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Yahya Musakhel Report

SOCIO - ECOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF
HINGLAJ MATA FESTIVAL ON HINGOL NATIONAL
PARK AND ITS RESOURCES

April 9 - 13, 2006

Mohammad Yahya Musakhel

Protected Areas Management Project, Hingol National Park, Uthal

A JOINT INITATIVE OF WORLDBANK, GEF AND FOREST AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
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SUMMARY

Hingol National Park is the largest of National Park of Pakistan. It is on the Makran coast
in Balochistan and is approximately 190 km from Karachi. The area was declared
reserved in 1988. The park area covers parts of the three districts: Lasbela, Gwadar and
Awaran of Balochistan province. It contains a variety of topographical features and
vegetation, varying from arid sub tropical forest in the north to arid montane in the west.
Large tracts of the NP are covered with drift sand and can be classified as coastal semi
desert. The National Park includes the estuary of the Hingol river which supports a
significant diversity of bird and fish species.

Hinglaj Mata is one of the holy and religious places for the Hindu community in the world
located in the heart of Hingol national Park. People of various regions and countries
came to perform their religious worship for centuries. The purpose behind the campaign
launching was to aware the people about the Park, its Biodiversity and globally important
species, and count the No. of people come for pilgrimage. Asses the impacts of
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Yatrees on social, socio-economical and biological environment. Beside the park
campaign, local embroidery was also introduced by displaying various handmade items.
The purpose behind the display, to strengthening and empower local women and to
support income generating activities.

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1. Pilgrims
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Hinglaj Mata Darshan

Hinglaj Mata is one of the holy and religious
places for the Hindu community in the world
located in the heart of Hingol national Park.
People of various regions and countries came to
perform their religious worship for centuriesHindu
people came from whole parts of the country as
well as aboard the country.

Each year thousands of people come in this
festival as well in other occasion. the people were
interviewed for coming here, 32% of interviewed
people came for the first time, 24% have second
time, 12% have 3rd time, 4% people have 5th time,
20% people came 5-9 times and 7% came
between 10 to 15 times. Mostly people came from
Sindh, other parts of Balochistan and some came
from Punjab. Given in graph 2. People stay 4
days and nights, 30% stay 3 days, 19% stay for 5 Days, 10% stay for 6 Days, 4%
stay for one day and only 1% people stay in Hinglaj for two days. 73% came only
for Religious purpose and 27% people came for both recreation and religious
purpose. The interviewed people were asked for traveling time and days. 42%
people reached here between 4- 10 hours, 32% reached between 11 – 16 hours
and 26% reached here between 17 to 35 hours to Hinglaj Mata.

99% of interviewed came in group and only one percent came alone. The group
size ranges from 5- 50 persons. 55% people group was 26-50 persons, 19% of
the group consists on 2-5 persons, 16% was of 6- 15 persons and 10% was 16-
25 persons.

66% of the interviewed people shared the view that they came here through
specially hired vehicle, 19% reached here with their own cars and 15% people
came in public Transport. Car parking was a big issue. No proper and specified
system for parking. The owner of the car/ bus park the vehicle, where they found
suitable place. Due to the scare place, the big busses were face problems of
turning. Some accidents were happened because of un-availability of parking
area. In this festival, 83 big buses/ coaches, 34 coasters, 23 mini bus, 24 Jeeps,
69 cars, 12 Land cruisers and 4x4 pickups,4 police vehicle, 4 Ambulances, 4
police van, 13 Shahzore, 3 Trucks, 4 water tanks, 2 Tractors, 30 motor cycles
and 16 cycles were counted.
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Table 1 Pilgrims No. and year.
S.No. Year Total No. of Yatrees Foreign Visitors
1 2000 15,000 14
2 2001 10,000 -
3. 2002 10,000 8
4. 2003 20,000 25
5. 2004 Not held
6 2005 Not held
7 2006 10,000 9

.Graph 2. Percentage of Yatrees came to Hinglaj.

Balochistan
8%
Punjab
3%

Sindh
89%

Purpose of visit and logics behind the visit

Hinglaj Mata Yatra Feed Back

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This Teerath is famous and old in human history. The Devotees from all parts of
the world come for Hinglaj Mata Teerath since centuries. Before partition, Rajput
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kings used to come for Yatra of Hinglaj Mata from Rajistan and Gujrat. There
was no road that time, but they came here after long journey. Raven Hindos
Rama Avatar, Great saint Guru Gorakh Nath, great Guru Nanak Sahib, Dada
Mekhan Avatar of Laxman and other great saints, Rishis and Hindus Scholar
paid visit to Hinglaj Teerath. Shah Abdul Latif Bhattai a great soofi poet praised
Mata in his Sindhi poem. Devotees of Mata visited from Africa and Europe.
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There is no doubt, Hinglaj Teerath is very old and remained famous all the
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history. When Sikandar Azam of Yoonan fought with King Balram at Bali Kot
Fort and stayed at Hingol River. Mean time Yatrees / Devotees of Mata
performing Hinglaj Yatra and were not disturbed by force of Alixender and remain
safe. King Samrat Vikramjeet also visited Hinglaj for Yatra after conquering all of
the India. Raja Todarmal of Mughul regime also visited this Teerath.

Other Rajput Rajas (Kings) like Bihari Mal, Raja Bhaj Singh, Raja Madho
Singh,Raja Jagjeet Sing of Jaipur, Ram Devaj Pir of Rajistan with his army chief
Agva Laloo Jakhraj also came to Yatra.

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In 1962 Dave Si Chohan, a Hindu Pandit while studying Maha Bharati (Hindus
religious Book) found information about this Holly place. In this book, the
description of this place was written in 563 A.D but no one understand the hints
given in the book. He with 17 people wear white un-sewed cloth (mean do
search not to come before the discovery of this place) move on the hints given in
the book. When the reach Hinglaj, observe the big Dam ( piece ) of Hinglaj Mata.
He then propagate the information of Mander and the festival system started in
late eighties. It is worth mentioning that Hinlaj Mata has for more Dams (Pieces)
in India while the big piece is in Pakistan (Hinglaj). According to them, their whole
life worship is incomplete till they no visit Hinglaj.

Purpose of Awareness Raising Campaign

• Awareness raising about Hingol National Park and it biodiversity.
• Impact of event on Hingol National Park and on inhabitants
• Introduction of indigenous embroidery to support income generation
activities in the Park area.
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• Hinglaj Mata Darshan purpose of visit, history and pray steps followed by
pilgrims

Awareness about Hingol National Park

Hingol National Park Management has
made very special efforts during Hinglaj
Mata Festival 2006. To aware pilgrims
about Hingol National Park, a campaign
was launched. A stall has been installed
and briefing about Hingol National Park, its
biodiversity, and Biodiversity conservation
plan, different activities, and information
about the area was carried out by Social
team. Posters, banners pictures and
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brushers about Hingol National Park were displayed. In this stall, cultural
indigenous various items were also displayed. Overall 73 people male and
female were interviewed, only 23% hear about the Hingol National Park while
77% were not aware about the National Park. Only 2% were known about Hingol
National Park through News Paper and 97% came to know through Sign boards,
stall, banner and posters due to present efforts. The interviewed people consist
over 73% male and 27% female. 68% people were between 21- 40 years, 22%
were 40+ of age and 10% people were less than 20 years. The Pilgrims were
communicated about importance of Hingol National Park, they show their interest
to visit the park areas after festival in public holidays. The interviewed people
were asked for their plan to come here next time, 96 percent were ready to come
next year too, while 4% have told to not come next year because of some
problems.

The interviewed people were asked whether he is the Boss here what would try
to change or to improve. The views of each person were different. Few problems
were top prioritized; water was on top priority followed by residence facility,
construction of roads, conservation of Biodiversity of Park and some desire for
communication system, electricity, bath rooms and car parking. Detail given in
graph.1

Graph 1 Priorities of problems in the festival.

other Facilities
14%
Water
Conservation 34%
12%

Road
18% Residence
22%
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Impact of event on Hingol National Park and Park people
Obviously, the event plays an important role in the economic development,
culture and amusement but it has some negative impacts as well on social and
ecological and biological environment.

Positive Impacts:

1. Socio Economic

Festival as very significant for the local people and also for people of other areas
of the country. The locals who are not able to run business on road and markets,
can easily run their small business by installing huts, miscellaneous stalls, tea
hotels etc. The event plays a vital role in boosting up local economy. During the
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festival 139 temporary shops, hut, stalls and Tharhas were installed; 99 stalls
were along the Black top road and 40 were established in the down stream. The
shops of the main roads consists mainly on sweet, cold drinks, tea and fruit while
the shops in down stream; 90% were consist over religious Items (Gifts, CDs,
Posters, Statues and books etc.). 18% stalls were established by Locals (Park
area people), 25% were come from other parts of Balochistan and 57% came
from Sindh and Punjab Provinces. The estimated total investment was calculated
as 3.41 million rupees. The share of Hingol people (Hingol, Kund Malir, Sangal)
was 13% of total amount, the contribution of other parts of Balochistan was 23%
and 64% invested by the people of rest of the country. 82% of stalls were
installed by people for earning purpose and 18% stalls were installed for religion
preaching (Hindoisam).

2. Food Stuff:

The festival provides low cost food items. They buy things in major quantity and
make a stock because they have not to pay extra transportation charges. They
mostly buy pulses, potato, sugar, tea, flour and onion. They buy things mostly at
the ending day of festival because the price come down and the sellers of far off
areas ready to give things on low price and wants to release some weight of
goods.

3. Recreational facility

The people of the area leisure themselves with the pilgrims came from various
parts and abroad the country. Whole of the day and night, local people
wondering among the pilgrims. Where the drum beats, local people reach there
and they enjoy seeing dance. The establishment of temporary markets and tea
stall are the other things for their interest
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4. Free Medical Facility

Festival is a ray of hope of local people for their free Medical check up. Medical
Doctors from Uthal and Lasbella consult by Governments. Beside, Yatrees they
also treat local people too,.

5. Free foods and cold drinks

During the whole festival, food served by festival management people. Tea,
bread, curry and Halwa available every time free of cost at Bhandara. While cold
drinks and mineral water available at subsidized (50% off) rate. The local not only
ate food themselves but also took it to their homes.

Negative Impacts

a. Socially
1. Begging concept

During the festival it was observed that the local people, unfortunately, set on
various tracks and paths in harsh climate, burning sun and unpleasant smell,
spread hands for begging. Their eyes focused on the pocket of pilgrims. People
involved in this bad profession, male of different age ranges from 5 to 60 years
and female were from 3- 12 years. Some young boys of 14- 18 years were also
observed begging.

2. Opportunistic and receiving mentality

The festival an adverse role in locals mind, 24 hours every time when the food
ready they took plates in Bhandara eat every time whether, they have hunger or
not. They forgive the culture and ethics at that time and broken the lines. The
expect each person to give them some thing.

3. Un wanted activities

During the festival, some unwanted activities like Drink wine, and other smoking
habits adopted by locals. Lasbella district is one of the peace full district of
Pakistan and where people think thief as very bad social evil. When they drunk
wine, forgive their good habits; steel and disturb females, and 17 people were
arrested by police and 11 were ran away without arresting. Other drug activities
like, drug selling, smuggled wine transportation in pilgrim’s vehicles etc. carried
out through this festival
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b. On Environment

1. Pollution:

During the festival, park area became a host of
pollutants. Noise pollution (Fast drum beating, big
loud speakers and huge crowd), Air pollution (
burn metro, plastics, fuel wood and unpleasant
smell), water pollution (throw plastic bags in
ponds, bathing in small ponds, excess use of
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soap and shampoos, Sindur , food items i.e. rice
throw in ponds for fish in the pond and hairs cut
by Yatrees. Plastic bags, news paper pages used
as plate/ dish by people and then thrown every
where. No proper disposal and care of environment found any where.

2. Disturb wildlife:

Binding, tiding red ribbons on trees and fixing
big flags in each mountain and near each water
points, disturb the wildlife of the area. When the
wind blows, the flags and ribbon vacillating and
wildlife not go near trees for feeding. Their fear
remain for long time and then they start grazing
but the impact they understand all the moving
and trembling things are ribbon and flags but
not human, and their hunting after festival is
very easy. The throwing plastic bags every
where cause the casualties in wildlife.

3. Disturb Pond Ecosystem:

During the whole festival, pond ecosystem
was observed fully disturb and damaged.
Dead fishes and Amphibians observed in
each pond and pond bank. All the ponds
were filled with hairs, plastic bags and oil.

4. Vegetation

Each Yatree collect leaves and cut branches of tree and bushed for their
relatives and for their own home. The trees and bushes look like, had never
leaves grow on their bushes in life.
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5. Effects on forests

During the festival, 85 pig pots for curry and 20 for rice were cooked 3 times, 12
big pots for Halwaand 8 big pots for tea two times in a day ready for serving
foods to the Yatrees. A big pot consumes fuel wood; at least 14 Kg. 50 bags
(Each of 100 kg) of flour cooked daily and a bag consume fuel wood at least 20
Kg. And the same way 25 stall and hotel run in the festival. An estimated
consumption of fuel wood is about 38700 kg in the festival. A tree in the park
have average weight is 120 Kg. The festival destroy and play a diverse impact on
forests. The festival destroy about 322 trees and put an extra pressure of grazing
on other trees. The fuel wood is collected by locals of the area and buy one Bar
(30) Kg.@ 70 rupees.

C. Introduction of indigenous embroidery to support income
generation activities in the park area.

The different hand made local embroidery which was prepared by local women of
different WVCCs of the park area was displayed. The purpose of displaying was
to introduce the indigenous embroidery and seek marking opportunities. The
primary objective of this was to support income generating activities in park
women. The visitors show great concern in type of activity. They took interest in
Balochi embroidery, Shalwar, Qamees and Scarf. Some purse and Mobil cover
were bought by people. Through this display, we found market for indigenous
embroidery by offering 2 sellers at Karachi.

Procedures / Steps of Pray:
Yatries belonging to Sindh and Punjab started assembling at Swami Narain
Temple, Karachi and the Yatries of Balochistan get together in Lyari Temple.

Step -1. Kali Dev Mata Temple Lyari

All the pilgrims get together at Kali Dev Mata Temple Lyari. After Puja Path
(Worship) performing, Bhandara (Free food from Temple side) is served. Red
caps Bgagwa/ Raksha (a symbol of Protection) given by Devi Mata Temple head
to each Yatri. The people from
all area come here in head of Pandat who hold a Charhi and follow him.
According to the views of people; attendance at Lyari Temple request for
permission to Nani Mander.

Step -2 Chander Goopt:
When the Pilgrims reach Chander Goopt, go to the top
of the muddy heap. their views and religious belief that
Shev Jee (Their big Guru) is in Chander Gupt Pond.
Each person has a copper coin; Coconut and a leaf of
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a tree throw into the oozing muddy water spring. After throwing these all stand on
the bank of volcano and burn a metro say few words for forgiveness and pick
some mud put on their cloth. Visit of this place (Volcano) on Monday is strictly
prohibited in their religion because if a person visit and go on Monday there;
would be faced problem whole of the year, they think.

Step -3 Stop on Hingol River:

The Yatree who came in for the first time to
Hinglaj Mata, have to stop here and do
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“Shanan” (Take a bath) and the new
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comer male “Jundh/ Tokla ”(Remove his
hair with razor and new comer lady cut her
few hairs. The male and female both cut a
branch of a tree (Miswake) and clean their
tooth and then a boy go to search a new
comer girl or women and request for made
his sister and some occasion female search
for male for brother making process. After
founding sister or brother the female and male collect their cutted/ removed hairs
along with the pieces of wood (Miswak), burry in to the river bank and they
became brother and sister for life.

The widows remove all their hairs when they reach here. After doing this, they
understand that she is again like a girl and when her hair grow up and get
married. The people who had visited before this, not bound to stop here, but
depend on their wish to stay there. But almost people stop here because in each
group new comers present.

Step -4 Lalu Jasrad
After taking a both they reach Lau Jasrad, all the people stop here and tide a red
ribbon if they have some request and after binding they feel relax and move
towards Ganeesh Jee Mander.
Step -5 Ganish Dave
Ganish is the son of Shave Jee and Shave Jee loved him very much in his whole
life Ganish fully respect his father. His father said the yatree who came here, he
ought to visit first Ganesh. So the Yatrees first worship Ganesh in Nani Mander.
The new comers have to took five Lados ( a round yellow sweet) and five metro
in burning condition keep before Ganish Jee Statue and go backward and joined
his both hands when he leaves his
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13. Golden stick
14. Take a bath
15. Male Remove hair with razor and female cut some hair with scissor
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statue area. The people who visited before his fresh visit, not bound to bring
Sweets and metro, but if a person wants to do, can did. If he visit second or so
many times, has to give some money to the Pandat sitting in his premises.

Step -6 Hanoman (Asha Pura)

The second worship by the Yatrees got here. All the Yatrees bring Brasica oil,
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Kali Mash (Kind of a Pulse), Sendur ( a red colour ) and metro. They mix
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sendur , Kali Mash and oil and put on Morti and in the mean time burn metro.
The purpose of doing this; the wife of Ram Chand, Seta Mata kept sendur on her
fore head, pleased Ram Chand seeing this. When Hanoman ( the pupil of Ram
Chand) asked Seta Mata why she kept Sendur on her forehead. She said, her
husband love sendur very much. Hanoman jee put sendur on his whole body and
said I will please him very much. Because of his love to Ram Chand Jee, people
put these things on his statue.

Step -7 Asha Pura Mata
All the new comers male and female bring
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chunri and put on her statue. Beside this,
coconut, metro, and bring female beauty things by
people who have request for some things. Her be
lovers also bring golden rings and neck less for
keep her happy.

Step -8 Melrhi Mata
The people came to Nani Mander, would have to visit Melrhi Mata, because of
their belief, safe from all sudden accidents. Yatree come here along with
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coconut, Scarf and Lapsee ( Halwa) put there and then worship. After they
worship, go backward and attend the Kalka Mander.

Step -9 Kali Mata (Kalika)
The pilgrims, who came to this place, will bring a
scarf mostly of red color, coconut and a statue made
up of Gurh (Raw Sugar) now. In the past each of
pilgrim bring goat and slaughtered here. In the early
nineties a Guru saw dream to not bring goats here
but make a statues of goat should be made of raw
sugar. The Yatrees put the above mentioned things
in a tray and keep before of Kali Mata statue.
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Step -10 Hinglaj Mata ( Nani Mander/ Sheron wali Mata)
The Yatrees (Male and Female) came here bring coconut and scarf there, and do
worship by singing Bajan. The new comers not allow going before performing
special worship

and procedures. The brothers made in Slep stay outside the Temple and at night
at 4’O clock the (brother and sister) both wear Aluminum ring, Aluminum bangle,
stone necklace and un sewed white cloths. They both hold their hands and drop
themselves in the water in front of Nani Mander. Now they allow to go inside the
Mander and do Charan Vidi (enter left door and go out from right door beneath
Nani Statue) and came out from the premises of the statue. Maharaj (Pandit)
give honey in mouth with his own finger. After this, they once more drop them
selves in the pond and go to Chorasee and round the chorasee visit four times
and once more they hold hands and go in to the water. Then they wear orange
color cloth and put their hands on the foot of people standing there and take their
Asherbad, the processed people became Hinglaji and complete Hindu.

Step -11 Til Kund

Beyond Nani Mander, Til Kund is the other place of worship. The new comers
once more tested and treated, Mash (Pulses) given to the new one peoples with
some water in their hands, in specific time they have to wash in hands, if they
able to change the color of Pulses, it indicate that he came with keen belief and
his Pap (Bad habits) has been finished. If not white, advised to leave bad habits.
It is the place where he had to leave bed habits like smoke, Pan, Drink wine etc
by leave the piece of Sagrets, drop of wine etc. here. Once he / she left, would
not be touch in whole life.

Step -12 Mumai Mata

It I located opposite of Kali mata and commonly called Dasha Mata (10th Mother)
or Ont Wali Mata. 175 grams moong taken by each Yatree and keep there and
started worship. Then the next day go for Anil Kumd.

Step -13 Anil Kund

According to them, Seta Mata, Laxman and Ram
Chaner Bagwan came here. After long and difficult
journey and un-availability of water in toughed and
barren mountains, seta Mata felt thrust. Ram Jee
hit his arrow in the hill and water came out in Anil
Kund. The arrow straight gone into the rocks and
back out in Makli (Thatha Sindh). There also water
had come out. The people took it for their homes
and keep it for diseases.
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Step -14 Makli

All the pilgrims after performing their duties, go for further worship to Makli in
Thatha Sindh. Here the Guru/ Pandat wash his golden stick (Charhi), Pilgrim end
and the Yatrees disperse.

Recommendations
1. Proper use of Natural Resources
2. Environmental Awareness
3. Proper marketing of local goods in the festival
4. Bane on cutting of local trees for fuel wood.
5. Proper disposal of debris
6. Fund raising Activities (Parking fee, Stall fee and entry fee)
7. Bathrooms in Anil Kund and water points construction for commercial
purposes
8. Distribution of Park materials (Posters, bursars etc.)
9. After festival cleanliness should be made necessary.

The people who Contributed

1. Ms. Khadija Perveen
Female Social Mobilizer, PAMP, Office, Uthal.
2. Ms. Perveen Naz
Female Social Mobilizer, PAMP, Office, Uthal.
3. Abdul Rehman
Deputy Ranger, Wildlife Hingol National Park, Uthal
4. Abdul Aziz,
Deputy Ranger, Hingol.
5. Amanullah
Deputy Ranger, Buzzi Pass area
6. Badal Khan
Game watcher, Hingol.
7. Umar Khan
Game Watcher, Hingol.
8. Anwar
Game Watcher, Hingol.

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