By Sanjay Godbole
Baluchistan is a State in Pakistan, having a fairly vast expanse. Hingola is an ancient river, which traverses across the terrains of Baluchistan. A mountain named ‘Khirdhar’ is situated at the banks of river Hingol. At the extreme end portion of this mountain, which is popularly known as Kanraj, there is an ancient cave known as ‘Hingalaj’. This place is situated in Tehsil Lyari of Baluchistan and is, since ancient times, reckoned as the largest and the most famous place of Worship of the Goddess Hingla in the Indian Sub-continent. The “Hingalaj” cave is located at a distance of 250 kilometers from “Karachi” on Karachi-Quetta highway. On the eastern side, is situated a town called Lyari. Next to Lyari, not very far, is located a military base of Baluchistan. One has to cross two rivers named Aghor and Gungi, to arrive at Ashapura Sarai hermitage’ charitable rest house for a camping halt where the Hingalaj cave is situated in the near vicinity.
At this location, there are some old temples of worshiping such as Lord Ganesha, remains like Goddess mother Kali, Guru Gorakhnath, Brahmkunda, Ram Zarokha, Anil Kund and holy place of Gruha of Goddess Devi.
During the Treta-Yuga epoch or era (according to Hindu mythology there are 4 yugas (Eras) Satyayug Dwaparyug, Treta-Yuga and Kalki-Yug .When Parshuram incarnated, Dadhichi the Famous ascetic sage had penned a predictive story. King Vichatar, a descendent of a Tartar Mangol Dynasty, ruled this province. He had two sons, named “Hingol” and “Sunder” Sunder brutally oppressed the populace. The harassed public, propitiated Lord Shiva, and the Lord Ganesha (Son of Shiva). Lord Ganesha killed Sunder.
Later on, Sunder’s brother, Hingol, who had received boons, which ensured that he (Hingol) would not meet death by any weapon whatsoever, in any of the three lokas (worlds)’ as per Hindu mythological concept three worlds exist worlds Swarg, Mrityu. Pataal Hingol, all the same, would not remain immune to death. Hingol soon became insolent and opressed his subjects. He also added new territories to his Kingdom. He, thereafter, suo moto, assumed the title as Hingol Dev (God Hingol). Ultimately, the people as a resultant reaction, worshipped “Goddess Shakti”.
The Goddess killed Hingol in a cave at a place known as “Satdeep” in, what is known as ‘Baluchistan’today. Hingol, just before meeting his death, requested and prayed to Goddess Shakti, that he be identified and be synonymous with his name. The place, thenceforth, was known as “Hingol Tirth”.
When Alexander the great, invaded “Sistan” now called “Baluchistan” presently, in the year 325 B.C., the Greek forces were camping at the banks of river “Hingol”. Sikandar waged a war with the King of “Balikot”. Some devotees of Goddess Hingla were there, to worship the Goddess Hingla and they were all safe.
Emperor “Vikramaditya” at the time of Vanquishing India, visited this place as a devotee. King, Todarmal, contemporary of Emperor “Akbar” had also visited this place as a devotee. So also did many Rajput nobles, and personalities such as Biharimal, Madhusingh, & Raja Jagtatsingh visit the place.
Dada Mek-han, the famous saint of Gujrat, came all the way from Gujarat, to visit and have glimpses of this holy place. Those devo-tees, visiting this place Hingalag are addressed as ‘Kapdis’. The pilgrims, after completion of their pilgrimage, sport a string, made out of “Thumra”, a variety of stone, mined from “Thatta” in Sindh.
Prior to the partition of British India, in 1947, many devotees, especially from “Gujarat” and “Rajasthan” regularly visited “Baluchistan” to propitiate Goddess “Hingla”. Travelling was not that easy and comfortable at that time. The travellers had to undertake the tedious journey by braving the barriers such as rough and sloppery roads, jungles, mountains and crossing of challenging rivers. This tedious journey, at times had to be completed on the back of camels or in a Palanquin and would last for about a month or so.
Shri Varsimal Devani, a Trust of Swami Narayan Temple , a religious cult popular as Vaishnava, residing on Mohamad Ali Jinnah Road in Karachi, is also a trusth of Hingla Mata Temple of Baluchasitan. He also arranges tours to Hingla Teerth. He very graciously made available to me some fine photographs of Hinglamata Mandir.
According to Shri Devani, the Goddess Hingla Devi being famous all around, devotees from Africa and even Europe frequent this pilgrimage spot in multitudes.
As per the legend, in Uttar Ramayana, Lord Rama visited Hingla Teerth in a sortie in his aircraft “Pushpak” and bathed in the water basin (Jal Kunda) here. One spot in this area is identified with Lord Rama’s sacred visit.
Shri. Devani further added, that the temple of Hingla Mata is inside a cave and it admeasures 25 feet by 12 feet. There is no idol of the deity, but only the Astan (Seat) and the trident.
A priest is duly appointed for carrying out daily rituals and general maintenance and house keeping.
Each year a minimum of Twenty five thousand strong contigent of devotees visit there for pilgrimage. They offer flowers and coconuts to the Goddess Hingla. Some offer a cloth piece suitable for Blouse, making such an offer is considered to be auspicious. Some offer “Saubhagya Lenis” and even silver canopies Umbrellas i.e. according to Hindu belief, a married lady is considered to be fortunate, if she passes away prior to her husband. Since dry fruits are available in abundance in Baluchistan, these are offered to the deity and are distributed to the visitors as blessings of the deity.
Devani said that the members of “Zigri”, a Baluch tribe reside in this area. They also worship the deity and take a vow. When their vows are fulfilled these “Zigri Baloch come to the spot and offer Mithi roti (Sweetened Bread). All the members of their family gather on such an occasion. They address Hinglamata as “Nanima” . (Nani means mother’s mother ). All the security personnel of this temple are Baloch. This was specifically mentioned by Shri. Varsimal Devani.
As per the legend described in “Shiva-Purana” Sati’s main mortal remains fell over this part of the land. Sati was the daughter of “King Daksha” and wife of Lord Shiva who preferred to go “Sati”. (Sati according to orthodox Hindu beliefs, a married woman after the death of her husband should immolate herself on the pyre of her husband , this it is claimed is necessary for her salvage in future births) . Hence this place assumed importance in the specified holy places of the Goddess.
But exactly like the “Sharada” temple in Kashmir, this place Hingla Teerth is now in Pakistan. Hence we (Indians) are deprived of an easy access do this place.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, a linguist and expert on the history of South-West Asia)