Shri Varun Dev Mandir of Manora Island

Posted on May 21, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Architecture, Culture & Heritage, History, Religion, Society, Travel
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Owais Mughal

In the past we have shared with you some photos of Manora Island under the title views of Manora. Today we will go on an exclusive tour of Shri Varun Dev mandir located at the Manora beach.

(Photo to the right is the view of the mandir facing Arabian Sea.)

The mandir is unfortunately in a bad condition of disrepair and salty-rusty sea breeze is eating away into the structure fast. When I visited the mandir on Jan 7, 2007, it appeared deserted. There were unfortunate signs of human vandalism also where it looked like people took away with them any item salvagable. The structure still appeared grand and from left over tile work and decorations it showed its glorious past.

Date of Construction:

Mr Hari Motwani, who is General Secretary of Pakistan Hindu Council – 2009 provides a brief history and year of construction of this mandir in his comments below in following words:

(The Mandir was) built in 1917 (record available) and renovated in 1937-40 (tiles fixed). Lokram Dodeja, journalist from Shikarpur, have given reference in his book -1938 that he used to visit Monora Mandir every Sunday, (where) he got Saag & Dhodho as parsad, (and) the well inside the temple had sweet water.

(2) Here is a memorial tablet in Sindhi on one of the mandir gates.

Our avid reader Khair Soomro saheb helped me in translating this tablet. It reads:

“dedication from sons in the sacred memory of Seth Harchand Mal Dayal Das of Bhriya”

or in other words: “An offering from sons in the loving memory of their father Seth Harchand Mal Dayal Das of Bhriya”. (Bhriya is a town near Khairpur Sindh.)

(3) View of the mandir from West side

Note the details of the elaborate stone work done on the roof of this mandir. The tile work near the base is in obvious state of disrepair. I took this photo of January 7, 2007.

(4) This tablet tells us about the sponsors of colorful tile work in two languages.

Top script is Sindhi.

(5) The tile work of mandir floor

(6) Looking at the mandir from east

(7) The outer gate of the mandir

I asked my good friend Sridhar to translate the devnagri script for us and here was his reply:

“The top line has the character ‘Om’. It is just an auspicious syllable that is there in most prayers and is also present in most places of worship. The second line has the name of the temple (and presumably the chief deity worshipped there). It says ‘Shri Varun Dev Mandir’. The name also looks like ‘Shri Arun Dev Mandir’ (the ancient way of writing ‘A’ in Arun could well be imagined in that character, which is not that clear. But I think, on balance that it is Varun Dev and not Arun. According to Hindu mythology Varuna is the God of the oceans. There is no worship of Varuna that I have come across personally in India, though I would not be completely surprised at the existence of this temple in Karachi because of the enormous diversity in the Hinduism practiced in different parts of the subcontinent. Also, people who have livelihoods related to the ocean, for instance, fishermen, might worship Varuna. If this temple is on the beach in Karachi this could well be an explanation – it might have been built by fishermen who worshipped Varuna.”

I have a sincere hope that Government of Pakistan takes care of these places of worship. If nothing else then atleast the structure should be saved from the people who take away tiles and anything salvagable for petty profits. Many people visit the mandir as it is the largest and most prominent attraction at Manora beach. A little bit of official or non-official help will go a long way in preserving our heritage.

(8) View from the outer most gate of the mandir compound

I’ve recently read that in June 2007, The station Commander PNS Himalaya Manora cantt has handed over the control of this temple to Pakistan Hindu Council Karachi, which is now working on the restoration work. PHC’s website introduces the mandir in following words:

Varun God (Radha Krishna – Sita Ram) Temple At Manora Cantt
The temple is situated on seashore of Manora cantt. This temple is about 160 years old (1850s?reference needed about this time line) and designed perfectly as per Hindu Architecture. The temple is carved from a blackish marble. Apart of Varun Devta temple there is small temple of Shiv Shanker & statues of Hanuman & Sri Ganesh Mahraj are still in good condition. Sindhi Hindu Businessmen built this temple & renovated from time to time. After partition the temple was abandoned and illegally occupied by land grabbers, recently Pakistan Hindu Council Karachi took a bold step to renovate the same and how have brought back the sanctity of temple & have been cleaned of all the impurities & garbage inside the temple. The station Commander PNS Himalaya Manora cantt has very kindly handed over the control of this temple to Pakistan Hindu Council Karachi, from June, 2007.

The Council plans to spend about Ten million rupees for uplift and to bring this ancient temple to its original condition. Satsung will be held on every Saturday and Parsad and Bhandara would also be managed every week free of cost. Lot of devotes visit this picnic place and enjoy the waves of sea direcltly hitting the temple. There is beautiful scene early in the morning at sun rise. The atmosphere is marvelous and one feels great pleasure & peace of mind along with glimpses of the temple and Darshan of Lord Shri Ram and Lord Shri Krishna.

(9) Following is the tile work on mandir’s exterior wall

Reference: Pakistan Hindu Council

50 responses to “Shri Varun Dev Mandir of Manora Island”

  1. Thank you for these photos. I am wondering if you could tell if these tiles might be cement tiles made in the manner of the popular tiles of Spain, Italy , Cuba, Central America, etc… I wish I could see the original high-rez images of these tile close-ups in order to see if the tiles are fired ceramic or “Mosaicos hidraulico” …hydraulically pressed hand poured cement tiles. We are always interested to find old examples of cement tiles and ones that have been outdoors especially. If the higher rez images are on Flicker, or any other site, please post or email the links…thanks and best wishes, Lundy Wilder-Alabama

  2. Hari Motwani says:

    Today is 10th March, 2011, while going through all the 49 comments arrived so for, I Hari Motwani (a local resident / born Citizen-1940-Tharparkar District of Pakistan- being proud of my birth in this part –Sindh–inheriting Indus Civilization ) Ex-General Secretary of Pakistan Hindu Council, am pleased to add some more information on this site to quench the thrust of our readers that Pakistan is rich in heritage as this is land of Indus Civilization spread over from Arabian Sea Shore (Karachi to Afghanistan) touching the Gujrat, Rajisthan and Eastern Punjab border of India. Many Temples are still working and managed by Local Hindus. Important places of Pilgrimage Viz. Hinglaj Mata Asthan and Kali Mata Temple in Baluchistan; Har Shri Nath Dargah & Kali Bai Temple in Peshawar, Ram Takhat Sahib in Valley of Mingora-Swat; Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal, Krishna Temples in Rawalpindi and Lahore in Punjab. ( Sialkot and Multan Temples name-I don’t remember); Sadhu Bela in Sukkur and Baba Srichand Darbar Sahib of Thatta, Jain Temples in Tharparkar District of Sindh. Even Karachi have some well maintained Temples. Mostly all the Temples are Community maintained. Pakistani Hindus hardly ask Govt for funds for their maintenance. I may add that Manora Mandir is also intended to be repaired and maintained by the community from our own resources, however if somewhere funds do come from the Govt sources, it’s our right as Hindus are businessmen and best Tax payers. Besides at present there may be 10 millions of Hindu minority population in Pakistan, majority of them living in Sindh.

  3. farida ahmed says:

    i remember manora vaguely.there used to be 3 large moortis at the entrance to the beach.i think one of them was Hanuman ji´s.its really sad that our govt and people are not looking after this beautiful temple . its a great peace of art too as well as a holy place for our hindu brothers and sisters.i wish somebody should preserve it.

  4. sanjay g dodeja says:

    hi i am sanjay son of girdharlal dodeja and grand son of lokram dodeja both well know writer father who used to write on the lighter side of life and grandpa who was more of travel and epic writer. myself and my brothers have been regularly printing and reprinting books written by them.
    my search for dodejas let me to this site

  5. hari motwani says:

    I m Hari Motwani, General Secretary, Pakistan Hindu Council, Karachi-Pakistan–once again to update the information that the said VARUN DEV (God) Temple, located on Manora Beach (Island) Karachi–Pakistan a place of yore times is being renovated and it may take a year or more to bring it to origional condition–to what ever the state possibe. I may inform the readers that Sindhi Hindus are the worshipers of VARUN DEV—JHULELAL–UDEROLAL —Ayo Lal Jhuley Lal — Jeko chawando Jhulelal taihanja thenda bera par– are 2 typical slogans we chant very much and love and regard. Zindha Pir —in Sukkur / Rohri is a famous place / temple where we celeberate on every new Moon day (Chand) and a big Mela is organized on Cheti Chand. Like wise Uderoloal is a real place of brith (if I am not mistaken) on the way from Hyderabad to Tando Adam near Bhit Shah & Hala where big temple is builtup since centuries and big mela is organised on Cheti Chand and a monthly congration on every new Moon Day. Varun Dev worship is given / reffered in Vedas too. We Sindhi Hindus are the worshipers of all devi-Devtas in accordance with the Sanatan Hindu Sanskitri and behold fully our traditions and rituals and are proud of it all.

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