All about Hinglaj Yatra, the Largest Hindu festival in Pakistan

May 04, 2024 16:06
All about Hinglaj Yatra, the Largest Hindu festival in Pakistan

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All about Hinglaj Yatra, the Largest Hindu festival in Pakistan:- Hindu devotees arrive at the ancient Hinglaj Mata cave temple to participate in the annual festival in Hinglaj, Lasbela district, Balochistan province, southwestern Pakistan. More than 100,000 Hindus are expected to climb mud volcanoes and steep cliffs in southwestern Pakistan as part of a three-day pilgrimage to one of the faith's holiest sites. The rise of a sheer mud volcano marks the beginning of religious rituals by Hindu pilgrims in southwestern Pakistan. They climbed hundreds of steps and scaled rocks to reach the top, threw coconuts and rose petals into a shallow crater, and visited Hingraj Mata, an ancient cave temple that was the center of three days of worship. Ask God's permission to do so.

The dramatic setting of Balochistan's Hingol National Park is the setting for Pakistan's largest Hindu festival, the Hingraj Yatra, which begins on Friday and ends on Sunday. Organizers say more than 100,000 Hindus are expected to participate. Muslim-majority Pakistan is home to 4.4 million Hindus, who make up just 2.14% of the population. Hingrajmata is one of the few Hindu holy sites that continues to attract large numbers of pilgrims from all over the country every year. Muslims and Hindus generally live peacefully in Pakistan, from which most Hindus immigrated to India when it was partitioned by British colonialists in 1947. But relations between the rivals remain strained, leading to attacks on Hindu temples in recent years.

Hindus believe that Hinraj Mata is one of the places where Sati, the goddess of marital bliss and longevity, fell to the earth after her life ended. Maharaj Gopal, the temple's senior cleric, explains why people flock there. "This is Hinduism's holiest pilgrimage," Gopal said. ``He will visit the temple for three days, and whoever worships accordingly will have all his sins forgiven.'' Journeys begin hundreds of kilometers away, mostly in the neighboring province of Sindh. Hundreds of packed buses depart from cities such as Hyderabad and Karachi and travel along the Makran Coastal Road, which encircles southern and southwest Pakistan. But with little parking or vehicle access to the holy site, many pilgrims disembark and walk across dry, rocky terrain to complete their journey, sometimes barefoot and carrying children and luggage. It is a few kilometers (miles) from thehighway to the mud volcano, and almost 45 kilometers (25 miles) from there to Hingraj Mata.

In a desert-like environment, the wind swirls and kicks up dust that hits your eyes, nose, and mouth. The festive mood and colorful costumes of the pilgrims contrast with the dry landscape. Strong gusts of wind distort people's celebratory cries of 'Jai Mata Di' and 'Jai Shiv Shankar'. Kanwar Kumar, 28, visited the temple for the first time with her husband. "We've been married for six years, but we haven't had a child yet, so I'm hoping for the goddess's help," she said. "We believe that no one goes home empty-handed. All wishes will be fulfilled by Hingraj Mata."

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Hinglaj Yatra  Pakistan  Hindu festivals