Chaliya Sahib is a religious and cultural festival that is celebrated by the Sindhi community. It is primarily observed by Sindhi Hindus and is considered to be an important event in their calendar.
Why do Sindhis Celebrate Chaliyo?
Sindhis celebrate Chaliyo, as a tribute to their patron saint, Jhulelal. During the festival, devotees offer prayers, sing devotional songs, and perform various rituals in honor of Saint Jhulelal. They also light diyas and decorate their homes and temples with colorful lights, flowers, and rangolis. The festival is celebrated over a period of forty days, which is why it is also known as ‘Chaliya Sahib.’
Chaliya is celebrated with great enthusiasm in cities that have a large Sindhi population such as Ulhasnagar, Ajmer, and Ahmedabad. People come together to celebrate the festival and cherish their cultural and religious traditions.
Chaliha Sahib Date 2023
The Chaliya Sahib festival commences on 13th July 2023 and concludes on 22th August 2023, lasting for 40 days. During this period, devotees participate in various rituals and customs to honor the saint and seek his blessings.
History and Significance of Chaliya Sahib
Chaliya Sahib has an interesting history that dates back to the invasion of Sindh by Mirkshah Badshah, a Muslim ruler who was an autocrat and religious fanatic. He harassed the people of Thatta and demanded that they convert to Islam. To protect themselves, the Hindus prayed to Varun Devta, the God of Water, for forty days. In response to their prayers, Varun Devta sent Jhulelal to save them from the tyranny of Mirkshah Badshah. The Sindhi community observes Chaliya Sahib with great reverence and devotion towards God. The forty-day fast begins with the tying of a sacred thread by a priest, and the morning prayers include offering a sweet dish called Akho, made with rice and sugar.
Sindhi Chaliya Fast Rules
The Sindhi community observes a strict set of rules during their forty-day fast. These include:
- Avoiding the use of leather articles, such as belts, during this period.
- Consuming simple food without oil and avoiding fried foods.
- Sleeping on the floor instead of using a bed.
- Refraining from consuming white food products, such as milk, rice, or curd.
- Refraining from non-vegetarian food.
- One should try to do good deeds and acts of charity during the fast.
- Maintain celibacy and observe brahmacharya during the fasting period.
- Avoiding cutting their hair or shaving their beard during this time.
- Avoiding the use of oil or soap.
The observance of these rules is considered an essential part of the Chaliya festival, as it is believed to help purify the mind, body, and soul of the devotees.
On the 40th day of the Chaliya festival, observers participate in a Puja ceremony by offering a Matka (an earthen pot) to Dariya Sai, which represents a river. Additionally, an Akho made of raw rice, sugar, and flowers is also offered to Dariya Sai. Since rivers are not available nowadays, this ritual is performed at Jhulelal Sai Temples worldwide. One of the largest temples for the Chaliya festival is Chaliya Sahib in Ulhasnagar, where over 500,000 people used to perform the Puja and offer Matki or Akha every year before the COVID-19 pandemic. At Ulhasnagar Chaliya Sahib, a Prasad Dona consisting of rice, chole, puri, sweet dish, and more is distributed to the public. This tradition, which has been going on for many decades, involves distributing over 300,000 Prasad Donas every year (currently not happening since 2020).