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Friday, March 27, 2020

Narayan Sarovar, Cheti Chand, Lord Jhulelal and Sindhi New year

Narayan Sarovar or Narayansar is an holy  place of pilgrimage for Hindus on the Kori Creek. It is located in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district, Gujarat, India. The ancient Koteshwar temple lies only 4 km away.

Cheti Chand greetings to everyone, especially the Sindhi community. With the blessings of Lord Jhulelal, may everyone’s wishes be fulfilled. May there be abundance of happiness. I would specially pray for the good health and well-being of our citizens. – tweeted our PM Shri Narendra Modiji, this morning.

Cheti Chand is a festival that marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year for Sindhi Hindus.  The date of the festival is based on the lunar cycle, falling on the first day of the year, in the Sindhi month of Chet (Chaitra). It typically falls in late March or early April in the Gregorian calendar on or about the same day as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in other parts of the Deccan region of India.  This time couple of days  later than Ugadi. The festival marks the arrival of spring and harvest, but in the Sindhi community, it also marks the birth of Uderolal in 1007, after they prayed to the Hindu god Varun Dev to save them from the persecution by the tyrannical Muslim ruler Mirkhshah. Uderolal morphed into a warrior and old man who preached and reprimanded Mirkhshah that Muslims and Hindus deserve the same religious freedoms. He, as Jhulelal became the champion of the people in Sindh, from both religions.

The tradition likely started with Daryapanthis. During the British colonial rule era, major annual fairs (melas) used to be held in Uderolal and Zindapir (near Hyderabad, Pakistan). In contemporary times, the Sindhi community celebrates the festival of Cheti Chand with major fairs, feast parties, processions with jhankis (glimpse stage) of Jhulelal (an avatar of [Varun dev], similar to Vithoba),[9] other Hindu deities, and social dancing. On this day, many Sindhis take Baharana Sahib, a representation of Jhulelal, to a nearby river or lake. Baharana Sahib consists of jyot (oil lamp), misiri (crystal sugar), fota (cardamom), fal (fruits), and akha. Behind is kalash (water jar) and a nariyal (coconut) in it, covered with cloth, phool (flowers) and patta (leaves).

Jhulelal is a name that refers to the Ishta Dev (most-revered deity) of Sindhi Hindus, who regard him to be an incarnation of the Hindu deity Varuna. The chant Jhule Lal Jhule Lal is considered the "clarion call" of Sindhi Hindus.   performed several miracles, typically centred around the Indus River – which Hindus consider to be his abode.  Sindhi Hindus worship Jhulelal at the Shrine at Odero Lal in Pakistan's Sindh province.  A second shrine named Jhulelal Tirthdham exists in India at Narayan Sarovar, Kutch, Gujarat.

Swami Jhulelal  is represented as a man with a flowing white beard, sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of a river and surrounded by a couple of silver fish (palla fish). It is said that when the boy was born, he revealed his divine identity to his father Rattanchand and his mother Devaki. When he opened his mouth, his parents saw-the mighty Sindhu river flowing and an old man seated on a pala fish(a large salmon indigenous to the Sindhu river).

                          Jhulelal continues to be the unifying force and the centre of all cultural activities of the Sindhi community. When Sindhi men venture out to sea, their women pray to Jhulelal for their safe return. They offer the Lord a prasad of akha, a sweet made from rice, ghee, sugar and flour. Sindhis all over the world greet each other with the words, "Jaiko chawando Jhulelal thenja thinde Beda-Paar".

Jhulelal Tirathdham: A global spiritual centre and a world-class infrastructural marvel restoring the faith in religion, Sindhis now have their own palatial sanctuary in the country! A future nerve centre for the global Sindhi community, the Jhulelal Tirathdham is the sole holy place for all Sindhis across the world. It is a perfect site for creating a temple with extravagance as Shri Jhulelal Tirathdham Trust has embarked upon a project which has never been witnessed in the history of Sindhi Hindus, who are migrants from Sindh after India’s partition. Being developed as a religious grandeur par excellence, this is also the largest Jhulelal temple in the world. It is set to become an epicentre and bring huge cultural reform for the Sindhi community across the world.

Situated on the banks of the Kori Creek in Kutch’s Lakhpat district of Gujarat, the Sindhu (Indus) river used to flow at this location. The river used to end between the holy Narayan Sarovar and Koteshwar.  Narayan Sarovar is also mentioned in The Bhagwat Purana as one of the five Sarovars. The river is also said to hold immense spiritual significance of worship for the Sindhis.  Jhulelal Tirathdham is is also close to Sindh’s capital, Karachi which is situated on Arabian Sea coast in Pakistan. Lord Jhulelal, the deity of Sindhis is believed to have emerged from the sea.  The dham is built on 42 acres of land and overlooks the Arabian Sea. ‘Tirath’ literally translates to ‘river front’ or a sacred place.  The Tirathdham complex includes a massive Jhulelal temple, a museum, amphitheatre, auditorium, meditation centre, shelter for pilgrims and several other amenities which are slated to start soon.  Once the dham is fully constructed, the entrance will lead to the main temple, surrounded with water bodies amidst the bloom of Lotus flowers, all depicting hints of the Sindhi culture

          Cheti Chand, the small temple which houses the shrine, and is part of the first phase, was recently inaugurated on April 7, 2019.  The Sindhi community has sacrificed their own land for the freedom of the country, and for the longest time, had no soil to call their own.  Now,  Tirath dham will serve as the one place for the community to perform all their religious duties from birth to death as well as become a centre to help in preserving their culture.

Happy  Cheti Chand  greetings to everyone !  -  Jai  Lord Jhulelal

With regards – S. Sampthkumar

Pic Credit : Wikipedia / twitter.
By Coolross at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Raman Patel, CC BY 3.0,

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