Don’t be surprised to hear that Sanatan Dharam of India breathes in Pakistan as well. If you visit Mata Hinglaj mandir of Baluchistan province of Pakistan, you will be mesmerized by the beauty and pious vibes of the temple. This temple is also known as Nani ka Mandir or Nani ka Haj. The literal meaning of Nani ka Haj is “Grandmother’s shrine”. It is situated 90 miles away from Karachi, near the peak of one of the mountains of Makran coastal range. This temple derives its name from Hingol River which is the largest river in Baluchistan and Hingol National Park of Pakistan. The temple is situated on right bank of Hingol River. The ancient mode of transport for this pilgrimage was through Baluch desert, which holds immense importance even today. Although, a short route is also present to reach there. But, Devotees hold a strong believes that if they would go on their feet, the journey of pilgrimage would purify their body and soul before reaching the deity. Generally, the devotees are led by the priests of the shrine through the desert. There is a custom of holding wooden tridents wrapped in saffron, red or pink colored clothes in their hands. This custom is synonymous of devotion of pilgrims towards Lord Shiva. One can also reach there by means of air or road transport wherein one has to come to Karachi by means of air, road or train route. Afterwards, one can go to Hinglaj Shaktipeeth by means of public transport or private car. The best route however goes through the newly constructed coastal highway which goes parallel to Arabian Sea.
History and holy books hold the truth that when Lord Shiva went unstable after the demise of her wife Goddess Sati, he started his rigorous dance, Tandava Nritya which was very fierce. It was Lord Vishnu who scattered the remains of Goddess Sati all over the Indian subcontinent. Different parts of her body fell on different regions of Indian subcontinent. The holy head of Goddess Sati fell on the bank of Hingol River which is the reason why it is considered most important among 51 Shaktipeeths of Sanatan dharma. Bheemlochan is the name of Bhairav(a manifestation of Lord Shiva) who is situated in Koteshwar, Kutch.
When Lord Rama had killed the demon Ravana, he was filled with guilt and restlessness of killing a Brahman as Ravana was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. Therefore, he came to Hinglaj Mandir for doing penance so as to get freed from the sin of Brahmhatya.
Another story relates to Treta Yuga, when there were two cruel brothers. They ruled their province but they troubled the general public. In order to get rid from their bully, they prayed and requested Shiva and Ganesha. It was only after this that Lord Ganesha killed Sunder. This made his brother Hingol “a fire of anger”. He did very tough penance and received a boon which mentioned that he can only be killed wherein the sunlight cannot penetrate. Then , Goddess Kali took him to a dark cave where there was no penetration of sunlight, which was today’s shrine of Mata Hinglaj. Before his death, Hingol requested Mata to name the place in his name and Mata agreed to it. This is the reason that it’s been called Mata Hinglaj Shrine or Temple.
This temple is believed to be nature built and not human built. It is present in the form of a nature built cave. Folk tales depict the story that this temple was built by Demigods called “Yakshas”. The walls and roof of the temple is studded with semi precious stone and beautiful embroidery. The floor is also decorated with multihued designs. The temple has two main entrances. The first entrance to the cave is 50 feet in height. The holy remains of Goddess can be found at the end of the cave. It is believed that sindoor or hingul of Goddess sati fell here and thus the hill was named as Hingul Parvat and the holy place became famous as Temple of Mata Hinglaj.
This pilgrimage has become very famous with devotees because it is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of Sanatan Dharam where head of Mata Sati fell. The priests who take care of this temple are Muslims, now this is another very significant point to be noted. They are tribal people of Baluchistan who take care of the shrine of Goddess Hinglaj with utmost dedication. They also offer candles, incense, a sweet preparation called sirini and saffron clothes. Goddess Hingula is believed to possess power to deactivate snakebite and poisoning. Hingula stands for cinnabar which is used for the cure of poisoning and snakebite and thus the name came Hinglaj Mata. The Devotees find many wells on the way to shrine which are guarded by local tribesmen of the village. They are offered rotis in the return of water. This holy place has been travelled by great personalities like, Gurunanak, Gorakhnath, Parshuram and Ram. There is a custom of taking bath in Hingol River only after which a devotee can do the worship in wet clothes.
Mud Volcano “Chandrakup”
This volcano is filled with mud instead of magma. This is a very important stop during the pilgrimage as it is considered holy and referred to as Baba Chandrakup. The literal meaning of Chandrakup Baba is “father of moon well”. It is Asia’s largest mud volcano. There is custom wherein pilgrims stay at night and make rotis( flat round bread made from wheat flour, clarified butter, jiggery and sugar. All this process goes on a piece of a cloth which is held on four corners so that it should not touch the ground. Then, at the day time, the rotis are offered to the mouth of crater along with incense and they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.