Chaliha is a major Sindhi festival that is observed for 40 days. It begins either in the month of July or August with respect to the two different calendars that are followed by the devotees.
After witnessing the Chaliha festivity in Delhi in July, we arrived at the city of Ulhasnagar, which houses the largest Sindhi population in the country, to witness the Matki Mela which marks the end of Chaliha festival over here. The event took place at Puj Chaliha Sahib Mandir. What followed was an incredible and never-seen-before experience of faith and gaiety.
As per the tradition, on this day, devotees immerse symbolic earthen pots (matki) in the tank built inside the temple premises after offering puja and prayers to Lord Jhulelal. Initially the ritual was carried out in rivers.
On reaching there we witnessed a sea of devotees inside the temple holding their earthen pots. First they were led to the prayer hall and then to the tank area for matki immersion. The huge team of volunteers did a good job in managing such a huge crowd.
On this day a special prasad (holy food) called the Dona Prasad is served to the devotees after they are done with matki visarjan in leaf bowls. This soulful meal consists of puri, pulao, chole, mirchi bhaji, achar and a sweet-all stacked up in a leaf bowl. All these food items that too in such a huge volume are prepared in the mega kitchen that is set up inside the mandir premises itself.
Witness the mega scale culinary actions at different sections of this mega kitchen at Puj Chaliha Sahib Mandir was deeply surreal. Come along to experience this incredible celebration of faith and gaiety and culinary grandeur.
Heartfelt thanks to Deepak Keshwani from Radio Sindhi and Alka Keshwani from Sindhi Rasoi Official for their immense support in covering the occasion and their valuable insights.