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GURU NANAK IN NORTH WEST FRONTIER PAKISTAN AND SINDH-Part II

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

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GURU NANAK IN NORTH WEST FRONTIER PAKISTAN
AND SINDH-Part II


Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Gurdwara Nanaksar at Harappa
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Harappa is a very old city of district Sahiwal (Montgomery) This city flourished even thousands of years before Christ, later it became a ruin either due to some natural calamities or invasion from outsides. Gold and silver coins excavated from this place have inscription of different shapes but these inscription have not been deciphered to date. These inscriptions prove that the people of this land knew how to read and write thousands of years ago. The sacred shrine of Sat Guru Nanak Dev Ji called "Nanaksar" is displaying its grandeur in a grove of trees about 1.25 km south of the ruins. The building is grand and beautiful. There is a big tank near the Prakashasthan. Once, a big fair used to be held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of Chaiter. Presently this sacred place is known as the building of Government College, Harappa. There are many residing rooms attached to it. Ten ghumaon of agricultural land and a big estate stand in the name of shrine beside a well and a large garden. The foundation stone of the shrine was laid by Sant Sangat Singh, a resident of Kamalia, on 4th of Poh, Samvat 1998 Nanak Shahi 473 and the construction began on the 18th of Dec. 1941 AD. [1][14][18]

The shrine is in the possession of Nanak Panthi Hindus. Prakash of Guru Granth Sahib takes place and the idols are also worshipped here. A lamp lit by the Guru Nanak Dev is kept burning round the clock. The pilgrims prostrate before this lamp. [1][18] From Harappa Guru Nanak proceeded through Naushehra, Rajanpur, Seetpur, Mithankot, Suhana etc and reached Hallani, Bullani. [1]
Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi, Mirpur Khas
Mirpur Khas is a famous city of the Sind province and it is also the district head quarter. There is a railway station by the same name. While going towards the city from the railway station, a huge building can be seen at the second cross road. This is the place where Guru Nanak Dev set his sacred feet. At present this three storeyed spacious building houses the offices of the Evacuee Waqf Board. [1][14][19]

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From Mirpur Guru Nanak Dev reached Naushehra where he stayed for about a week. Many people became followers of Guru Nanak in these places. As Guru Nanak desired to be a Peer, Guru Nanak got him too declared a Peer. Many people became Mardana’s followers as well whose later generations have been worshipping Mardana and his descendents. [1]
From Naushehra, Guru Nanak proceeded further through Rajanpur, Seetpur and Mitthankot where five rivers of Punjab join. Having enjoyed the beauty of the nature at the place he held discussions with the Peer Fakirs of Rojhan town and stopped them from grave worship. [1] Once Sikhs had the rule up to this place.
Suhana
They moved next to Suhana city. He found Brahmans being taxed and put under numerous restrictions by the Muslim rulers. Under pressure the Brahmans also started showing up like Muslims and adopted their rituals to appease them. Despite these pressures these Brahmans kept on looting the Hindus through concocted religious rituals. Guru Nanak sang a hymn. This way both the Muslims and the Hindus had strayed from the path of Truth and Truthful living. To guide them the Guruji sang a hymn in Assa Rag. [20]

They (Muslim Rulers) tax the cows and the Brahmins, but the cow-dung they apply to their kitchen. This will not save them. They (Brahmans) wear their loin cloths, apply ritual frontal marks to their foreheads, and carry their rosaries, but they eat food with the Muslims. These Siblings of Destiny perform devotional worship indoors, but read the Islamic sacred texts, and adopt the Muslim way of life. Brahmans must renounce their hypocrisy! Only through the Divine Name, the Name of the Lord, they shall swim across. These Brahmans are like man-eaters who say their prayers, who wield the knife towards the public but wear the sacred thread around their necks for protection of the religion. In their homes, these Brahmins sound the conch but have the same taste like Muslims. False is their capital, and false is their trade. Speaking falsehood, they take their food. The home of modesty and Dharma is far from them. Nanak says: they are totally permeated with falsehood. The sacred marks are on their foreheads, and the saffron loin-cloths are around their waists; in their hands they hold the knives — they are the butchers of the world! Wearing blue robes, they seek the approval of the Muslim rulers. Accepting bread from the Muslim rulers, they still worship the Puranas. They eat the meat of the goats, killed after the Muslim prayers are read over them, but they do not allow anyone else to enter their kitchen areas. They draw lines around them, plastering the ground with cow-dung. The false come and sit within them. They cry out, “Do not touch our food, or it will be polluted!” However, with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths. They cannot reach God themselves nor can they take their flock along with. Nanak tells them ‘to meditate on the True Lord. Only when you are pure from heart, you will obtain the True Lord’. (pp. 471-472) [11]

At Sohana there was a dharmsal of Guru Nanak dev ji. From there, he went to the river and enjoyed the natural surroundings of Sohana and proceeded further to an area between Sakhar, Bhakhar and Rodi and sat under a Butt Tree where now Sadh Bela is. [20]

From Bulani Guru Nanak proceeded through Ranipur, Moragh, Jhera, Amarkot, Tanda, Allah Yar Khan, Mattari, Fuleli etc., and reached Udyare Lal.

Legend of Udyare Lal:

The legend of Uddyare Lal is stated as follows, “When Amarakh Shah, the ruler of Sind started converting Hindus to Islam by force all the Hindus left eating and taking water and assembled at the river nearby and started praying to God. Having heard their prayer, the God sent Udyare Lal to Rattan Bania’s house on Saturday on Chetra Sudi 3 , Bikrami Samwat 1513 (1456 AD). Hindus consider him to be Varun Devta while the Muslim started venerating him as ‘Khwaja Khijar’. He stopped Muslims from doing all types of atrocities on Hindus and died at the age of 27 in ChetarBikrami samwat 1541 (1484 AD) in Udyare village 8 kos from Hyderabad. His grave was worshipped by Muslims while the Hindus worship the swing on which he used to sit and the lights lit around. Sindhis sing Guru’s hymns along with the Sindhi hymns. [21]

From Udero Lal Guruji reached Hyderabad where Jathedar Jodha Singh constructed a Gurdwara commemorating his visit. From Hyderabad he came to Kotli visiting various mountains and greenery spots he reached Raj Ghat Thattha where Guru Nanak place existed and then went to Hinglaj. [22]
Hinglaj

Hinglaj is an important Hindupilgrimage place in Baluchistan, Pakistanand Kuldevi of many Kshatria, Charanand other Hindu Communities of India. It is situated about 250 km north of Karachi [1] near the peak of one of the mountains of the Makran Coastal Range; approximately 120 km from the Indus River Delta and 20 km from the Arabian sea. It is said that during Shiva Tandva, the head of Sati fell at Hingula or Hinglaj making the place to be one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The name of Hinglaj lends itself to the Hingol River, the largest in Baluchistan and the Hingol National Park which at 6,200 square kilometers is the largest in Pakistan. Hingula means cinnabar (HgS Mercuric Sulphide). It was used in ancient India to cure snakebite and other poisonings and is still employed in traditional medicine. The Goddess Hingula is thus believed to possess powers which can cure poisoning and other diseases. The Muslim name 'Nani' is an abbreviation of the name of the ancient Goddess ‘Nanaia’, whose Persian name is ‘Anahita’. The pilgrimage to the place is also called 'Nani ki Hajj' by local Muslims The shrine is referred to in holy texts as "Marutirtha Hinglaj" since it is located in a desert which means Hinglaj, the Shrine of the Desert. [23[24] The area is extremely arid hence pilgrimage takes place before summer starting at a place near the Hao river, 10 km from Karachi. The Makran Coastal Highway linking Karachi with Gwadar runs parallel to Baluchistan’s Arabian coast which follows path taken Alexander the Great took for his campaign. The highway has now made the pilgrimage and visiting the shrine very convenient.

The Hinglaj Yatra

Having visited Hyderabad and Kotli and passing through numerous hill features and cities and towns he reached Thatta and stayed near Raj Ghat where there is a place commemorating Guru Ji’s visit. Thatta used to be the capital of Sind state in the past. Muslim rulers there broke the temples converting them into ruins. From here the pilgrimage to Hinglaj the famous place of Hindus veneration started. The famous Niranjani and Nirban Akhara heads sent their faithful to lead the pilgrims to Hinglaj giving them a sort of stick known as ‘Chhari’. The pilgrim was known as Chhari Mubarak of which [13] details are given by Giani Gian Singh

“After due pooja at the Akhar site; the pilgrimage-group led by ‘Chhari’ is initiated into the journey to Hinglaj. After two stops (manzils) the Gadia Peer is reached where offering of pieces of cloth are made. From Karachi they load camels with food and other necessities since there is nothing worthwhile available for 300 Kos. However there are small wells after every 15 kos got dug by a saintly person. From Karachi the first well is at Chhata village, second one at Midison Miani village where the Gosain fakirs charge Rs 1-1/4 from other fakirs and Rs 5 from a married person and allowed them to go. Nanakpanthis are however charged only 5 paisa due to analogy that their elder was defeated in discussion on this ritual practice by Guru Nanak at the place and they had to stop charging his followers. Next stops are the mausoleum of ‘Guru-Chela’ (Master-student), Kaharvela, Obriari and Angakhadia. The name Angkhadia is based on a legend. Bhairon used to live on the banks of the river and did not permit t anyone ahead except the followers of Lord Shiva. Even Sri Ram Chander was stopped resulting in a fight in which Bhairon was defeated. Having defeated he left the place for ever. Bhairon used to make Gakhris which he threw at Sri Ram, hence the name Angakhria. Many stones lying around are of the shape of Gakhris.
Three miles from Angkhria comes Chander Koop. The pilgrims prepare a large 1-1/4 mond sweet bread (Rot) for offering. There is hill made of ash spread in 2 square miles and 1 mile high and is called Shivji Dhooni. Numerous golden flies come out of this hill. On the hill there is a spring known as Chander Koop. A strange sound ‘Khadvat, khadvat’ is heard at the place. A grinded mix of ‘bhang’, ‘dhatura’, ‘akk’ and ‘lachi’ are offered here followed by the huge baked bread. As the baked bread is submerged, the pilgrims announce the names of their parents and the guru one by one and a sound of ‘bum’ bum’ is heard from the bread drowning in to the water each time. However when there is no such sound heard after the announcement made by any pilgrim, the pilgrim is stated to be a’ murderer.’ To get his son excused, all join rub their nose on earth while praying for his excuse: “Baba Chanderkoop! We have shared the impact of crime committed by the individual. Please allow the individual to proceed for the journey further”. The individual is again asked to name his parents and guru. In case the sound ‘bum’ ‘bum’ is heard the prayers are stopped; but it is not heard, the concerned pilgrim is asked to go back. No one eats anything till the sound ‘bum, bum’ is heard again.

Next stop is Kathian Wali Khoohi. This is near the hill feature resembling Shivji with unbound hair. At night the site of the hill becomes wonderful. Light at various spots emerges from a wall type hill close to the sea called ‘Kahika dwaal’. A scintillating song type sound is heard around. Camels are left behind at this place. Everyone has to pick up his own rations and move to ‘Kali cave’ by the afternoon. A 4-5 miles high hill does not allow anyone further. The shadows of sun and moon shine on the hill taken to be that the two are standing as sentries to the Devi. Hinglaj cave is in this hill. Water is nearby and the Kaner trees are around. The men and women enter this cave naked and go to other end. They cross sitting since they cannot cross standing. The cave is 14 yards long. In between there is a grave type platform having two pimples both sides and is a yard long and a foot wide. The Chhadi bearer goes and lights the earthen lamps inside before. The cave is known as ‘Mata Yoni Sharan.’ As per Hindu belief those who cross through this cave will not have to have a second life. The ‘thumars’ brought from Thatta are tied to the trees after crossing the cave and then are worn by the men. On return everyone gives one rupee to the bearer of Chhadi at the bank of the Ghor river near Chanderkoop. The sticks brought along are thrown after crossing the cave and this is known as breaking the system of birth and death. They then return to the place where the camels were left and come to a village Satdeep and Devi’s village after travelling 7 kos. The Ghor river joins lake known as Neel Kund. In the water the young boys and girls are stated to be seeing a 1-1/2 yard long white headed hooded serpent and seeing of this serpent is considered equal to having darshan of Lord Shiva. Guru Nanak’s place (Guru ji da Kotha) is next to the place of 84 Siddhas where the pilgrims offer Kadah-parsad and offer prayer. Reaching back to the place where camels were left, the return journey starts thereafter.

Since most of the beliefs are against the teaching of Sikhism, the Sikhs do not believe in these but believe in paying obeisance at Guru ji da Kotha. [21]

The ancient path followed for millennia through the Baluch desert is however remains important as +the journey on foot is considered a penance to purify oneself before approaching the deity. The pilgrims are led by priests or caretakers of the shrine through the desert. They hold a wooden trident (weapon of Shiva) on a stick known as Chharri in their hands and are called 'Chharidaars'. The Chharri is draped with saffron, red or pink coloured fabrics. The priests give a saffron cloth to every pilgrim and an oath is taken that each would help the other. However they are warned not to share their personal stores of water. This act is deemed to be a sort of fast and penance necessary for the journey. Wells are situated on the path to the shrine guarded by the local tribesmen. Water being a scarce commodity Feuds over water are common in the area. The tribesmen are offered food consisting of Roti (baked bread) in lieu of water.

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Mata Mandir Hinglaj

The Rotis are carried by the pilgrims and priests to the mouth of the crater of the volcano called 'Chandrakup' ('Moon Well'). The Chharri is planted near the edge of the crater and offerings of incense and cannabis are made along with recitation of 'mantras'. The rotis are then tore up and cast into the crater. After this ritual every pilgrim is asked to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness. Anyone who refuses or hesitates to confess to his or her sins is ostracized and abandoned by the party. After the confession, the party proceeds for another four to five days stopping at a small village with wooden houses; the home of the caretakers of the shrine and Baluch tribesmen who revere the deity even though they are Muslims. Before entering the shrine, the pilgrims bathe in the Hingol River (also called the Aghore River) and in wet clothes visit the shrine situated on the mountain on the other bank of the river. The shrine is called 'Mahal', meaning palace. The natural beauty of the shrine has spawned folklore that it was constructed by demigods called 'Yakshas'. The walls and roof of the cave are encrusted with colourful stones and semi-precious veins. The floor is also multi hued.
Nani Mandir

The entrance to the cave is around 50 feet in height. At the end of the cave is the sanctum sanctorum, which houses the holy relic. It is covered by red clothes and vermilion. There are two entrances to the sanctum. One has to crawl into the sanctum, take the 'darshan' and leave through the other opening. Prasad is distributed to the pilgrims and they return after seeing the Milky Way at night. [25][26]

Despite the partition of 1947 and the increasing Islamic stance of the Pakistani Government and society, Hinglaj has survived and is in fact revered by local Muslims who call it ‘Nani ki Mandir’'. Muslims offer red or saffron clothes, incense, candles and a sweet preparation called 'Shirini' to the deity. The Muslims protected sites like Hinglaj which are the last vestiges of the Hindu society which once straddled the area. [27]
Guru Nanak at Hinglaj
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Footsteps of Guru Nanak at Hinglaj
Guru Nanak visited the place along with other pilgrims and reached Hinglaj. There is a gurdwara at a small distance from the temple. [25] (The map given by Huggs, A.W. in his book, The Country of Baluchistan.). The details are given in Janamsakhi Meharban. [26] (pp. 149) ‘From Mecca, seeing the country of west he reached Hinglaj. People there are pure and unaffected by worldly vices. Their living is difficult. They are very God fearing and merciful. They came to Baba (Guru Nanak), but could not understand his stand; whether he is a Yogi, Bairagi, Vaishnav, Udasi, Hindu, Turk, Khatri, Brahman, Shoodar or Vaish or any other form. Guru Nanak was sitting by the side of the Teerath. He was neither found sleeping, nor moving anywhere. He was not seen eating anything either. The Vaishnav there approached the Guru and enquired as to who he was. They questioned, “O, The God’s beloved, which is your path. Tell us so that we can serve you with better food and care. Tell us your ways of living.” Guru Nanak put a cross question, “How do you recognize me?” they answered, “ If you were a Vaishnav, you would have a necklace around your neck, a rosary in hand, a dhoti (cloth rap around lower part of body) and a vermillion mark on forehead. You would have done fasting and should have a wash in the waters at this pilgrimage centre, would have worshiped idols and would then have been known as a superior Vaishnav. If you would care for the cleanliness of the cookhouse, we would have taken to the cookhouse and given the available foods. Bus you have none of these signs and controls. You tell us the way you want to eat, we shall offer such a food.” Guru Nanak recited a Shlok in Sarang ki Var:

‘Those who have truth as their fast, contentment as their sacred shrine of pilgrimage, spiritual wisdom and meditation as their cleansing bath, kindness as their deity, and forgiveness as their chanting beads — they are the most excellent people. Those who take the Way as their loincloth, and intuitive awareness their ritualistically purified enclosure, with good deed their ceremonial forehead mark, and love their food: Nanak says; they are very rare.’ (SGGS, p.1245)

All the Vaishnavs present in Hinglaj were spoke highly in his appreciation and said, “You are a great soul O Baba Nanak. All the Vaishnavs of Hinglaj became the Sikhs of the Guru; and are called the Nanakpanthis. They felt contented and got attached to Divine Name. Footprints of Guru Nanak are preserved at the place. (149)

After Hinglaj he came to Karachi where Garib Das made a Dharmsal commemorating Guru Nanak’s visit. Another place was constructed on the bank of river where from the British Government took sweet water in 1944 Bikrami and started water pumps in the city. [28]
Karachi

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Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi at Karachi
When Guru Nanak Dev came to Karachi he first of all stayed at this place. It is located on Justice Kayani road opposite Karachi Art Council. Guru Nanak Dev went to the cave of the goddess of sea from this very place. The people took light from that cave and built Gurdwara in the city. Now Gurdwara Mandir is the name of a very big locality of Karachi. The building of the Gurdwara is strong and beautifully built. The Government of Pakistan has got it repaired recently spending lacs of rupees. [5][29]

Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi at Clifton, Karachi
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Clifton is a well known amusement area and the people normally visit this place for recreation. This sacred shrine is adjacent to the left hand side of the steps of the Clifton park. There used to be a temple of the goddess of the sea at this place before the arrival of Guru Nanak Dev. The ships used to pass after offering ablution. There was no idol in this temple, only a lamp placed there was worshipped by the Hindus. The Talpur ruler used to offer 7.5 seers of oil for this lamp every month. Guru Nanak Dev meditated in a cave just beyond the lamp. Another lamp is kept burning at the place where he had meditated and it is called "Guru Joti". The building of Gurdwara is beautiful and built with marble. A courtyard comes after getting down fourteen steps. From here six steps lead into a hall. At the end of the hall is the part of cave where Guru Nanak Dev meditated. The priests are Nanakpanthi Hindus. This shrine is known as Shri Ratneswar Mahadev Temple these days. [5][30]

Gurdwara at Karachi
According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, there is a Guru Nanak temple within the Swaminarayan Temple complex at Karachi, every Moon Night and for the birthday of Guru Nanak, Baisakhiis celebrated.[30] In the complex a small Hinducommunity lives and a gurdwara attributed to Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to Karachi has been established by the small Sikhcommunity. The Gurdwara Sahib houses three sets of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a Palki. There are pictures of the Gurus and a small shrine devoted to Guru Nanak Dev. The whole compound is protected by a security guard. [31[32]
Gurdwara Nanak Darbar at Karachi



From Karachi Guru Nanak proceeded towards Mecca.
References
[1] Giani Gian Singh, Twareekh Khalsa, Guru 1, part 1, pp.233-234. 237-238)

[2] Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, ‘The Sikhs of Sind’, The Friday Times, Edited forsikhchic.com. May 26, 2013.
[3] Gurudwara Dharamsala Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Dera Ismail Khan - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism

[4] http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/gurudwaras-in-pakistan/gurudwar-kali-devi-distt-di-khan
[5] Gyani Gian Singh describes in Twareekh Khalsa, JanamSakhi Dasan Guruan, Guru 1, Part 1, p.236

[6] Gurudwara Thara Sahib at Sakhi Sarwar Distt D.G.Khan - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[7] Gurudwara Thara Sahib at Uch Distt Bahawalpur - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[8] Ganda Singh, edited, 1969, Guru Nanak Commemorative Volume, The Punjab Past and Present Vol. III, pp. 353-356.
[9] Iqbal Qaiser, Gurdwaras in Pakistan are available in Historical Sikh Shrines in Pakistan.
[10]Gurudwara Sadhu Bela, Sukkur - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[11] Giani Gian Singh, Twareekh Khalsa, Guru 1, part 1, p. 236.
[12] Ibid, p. 237, SGGS, p.471.
[13] Gyani Gian Singh describes in Twareekh Khalsa, JanamSakhi Dasan Guruan, Guru 1, Part 1, p.237-238
[14] Iqbal Qaiser, Gurdwaras in Pakistan are available in Historical Sikh Shrines in Pakistan.
[15]Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi at Shikarpur, Distt Sukkur - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism

[16] Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi at Bulani, Distt Larkana - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism

[16] Janamsakhi Bhai Bala (36th Edition), Page 705.

[17] Guru Nanak at Shikarpur - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia.
[18] Gurudwara Nanakwara, Kandhkot, Distt Jacobabad - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[19] Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi Jind Pir, Distt Sukkur - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[20] Giani Gian Singh, Twareekh Guru Khalsa, Guru 1, Part 1, p.
[18] Gurudwara Nanaksar at Harappa - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[19]Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi, Mirpur Khas - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism

[22] Marutirtha Hinglaj (1959) - Synopsis

[23] Overseas Pakistan Foundation.

[24]" Tarun Vijay (March 20, 2006 Baluchistan Diary", Outlook India.

[25] Janamsakhi Meharban, p.149

[26]Marutirtha Hinglaj

[27] Mr. Jay Shah's road trip to Hinglaj (Video on Vimeo)

[28] 4×4 Off roaders Club of Karachi - Visit to Hinglaj & mud-volcano

[29] www.hinglajmata.com/yatra.htm

[30] Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi at Karachi - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism
[31] Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi at Clifton, Karachi - Gurudwaras in Pakistan - Gateway to Sikhism

[32]Hindus in Pakistan - BBC News
 

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