Shrine at Odero Lal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Odero Lal Shrine
اوڈیرو لال درگاہ
Shrine at Odero Lal
The shrine at Odero Lal
Shrine at Odero Lal is located in Sindh
Shrine at Odero Lal
Shown within Sindh
Shrine at Odero Lal is located in Pakistan
Shrine at Odero Lal
Shrine at Odero Lal (Pakistan)
Basic information
Location Odero Lal Village
Geographic coordinates 25°42′05″N 68°33′41″E / 25.7013347°N 68.5614382°E / 25.7013347; 68.5614382Coordinates: 25°42′05″N 68°33′41″E / 25.7013347°N 68.5614382°E / 25.7013347; 68.5614382
Affiliation Islam and Hinduism
District Sanghar
Province Sindh
Country Pakistan Pakistan
Architectural description
Architectural type Sufi mausoleum and Hindu Temple
Architectural style Indo-Islamic, Sindhi Hindu
Completed 1684 C.E.

The Shrine at Odero Lal (Urdu: اوڈیرو لال درگاہ‎), also spelt Udero Lal, is a joint Muslim-Hindu shrine located in the village of Odero Lal, near the city of Tando Adam Khan in the Pakistani province of Sindh. The shrine is notable as it is jointly used for worship by members of both faiths,[1] while both communities also display reverence for the nearby Indus River at the shrine.[2]


Sindhi Muslims believe the saint interred at the shrine is Sheikh Tahir - who they believe was a Hindu convert to Islam born as Odero Lal. Hindus also revere the interred saint as Odero Lal, but offer a different explanation for his origins. Hindus also refer to the saint in the shrine as Jhulelal, a name which Sindhi Muslims also use to refer to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, whose shrine is in Sehwan Sharif.[3] It forms the sacred seat of the Daryapanthis, originally a sub-sect of the followers of Gorakhnath, who belong to the Nath tradition.[4][5] Both communities also refer to the saint by the alternate and religiously-neutral term Zinda Pir, or "The Living Saint."[2]

The complex is home to both a Muslim shrine and Hindu temple. The joint arrangement was devised as a compromise to stem any conflict that might arise regarding by which religious tradition the corpse should be disposed of.[4]


The shrine caretakers hail from both the Muslim and Hindu communities. In the evening, Muslims offer namaz prayers at the shrine while Hindus perform aarti and puja prayers.[6] At the temple, a lamp is kept burning perpetually. On the new moon days, lamps are lighted and the shrine deity, an avatar of Varuna,[7] is worshipped at the nearby river, or other water bodies, with rice, sugar-candy, spices and fruits.[4]


For Muslims[edit]

According to Muslim tradition, Sheikh Tahir was born as a Hindu by the name of Odero Lal (alternatively spelled Udero Lal), but converted to Islam as a teenager.[8] Odero Lal in his youth was said to have been fiercely opposed to the Hindu caste system, and as a result, attracted the attention of a Sufi saint from Multan, whose association then lead Odero Lal to convert to Islam and adopt the name Sheikh Tahir.[8]

For Hindus[edit]

Hindus commonly refer to Odero Lal as Jhulelal. According to Hindu 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.[7]

Shrine at Odero Lal
The underside of the shrine's dome is decorated with mirror-work known as ayina kari.

The baby Jhulelal was then born on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. Upon hearing of the infants birth, Mirkh Shah commanded a Hindu minister named 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.[9]

Ahirio returned to recount the story to Mirkh Shah, who then lambasted Ahirio, and told him to leave and call out for Jhulelal in villages and by the banks of the Indus River. 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, while Ahirio went back to the palace to recount the story to Mirkh Shah. Mirkh Shah remained skeptical, but invited Jhulelal to his court with intent to forcefully convert Jhulelal. Jhulelal is then said to have vanished, leaving Mirkh Shah enraged. Mirkh Shah then ordered that all Hindus immediately convert to Islam. The Hindus then rushed to the house in Nasirpur 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 Mirkh Shah'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 king fell at Jhulelal's feet, and Jhulelal dismissed the storm with the movement of his hand.[10]

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.[11]


  1. ^ Albinia, Alic (2010). Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393338607. 
  2. ^ a b Rumi, Raza (13 October 2014). "The Hindus of Pakistan". The Friday Times. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Briggs, George Weston (1998). Gorakhnāth and the Kānphaṭa Yogīs. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 64. ISBN 9788120805644. 
  4. ^ a b c Briggs, George Weston (1998). Gorakhnāth and the Kānphaṭa Yogīs. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 9788120805644. 
  5. ^ Jatt, Zahida Rehman (2017-03-07). "How this lesser known festival is celebrated annually by Hindus in Sindh". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2018-09-16. 
  6. ^ JATT, ZAHIDA REHMAN (25 February 2017). "Jhulay Lal's cradle of tolerance". Dawn. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "The Supernatural in Nature of the Sindhi Tradition". Sanskriti Magazine. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Paracha, Nadeem (20 December 2015). "Jhulay Lal's full circle". Dawn. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  11. ^ Lari, Suhail Zaheer (1994). A history of Sindh. Oxford. ISBN 0195775015. Retrieved 19 December 2017.