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A Lost World
By Zu l fi qa r Sy ed Tw eet 0
4 DECEMBER 2002 N O COMMEN T

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Search by Key word If Nagar is the culture capital of Tharparkar, Karunjhar is the em bodim ent of its wisdom and beauty . Paraser, a m ahatm a, whose hy m ns are part of the Vedas, m editated som e thousands of y ears ago, near the Teerath spring, up in the cav es in the Karunjhar hills. This is the asthan of Shiv a, a Hindu god. He was the father of Machganda, a fem ale character in Indian m y thology , who was born from the wom b of a fish, say s Ali Nawaz Khoso, a liv ing legend of Thar who is well-v ersed in Sindhi, Gujrati, Marwari, Kutchi and Hindi folk-wisdom and m y sticism . He is one of a dy ing breed that identifies with a Sindhi-Kutchi-Gujrati cultural union. Khoso, standing at the foot of the hills, turns toward an arm y of m ounds in the desert, and say s, These bhits preserv e the secrets of wars, stories of lov ers and treasures of heritage. Nagar, he say s, is a canv as painted in two different colours Jainism and Hinduism . Lower Sindh and Kutch, once part and parcel of a Sindhi kingdom , were the hubs of Jainism and Hinduism , while upper Sindh was the centre of Buddhism . When the riv er Saraswati was flowing in the heart of Thar, and the Rann of Kutch was a gulf of the Arabian Sea, Nagar was a city of business and trade, with three seaports. The m erchants were Jain, while the rest of the population was Hindu. Sev eral m andirs and ashram s spread around Karunjhar afford a m agnificent glim pse into the m agnificent architecture of a glorious civ ilisation. Within them are the rem nants of treasures dating back across the centuries. Gori ashram , som e 4 0 kilom eters in the northeast of the hills, is a param ount holy place in the Jain faith. The Ashram was built between the second and third century AD. The m iniatures painted inside the tom b depict the social structure and traditions of that tim e. The paintings are the work of fairies and they com e ev ery nightsay s Maho, the caretaker of the ashram . The work of art is truly m agnificent.
A hmed S adir Denise Rizw an Wajiha

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Kharrio Mandir, som e 51 kilom eters south of the hill, is considered to be one of the oldest m andirs in Nagarparkar. It is believ ed to be about 5000 y ears old. Sardhro, another tem ple at the start of the Gordharo stream , is a place of pilgrim age. At the tem ple of the water-pool here, Hindus perform rituals for the deceased. Near the pool was a fort, which was destroy ed in 1 859 by the British gov ernm ent. At the distance of a kilom etre towards the south is an ancient stone statue of a cow, out of which water flows into the tank. Virav ah, a v illage som e 2 4 kilom etres away from Karunjhar in the northeast, is im portant on account of a series of Jain ruins, and contains the rem nants of the old town of Parinagar in its v icinity . It is said that the city was founded in the fifth or sixth century BC and was destroy ed in the twelfth century AD. This flourishing town has been reduced to a m ound of bricks, and one sm all Jain tem ple rem ains. Mr. Giles, once Deputy Collector of the district, found the m agnificently carv ed block of m arble, which is now in the Karachi m useum . Blog Row

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Bhalv a, in the northeast of Nagar, is the nativ e v illage of the legendary Marv i, a heroine in the poetry of Shah Latif Bhitai. Marv i, a respected daughter of Sindh, is still a sy m bol of patriotism . Trav elling across the Thar, Mahm ood Ghaznav i constructed the m osque of Bodesar after the conquest of Som nath, which now stands in ruins. The m osque resem bles a m andir in its architecture. The gy psy tribe, Rebari, is to be found in Nagarparkar. They rear cam els for their liv elihood. A Rebari wom an wears black robes all of her life. The Rebari is a tribe that rem ained loy al to Dodo Soom ro, a brav e king of Sindh who fought against inv aders and got m arty rdom , narrates Ali Nawaz. The Rebaris are fam ous for distributing cam el-m ilk free of cost. Rebari wom en, say s Khoso, wore the black dress as a sy m bol of grief on the m arty rdom of Dodo Soom ro. And they still wear it. Nawaz, an elderly m an, recounts the story of war between Colonel Ty rwhitt and Karan Singh, in which Rooplo Kohli fought unto the last. He points out the tree where the British Arm y hanged him . He claim s that the battle between Ram and Parsram , characters of Ram ay an, a holy scripture of Hinduism , was fought in Karunjhar. Blogs from Pakist an and Around t he World He knows about oceans of m y sticism and stream s of m y thology and rides ev ery tide of the desert. He explains karm a, discusses current world dev elopm ents and tells about the ghost of a wom an that m arches around the v illage, lantern in hand. He narrates v arious folk stories of the subcontinent. Nawaz has so m uch m ore to tell, if only he can find som eone to hear his story . Urdu Blogs powered by Tea Break
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