Indore: First day of 40-day-long Chalio also called Chaliho Sahib was celebrated with fervour by Sindhi community members at Jhulelal temple, Chhatribagh on Friday. In the morning, Akhand Path Sahib was started.
The festival is observed every year in months of July to August, dates vary according to Hindu calendar. This is a thanks-giving celebration in honour of Varuna Deva and Jhulelal for listening to their prayers.
About 2,000 people joined the celebrations at the temple starting from 6:30 pm to 11 pm. Understanding their responsibility towards environment, community members began the celebration by planting saplings in the temple premises.
While some people fast only on the first and last day of Chalio, others fast for the first nine days or for 21 days.
Sindhi women danced in front of the idol of Jhulelal in their temples to the tune of their folk music and bhajan, the devotional songs. Sindhis make a symbolic representation of their God Jhulelal in each and every household of theirs, which is known as Bahrana Sahib.
‘Baharana Sahib’ consists of Jyot (a flame), sugar candy, phota (cardamom), fruits, clove and akho. Holding it together in an earthen pot with a coconut in it, covered with cloth, flowers, leaves and Idol of God Jhulelal, Baharana Sahib is worshipped.
A sweet dish named akho, made from rice and sugar was offered during morning prayers. For forty days, the community members will worship it and offer ‘prasad’ and sing aarti to Bahrana Sahib.
On the 41st day, Baharana Sahib will be taken to a nearby river or lake and immersed among singing and dancing of devotional songs, marking the end of Chalio festival.
“Jhulelal is an incarnation of Varuna Dev, who was born on the 40th day. We celebrate his birth. We have been saved by the lord when the flood took our entire civilization of Mohenjo Daro,” Saint Sai Vasudev Lal Thakur, head priest of Jhulelal temple, said.
“We had a special jyoti (flame), which has been protecting the Sindhi culture and its people, was carried from the Puj Chaliasaheb Mandir Peergoath in Sindh, Pakistan to Chaliha Sahib Puj Mandir in Ulhasnagar during the partition. Further, we brought the flame to Jhulelal temple in Indore,” Naresh Fudwani from the organising committee said.
“We organised free food for everyone, which is an important part of Bharana Sahib. We celebrate the festival to show our gratefulness to lord Jhulelal, who saved us from Mirkshah, a Muslim ruler of Sindh had ordered all Hindus to forcibly convert to Islam or face persecution,” Vijay Makhija, Sewa coordinator, said.