Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan

Mata Hinglaj Reception: This is what greets one upon arriving at Mata Hinglaj. The main temples are from 15 minutes to 45 minutes walk from here..

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Hinglaj Mata Temple, હિંગલાજ માતા મંદીર, हिंगलाज माता मंदीर –  in Balochistan, Pakistan

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by Gopinath Kumar

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 The temple of the goddess [Hinglaj] is a Hindu shrine located within the huge Hingol National Park of Balochistan which lies along the Makran coast in the Lyari district of Balochistan province. Legend has it that when goddess Sati, the consort of god Shiva burnt herself in response to her father’s anger at her for not inviting Shiva to a ceremony, Shiva became furious and started to create disasters, problems, violence, and sufferings in the world. In order to calm his anger, god Vishnu took the body of Sati and began to cut it into 51 pieces where they all fell at different parts of the earth. Hindus believe that the head of Sati fell in the area of Hinglaj Mata in Balochistan, Pakistan.

Approaching the temple: The walk to the temple is through a rocky and mostly dry river bed.

Thus, this area is very significant in the Hindu faith and a revered pilgrimage site.

Hinglaj was the prime pilgrimage site for the Hindus of India until the partition of 1947 when Indians lost access to this cultural heritage, as it was now bounded by Pakistan. Higlaj wasn’t just the only Indian site for worship, there were many other such locations in Pakistan that were worship spots for the Hindus, but the rage of politics destroyed many such cultural heritage to turn these worship spots into abandoned dilapidated ramshackle premises. Such spots were Lakhi, the Phuleli site for Jhule-lal, and the Prahlad-Aditya temple in Multan.

Mata Hinglaj Reception: This is what greets one upon arriving at Mata Hinglaj. The main temples are from 15 minutes to 45 minutes walk from here.

One may still wonder, if that was the case then how come Hinglaj has still continued to be a famous pilgrimage. The reason lies in humanity displayed by the people of Balochistan. The handful of Hindu residents who still live in Pakistan wouldn’t have resisted the wave of demolition by extremists had it not been the Muslim residents of Balochistan who stood firm to protect this ancient holy asset of historical glory. It would be sheer discrimination if we call Hinglaj solely as a Hindu pilgrimage site. The fact is that Muslims equally revere this place and come to pray over here, they call it “Nani-Ka-Haj” which means “Pilgrimage to Grandmother’s Shrine”.

NANI-KA-HAJ OR GRANDMOTHER’S SHRINE

 

Mata Hinglaj Reception: This is what greets one upon arriving at Mata Hinglaj. The main temples are from 15 minutes to 45 minutes walk from here.

Each year a grand cultural-fair is organized at the temple. Muslim residents actively take part in this celebration. They pray here with the same devotion as they do in the mosque. As for the offerings they carry mostly a red cloth, attar (perfume) and agarbattis (Incense Sticks).While in shrine, it’s sometime impossible to predict whether it’s a Hindu temple or a Muslim mosque. That’s the situation here in India too where the people from all the religions jointly celebrate all Indian festivals with a great pomp.

Pilgrims come from all over Pakistan, carrying red banners and wearing decorative red-and-gold head-scarves or saffron headbands that signify the holy colours of Hinglaj Mata.

Hinglaj is the first of 56 shakti peeths and its mentioned in Durga saptshati and Markand Puarn. Its about 170 miles (250 KM) from Karachi. The last shakti peeth is Kamakhya in Assam and there are shakti peeths in Bangladesh as well.

The Founder of Sikh dharma, Baba Guru Nanak Dev too, visited Hinglaj in one of 4 udasis.

To reach Hinglaj Mata – one has to go by road on the main Karachi-Quetta Highway upto Zero Point for about 75 miles and then by road towards west through Lyari town and then to Signal Fauji Camp Stop, crossing Aghore River, then through Goongi River and last stop to “Asha Pura” Sarai or Asha Pura Inn.

There are worship places of Ganesh Deva, Mata Kali, Guru Gorakh Nath Dooni, Braham Kudh, Tir Kundh, Guru Nanak Kharao, Ram jharokha, Bethak, Aneel Kundh on Chorasi Mountain, Chandra Goop, Khari river, Aghore and the principal pilgrimage site the Asthan of Mata Hinglaj.

OFFERING AND PRAYERS AT HINGLAJ MATA

Pilgrims from all over Pakistan, carrying red banners; wearing decorative red-and-gold head-scarves or saffron headbands that signify the holy colours of Hinglaj Mata, throng the holy place in March / April of every year. The climax of the four-day pilgrimage comes on the third day when high priests chant mantras, inviting gods to accept the offerings of the devotees and bring them peace and plenty.

Visit to Hinglaj Asthan, once an arduous journey of more than 150km (93 miles) through the desert from the nearest road, the shrine is now easily accessible through the newly built coastal highway.

Hingol River: A view of the Hingol river from the track to Nani Mandar.

HINDUS OF PAKISTAN

Before partition, more than 20% of the population of today’s Pakistan was Hindu, but most of them migrated to India at the time of partition in 1947. Today, there are roughly three million Hindus in Pakistan, or about 1.6% of the total. Mostly the Hindu community in Pakistan is concentrated around the Thar, a south-eastern district of Sindh province of Pakistan.

Thar houses more than 2.3 million Hindus, the largest Hindu population in a single district outside India. There are some traders and government employees among them, but the majority are farm workers and labourers.
With their heavily embroidered clothes and wrists packed with bangles, Thari Hindus clearly dominate the Hinglaj pilgrimage in terms of numbers.

Balochistan province is also home to a large number of Hindus, and the local Muslim population has traditionally venerated and protected Hindu sites, such as the temple of Hinglaj Mata.

A highlight of the Hinglaj pilgrimage this year was a group of Balochistani Hindu priests collecting donations for a Hindu temple being built in Quetta, the provincial capital.

Crossing the Hingol river en route to Hinglaj.

COLLECTIVE EFFORT

The pilgrimage including paying a homage to Hinglaj Mata is celebrated every year with full fervour and devotion. The ceremony lasts for four days. During these celebrations, the mountain desert around Hinglaj turns into an oasis of hospitality. Hundreds of volunteers help with a range of activities such as regulating the parking of hundreds of buses, jeeps, cars and trolleys, arranging water for the pilgrims, operating electricity generators and running the kitchen where tons of wheat flour, rice, lentils and vegetables are cooked three times a day to feed the pilgrims. All adults pay 650 rupees per head to finance this activity.

While a huge majority of the pilgrims are lower class labourers from rural Pakistan, some middle-class families from Karachi also make the annual pilgrimage. Karachi is home to about 70,000 Hindus and is the first stop of the pilgrims on their way to Hinglaj. Some come only for a day. Others stay on for all the four days, sleeping under the open sky and queuing up outside some 50 makeshift bathrooms each morning.

HINGLAJ  IS A CHILDREN’S’ PARADISE

Even children have great fun here – especially the Thari children who remain confined to agricultural farms where many of them work as bonded labour the whole year round. Given their precarious social position, many of them would never be able to return to Hinglaj for a long time, but they can cherish the memory.

For any Kutchhi Hindu, a visit to Hinglaj Temple is the ultimate pilgrimage. In ancient times, a person who returned safely after completing the trip [because then the temple was located in a dense forest ] was not cremated, but buried and worshipped as a deity.

Given the holiness of the place in Hinduism, one would expect that every Kutchhi at least, true to his faith, would take this pilgrimage, especially now that with technology and infrastructure, the temple is accessible. But, hardly does any Kutchhi travel there as the temple is located in Baluchistan, 280 km from Karachi in Pakistan. With misconceptions, fear and suspicion rife about the neighbouring country, very few like to take the challenge.

Among those few is a group of four led by Kishore Chauhan, an adventure tourist, who is also the president of youth hostel in Kutchh and a sadhu from Vandhai village. This group ventured to Hinglaj via Munabao in Rajasthan on May 7.
To their surprise, their trepidation had been baseless as they were welcomed with warmth by Pakistani locals as well as authorities. Overwhelmed, Chauhan has now taken it upon himself to help the Kutchhis take the trip to Pakistan for the holy pilgrimage.

“I would like to encourage as many pilgrims to visit Hinglaj Mataji temple as I can. I am ready to provide all necessary guidance to anybody who wants to take the challenge,” says Chauhan.

Related Posts:

1. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple
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41 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am writing this comment from Delhi-India. We would like to visit Hinglaj temple. I would like to know what kind of permission is required to visit

    Please send me your comments on

    contact.ssati@gmail.com

    • @Pandit Satish, Thanks for your visit to this site. Let me have latest updates from the concerned offices. Will accordingly revert in due course.

      • You need to seek visa from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, whereby you will have to be specific for stay in Karachi and Lyari, Distric Lasbela, Balochistan. Once you have this, then you may contact Mr. Versey Mal Dewani in Karachi. He is the main contact person of a private body which helps in arranging visits (yatras) to the shrine of Mata Hinglaj Devi’s Mindir in Hingol, Blochistan. Mr. Dewani’s Phone # is: 0092 21 3 2624485

    • To reach Aghor, the starting point to visit the shrine of Hinglaj Mata, buses are available at Inter-City Bus Terminal, Yusuf Goth, Baldia Town, Karachi (9221- 5413837-8, 0322-2319855, 0313-2266992). The fare is about Rs.400 one way and you can go by van as well with the same fare. It leaves from Kalari, Shah Abdul Latif Bhati Road, Juma Mosque, Karachi, Pakistan.

  2. […] 1. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! […]

  3. […] 1. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! […]

  4. […] 1. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! […]

  5. […] 1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan […]

  6. […] 1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan […]

  7. […] 1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan […]

  8. […] 1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan […]

  9. Hi Gopinath this is siddhartha here,

    i would like to talkto you if that is possible regarding this visit to MATA HINGLAJ. please

    Contact No: +919748750848
    Email Id : siddhartha17_88@hotmail.com

  10. I AM FROM INDIA (DHANBAD). I WANT TO ASK: WHEN THIS 4 DAY DARSHAN (MELA) STARTS. IS ANY TOUR AGENCY WHO TAKES CARE ABOUT VISA AND TOUR TO HINGLAJ MATA.

  11. thank you Dr. Nayyar Hashmey for help and guidance, i am looking forward to visit the hinglaj temple, if there is any update or any help please tell us

  12. […] Yatra [in two parts]  2. Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [in five parts]  3.Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 4. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple  5. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a […]

  13. Bhupesh Khatri from Gujarat
    I am writing this comment from Gujarat-India We would like to visit Hinglaj temple. I would like to know what kind of permission is required to visit

    Please send me your Guide for Visa and Travel to Hinglaj Temple Pakistan

    contact khatri_b@yahoo.com

  14. Bhupesh Khatri from Gujarat
    I am writing this comment from Gujarat-India We would like to visit Hinglaj temple. I would like to know what kind of permission is required to visit

    Please send me your Guide for Visa and Travel to Hinglaj Temple Pakistan

    CONTACT:nipulnakrani@hotmail.com

  15. NIPUL NAKRANI from Gujarat
    I am writing this comment from Gujarat-India We would like to visit Hinglaj temple. I would like to know what kind of permission is required to visit

    Please send me your Guide for Visa and Travel to Hinglaj Temple Pakistan

    CONTACT:nipulnakrani@hotmail.com

    Reply

  16. […]  Yatra [in 2 parts]  3. Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [in 5 parts] 4.  Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 5. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 6. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a […]

  17. […] to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two […]

  18. jai mata di to all. i am from bhopal, india (the city of lake). i would like to thank the organiser of this site which enabled me see my goddess mother hinglaj mata ji. nice picture collection n information. thx.

    • @dr. keshar singh solanki, I appreciate your visit and comment. Thank You.

  19. Hi, i am from andrapradesh,india and i would like to thank you for providing good information about Hinglaj mata ji yatra and i am so excited to here about the mataji in Balochistan and i want a clear info on trip to Hinglaj mata ji yatra….kindly provide the information to my email:swasthik.foryou@gmail.com

  20. Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!

  21. i want to visit maa hinglaj temple and i want to know about what kind of facilities provided by pakistan government to visitors

    • @Anil Soneji, Thanx Anil for visiting our WordPress free blog site.

      Since we were continuously getting complaints from our readers on the sluggish speed of the free site while reading contents there, therefore, we moved over to our independent domain/site. The URL is:-

      http://wondersofpakistan.com/

      As regards your query, you need to seek visa from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, whereby you will have to be specific for stay in Karachi and Lyari District of Lasbela, Balochistan. Once you have this, then you may contact Mr. Versey Mal Dewani in Karachi. He is the main contact person of a private body which helps in arranging visits (yatras) to the shrine of Mata Hinglaj Devis Mandir in Hingol, Blochistan. Mr. Dewanis Phone # is: 0092 21 3 2624485

      To reach Aghor, the starting point to visit the shrine of Hinglaj Mata, buses are available at Inter-City Bus Terminal, Yusuf Goth, Baldia Town, Karachi (9221- 5413837-8, 0322-2319855, 0313-2266992). The fare is about Rs.400 or more one way and you can go by van as well with the same fare. It leaves from Kalari, Shah Abdul Latif Bhati Road, Juma Mosque, Karachi, Pakistan.

      *The pilgrimage takes place in the month of April, so its about 4 months now. You can prepare yourself in advance for the yatra in the new year.*

      *We have mentioned the names of facilitators in Pakistan who furnish complete information about Hinglaj Yatra. You may get all the necessary details from our our post titled I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two parts].*

      *In addition, there is a five part series by writer J. Shah again on the Hinglaj pilgrimage. The series is titled, Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan.*

      *I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [1 of 2] I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [2 of 2] Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [1 of 5] Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [2 of 5] Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [3 of 5] Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [4 of 5] Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [5 of 5] Traveling through Pakistan The Katas Raj Temple KATAS A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! *

      *Note: Sine ours is a private site having nothing to do with any official tour/travel agency or with any government or private organization, therefore, this info is being provided without any liability at our end. *

      *Nayyar*

      *http://wondersofpakistan.com/*

  22. […] 1. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! […]

  23. […] to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two […]

  24. […] to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two […]

  25. i like allso all tempuls i wana see it onc’e..

  26. i like allso all tempuls i wana see it onc’e…..

  27. I want to travel please guide i’m from bihar gopalganj

  28. prem se bolo jay mataji

  29. I want to travel please guide i’m from GUJARAT kutch

    • *Thanx for your visit to this site.ALSO PLZ NOTE THAT WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR INDEPENDENT DOMAIN AT http:wondersofpakistan.com/ *

      *and link to this post is as follows:-*

      *http://wondersofpakistan.com/2011/06/03/hinglaj-the-hindu-holy-shrine-in-hingol-balochistan/ *

      *Plz see all the info provided in relevant comment boxes at the end of the article.*

      On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 8:18 AM, Wonders of Pakistan wrote:

      >


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