Saturday, June 5, 2010

Slice of Sindh - Middle East - World - The Times of India

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    • No Sindhi Hindu anywhere in the world claims to have received any such divine diktat to build a shrine dedicated to Jhulelal, the community’s presiding deity. But thanks to the efforts of a group of identity-conscious Sindhis, a ‘holy city’ on the lines of Mecca, Vatican City, Jerusalem and Amritsar is set to rise in the barren environs of Kutch in Gujarat.
    • The barren Kutch landscape will thus within a few years metamorphose into the huge Jhulelal Temple complex which will house, besides the temple, a meditation centre , an auditorium, a museum, dharmshalas and an arts and handicrafts centre. Here, Sindhis from across the globe can perform a variety of rituals, including baptism, birthday celebrations and pind daan (prayers for the dead). The dhoti-kurta-clad, Gandhi topi-sporting Joshi has reason to believe that Kutch could house the ultimate pilgrimage place for Sindhis in India. “Till the earthquake of 1819, the waters of the Sindhu would swell during the monsoon and lap this shore. Even today, I smell the fragrance of Sindh here,” says the 81-year-old who, despite his advanced age and a mercilessly May sun, took a stroll down the identified and marked land with us.

      The Kutch site has the potential to grow into a major place of pilgrimage also because it is sandwiched between two ancient Hindu religious places, the Shiva temple of Koteshwar and Narayan Sarovar, one of the sacred water bodies dedicated to Lord Vishnu, which also finds mention in the Bhagwat Puran. “Even non-Sindhi Hindus who visit Koteshwar and Narayan Sarovar will drop in for a darshan of Jhulelal , as our temple will be just 1.5 km away from both the sacred sites,” explains Lachchman Bhatia, the project promoters’ pointsperson in Ahmedabad.

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