What is Chaliyo ?

Chaliyo Sahib is a forty day long festival celebrated by Sindhi Hindus. This festival is celebrated as a gratitude to Sai Uderolal popularly known as Jhulelal Sai or Lal Sai or Dulha Lal or Zinda Pir, considered a reincarnation of Hindu God Varun Dev.

This forty day long festival is a thanksgiving celebrations in honor of God Varun Dev for listening their prayers and saving the entire Sindhi community.

Who is God  Jhulelal ?  Why do we celebrate Chaliyo festival ?

It was the time around the tenth 10 century CE the province of Thatta in Sindh came under the rule of the Maktab Khan he acquired the Kingdom by killing shah Sadakat Khan and crowned himself as Mrikh Shah . As soon as he was crowned , his Maulvis (Courtiers) advised him to spread Islam in order to acquire Janat (heaven) upon their advice, he called the Mukhi (Hindu-Leader)  to embrace Islam or prepare to die.

The Mukhi (Hindu-Leader) was terrified and begged for sometime to consider the Shahi farman (Royal edict) while trying to find a solution to the problem, with the Hindu Sindhi people. It was discussed about the promise of "Lord Krishna in Bhagvad Gita" Whenever the Sin's increases beyond the limit and the religion, seems to be endangered I will come in the form of Avtar (Incarnate) and mitigate the distress of my worshippers. 

To Save themselves from wicked Mrikh Shah the Sindhi Hindus turned to God Varun Dev the God of the River's. Thousands of Sindhis gathered on the bank of River Sindhu and prayed Jal Devta Dariya Shah (Water God) for safe guarding them from the cruel and undesirable action's of Mrikh Shah.

 During the prayer time people wear the same clothes, without Shaving, without any footwear, also took the bath without oil and soap and took fasting, simple food was served one time, people slept at the bank's of Sindhu River praying and singing lullaby for God also know as (Lal ja Panjras) in Sindhi.

At the end of the 40th day, they heard a divine voice (Akashwani) from heaven. The heavenly voice told them  that 8 months from now I shall take birth in the house of Ratanchand Lohana and from the womb of Mata Devki in Nasarpur and will rescue you all. On Cheti- Chand day Mata Devki gave birth to a baby boy, the child was name "Udaychand" means (Rising moon). Immediately upon the birth of the child the parents saw in his mouth Sindhu River flowing and an old man riding on a Palla Fish upstream in a northerly direction.

He was also called "Uderolal" it is said that when  "Uderolal" was a child his cradle (swing) rocked itself to lull him to sleep earning him the name JHULELAL-the lord of Swing.

Jhulelal-Lord of Swing

The news of the miraculous JHULELAL soon reached Mrikh Shah, who decided to arrest him, water started flowing in the court, all those present found themselves inundated in water. Simultaneously fire also broke out and the palace became a towering inferno no way to escape, however he was unsuccessful in his attempt. Soon Mrikh Shah realised his mistake and pleaded to JHULELAL Sai, please save my courtiers and me, and agreed to treat Hindu's and Muslim's equally. Hence all the Sindhi Hindus were saved from the wicked Mrikh Shah.

Henceforth,  Sindhis  worship Sai JHULELAL as their " Ishita Deva"

Since then this tradition is been followed annually till today in the form of Chaliyo Sahib as one of the most important and religious festival of Sindhi community.

Chaliyo fasting rituals !

Those who observed this fast had to follow the following obligations.

* Observe Brahmacharya.

* One cannot sleep in a bed only on the floor.

* Wearing only two sets of clothes for all forty days and washing it with only simple water.

* Wear simple clothes and not to wear leather belts, or leather shoes, chappals or sandals be barefooted wherever you go.

* Not to shave or cut hair and nails, not to use soap and oil and bath with plain water.

* Not to eat fried eatables, non-vegetarian food, no use of onion and garlic in the food.

* Not consuming anything white in color like milk, banana, curds and rice.

* Having meal only once in a day and living a purely simple life.

When do we celebrate Chaliyo festival ?

The 40 day long festival is observed every year in the month of July to August dates vary according to Hindu calander. This is a thanks-giving celebration in honor of God Varun Dev and Jhulelal Sai for listening to their prayers.

This is most important festival, to keep this tradition alive all Hindu Sindhis even today celebrate the festival of Chaliyo Sahib by keeping forty days of penance.

While some people fast only on the first and the last day of Chaliyo Sahib, others fast for the last nine days or for all the forty days.

For all the forty days the celebration takes place in the Jhulelal Sai temples, where all the Sindhi men and women sing and dance in front of the idol of Jhulelal Sai people also on their folk music and sing devotional songs and bhajans.

Sindhis make a symbolic representation of their God Jhulelal Sai in each and every household, which is known as Bahrana Sahib.

Bahrana Sahib

Bahrana Sahib  is  a  nicely  decorated bronze thaal in which Jyot (oil lamp) idol of Lord JHULELAL is placed and a Kunri (an earthen vessel) full of water covered with red cloth is kept.Wheat flour is kneaded and given a shape of cone, and is decorated with vermillion, Cardamom, Almonds, Cashews and Cloves.On top of it large piece of refined Sugar (Misri jo Sangh) is placed, this Cone is surrounded  with  fresh  flower's, fruits "Aakho"(fine quality of rice and sugar) and Coconut  is  kept  as  the  offering  to  the LORD JHULELAL.

Every day Aakho and prasad made from fine quality of rice and sugar  is offered to Jhulelal Sai during the morning and evening prayers on the River bank.

For all the forty days Sindhis worship and offer Prasad and sing Aarti to Bahrana Sahib.

Bahrana Sahib

Another major tradition observed on the 41st day is the procession of Bahrana Sahib is taken through the city for the worshipper and people to see the glimpse and the divinity of Jhulelal Sai.

During  the  procession  of  Bahrana Sahib traditional Sindhi folk dance "CHHEJ" is performed by the Sindhi people of all age group.Then Bharana Sahib is taken to near by River,upon reaching the River Bank the contents of this Thaal are immersed in the Water,which is considered as our humble offering to Lord JHULELAL. 


After the offering of "Aakho"(fine quality of rice and sugar) Prasad of black Chana and sweet rice Sesa (Tayhiri) is distributed to all the people, hence marking the end of the forty days festival of Jhulelal Sai until next year.

As we all Celebrate the auspicious festival of Chaliyo Sahib starting 16 th of July to 24th August.

I wish you all Happy "Chaliyo Sahib" "Chaliyo Sahib jyu lakh lakh Whadhayun"

Jeko Chavanundo JHULELAL tehinja theenda Beda Paar"

By Viinod Baherani


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