania of Sumerian Civilization
by Jagdeesh Ahuja, Hyderabad, Sindh.
Originally Hinglaj has nothing to do with religion or nationalism. Hinglaj is the historical monument of Sindhu Civilization. Hingol was one of the great many kingdoms of Sapta Sindhva (Sindhu des of seven rivers) and Hinglaj Devi was last mother queen of matriarchal era of Indus Valley. Another name of Hinglaj Devi is Goddess Naina which is very akin to Goddess Nania of Sumerian Civilization. The great poet of Indus Valley, Shah Latif called her “Nani Ama(n)” and after then Hinglaj Temple became famous as Temple of Nani Ama(n) especially in the Muslim populace. And Hinglaj Yatra has now got a great new altitude beyond religious divide.
We are unfortunate people who disown our own history. Ironically people of India own our monuments of ancient civilization as their sacred religious shrines and we are ever ready to give up our past and destroy our future. What a great alienation and ignorance of our own history! How can one weigh the advantages of destruction of Harappa, Taxila or Mohen-jo-daro!? Hinglaj is even more ancient than these historical sites. Mehargarh and Hinglaj are the monuments of advent of civilization. Legend of Shiva Parpati explains the transition of matriarchal era to patriarchal era. Shiva is the first male god of Sindhu Civilization whose whole Shakti (Power) was enshrined in his spouse Parpati (Hinglaj Devi) that is why she is also called Shakti Devi. It is well known fact that Shiva was the Lord of Indigenous Dravidian people of Indus Valley. When they were forced to migrate to Ganges Valley by Central Asian Aryan invaders, they continued to worship their Lord Shiva there. Long after the Aryans settled in Sapta Sindhva and owned Shiva along with their Lord Indra (God of Storm), people of Ganges valley started to visit the land of their ancestors. Hence the tradition of Hinglaj Yatra took place.
We must not forget the fact that the word Hindu itself is nothing but Sindhu. The Persians pronounced Sindhu as Hindu. And later Greek invaders pronounced Hindu as Indu, thence words Indus and India came into existence. Due to our ignorance we have lost sense of our history. Religious and nationalistic narrow mindedness has blurred our vision. Hinglaj doesn’t belong to any single religion or nation only, it is a great asset of Indus Valley and heritage of whole humanity, which should be put in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.