For Sindhi Hindus, Jhulelal is a name that refers to the Ishta Dev (most-revered deity) of Sindhi Hindus, who regard him to be an incarnation of the Hindu deity Varuna.The chant Jhule Lal Jhule Lal is considered the “clarion call” of Sindhi Hindus.
Jhulelal is traditionally believed to have performed several miracles, typically centred around the Indus River – which Hindus consider to be his abode.Sindhi Hindus worship Jhulelal at the Shrine at Odero Lal in Pakistan’s Sindhprovince, which is jointly used by Hindus, and Sindhi Muslims who revere the shrine as the tomb of Sheikh Tahir. A second shrine named Jhulelal Tirthdhamexists in India at Narayan Sarovar, Kutch, Gujarat.
Jhulelal is the Ishta Dev (preferred God) of Sindhi Hindu people. Jhulelal continues to be the unifying force and the centre of all cultural activities of the Sindhi community. When Sindhi men venture out to sea, their women pray to Jhulelal for their safe return. They offer the Lord a prasad of akha, a sweet made from rice, ghee, sugar and flour. Sindhis all over the world greet each other with the words, “Jaiko kendo Jhulelal thenja thinde Beda-Paar”.
Although the exact time and year of Jhulelal’s incarnation is not known, his birth year is estimated sometime in the middle of the 10th Century. It is widely believed among the Hindus that the Water God incarnated as Jhulelal.
According to tradition, a tyrannical ruler named Mirkh Shah from nearby Thatta ordered that local Hindus convert to Islam within 24 hours. Local Hindus, fearful of this edict, prayed at the banks of the Indus River, where they then saw a vision of the Hindu deity Varuna who informed the worshippers that he would re-incarnate himself as an infant to be born in Nasirpur in order to deliver them from their hardships.
Jhulelal was born on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. Upon hearing of the infants birth, Mirkhshah commanded his minister Ahirio to kill the infant with a poisoned rose petal. When Ahirio saw the infant, Jhulelal smiled and the poisoned rose petal blew out of Ahirio’s possession. When Ahirio caught sight of Jhulelal for a second time, he was startled to see that the infant had grown into an elderly man. The elderly man was then said to have turned into a young man, and then a warrior on horseback before Ahirio’s eyes.
Ahirio returned to recount the story to Mirkhshah, who then lambasted Ahirio, and told him to leave and call out for Jhulelal by the banks of the Indus. Upon calling for Jhulelal, the warrior on horseback appeared out of the river to appear to Ahirio with an accompanying army. Terrified, Ahirio begged Jhulelal to restrain his army. Jhulelal’s army then disappeared back into the River Indus, while Ahirio went back to the palace to recount the story to Mirkhshah. Mirkhshah remained skeptical, but invited Jhulelal to his court. Jhulelal is then said to have vanished, leaving Mirkhshah enraged. Jhulelal’s followers then rushed to the house in Nasarpur where Jhulelal was born, and found Jhulelal there as an infant. The infant consoled the distraught Hindus and commanded them to assemble at a temple near the Indus River. Upon assembling, a firestorm broke out and engulfed Mirkhshah’s palaces. The king escaped to the banks of the river, where he found Jhulelal, now again a warrior, and his Hindu followers protected from the firestorm. The kings fell at Jhulelal’s feet, and Jhulelal dismissed the storm with the movement of his hand.
Jhulelal is also believed by Sindhi Hindus to have performed miracles, such as entering the Indus river at Nasirpur, and coming up at Bukkur, at the northernmost extent of Sindh.