Home Blogs Vijaywada, Sindhis, Sindhu Bhavan and the Jhulelal Temple

Vijaywada, Sindhis, Sindhu Bhavan and the Jhulelal Temple

Vijaywada, Sindhis, Sindhu Bhavan and the Jhulelal Temple
Jhulelal Mandir

Spread over huge area, Sindhu Bhavan consists of a Jhulelal Temple as well as a separate building for hosting social functions.

Milind Teckchandani

Vijaywada is a small town in Andhra Pradesh located on the banks of river Krishna ( Southern part of India) that rose to prominence a few years ago when following the bifurcation of (erstwhile) Andhra Pradesh into Telegana and Andhra Pradesh, it was declared to be the new capital of Andhra Pradesh by the then Chief Minister, Shri. Chandrababu Naidu. However, following the defeat of Mr. Naidu in the last state elections, the fate of this town is largely in limbo as the new elected government is non-committal on the city’s status as “Capital” of (New) Andhra Pradesh. I had first gone to Vijaywada in 2014 on a day long business trip and remember it as having a “sleepy small town feel” to it. I recently again had a chance to visit Vijaywada to attend my wife Monica’s convocation ceremony. Monica is a trained medical doctor (Ophthalmologist) who recently completed a two year fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery from Sankara Eye Centre located near Vijaywada. It was also a good opportunity for me to meet her colleagues and friends as none of them were able to attend our marriage given COVID restrictions.

Despite limited air traffic further impacted by COVID, Vijaywada’s International Airport was a pleasant surprise with its top notch facilities. I did not expect such a modern airport in the hinterland. I am told that at the moment it operates primarily as a domestic airport given that the only international flight is currently suspended following COVID. I was picked up at the airport by Mr. Arifkhan Mohammad who runs a small taxi business in Vijaywada and whom Monica regularly used for commuting to and fro from the airport. Arif bhai’s business too has been substantially hit by the downturn and hence he now self-drives the taxis. I will never forget Arif Bhai’s “Shaadi Mubarak sahab “greeting at the airport and his repeated reference to Krishna River as “Daryah”. I am not sure about the word Daryah’s actual origins but have always associated it to be a Sindhi word for river. In fact, one of the many names of Lal Saeen (JhuleLal) is also Daryahshah. It was an enjoyable 40 minutes hotel ride with Arif bhai and I am so glad to have met him.

Sindhu Bhavan

During our stay, we went to meet Mr. Ramesh Rupchandani and his family who are known to Monica’s family. Rupchandani family, originally from Ajmer, have been settled in Vijaywada for the last 40 years and have a flourishing saree business in the town. The vibe at Rupchandani household was that of a typical Sindhi household with Mrs. Rupchandani serving us with typical Sindhi breakfast of Yellow Daal -Poori & sanna pakodas among other delicacies. The family speaks fluent Sindhi and knowing about my interest in Sindhiyat, uncle told us about the existence of Vijaywada Sindhi Seva Samiti Trust in Vijaywada which has around 260+ Sindhi families registered as members. Uncle holds an honorary position in the trust and is lovingly referred to by his wife as “Mukhi” given his interest in community activities. Uncle offered to take me to Sindhu Bhavan which unfortunately I had to decline that day given other commitments but did tell him that I might visit it the next day prior to flying out to Delhi. Both Monica and I were discussing on our way back about how the vibe in most Sindhi households irrespective of the location/place is still very similar. It was an absolute pleasure meeting Rupchandani family. I was also surprised to know about the presence of such large number of Sindhi families in interior Andhra Pradesh.

Statue of Jhulelal
Vijaywada-Guru Granth
Guru Granth

The next day prior to our return journey, Monica and I did visit Sindhu Samaj located in the central district of Labbipet. Spread over huge area, Sindhu Bhavan consists of a Jhulelal Temple as well as a separate building for hosting social functions. I met Mr. Prem there who volunteers at the Samaj and looks after its day to day running. The Samaj has a resident Sindhi Brahmin (Maharaj) who looks after the temple. In the typical spirit of Sindhi secularism, within the temple hall, there is a separate space where Guru Granth Sahib is kept. It reminded me of a traditional Sindhi “tikano”. Unfortunately, I do not see any more such shared spaces in Delhi. I am told that as per a local legislation in Delhi, any place where Guru Sahib is kept comes under Gurudwara regulations and hence it is not possible to keep idols and Granth sahib together. Shri Prem told me that there are around 260 Sindhi families registered with the trust primarily from Vijaywada with a few of them (around 6-8 families) from neighboring Guntur region as well. The Samaj has recently been renovated with generous donations from the community. There is a full-fledged marriage hall with provision for around 8-10 living rooms. There is also a huge hall on the second floor which can be hired for personal events. The building is fully airconditioned and has an installed lift as well. All major Hindu Sindhi festivals including Holi, Guru Nanak Jayanti, and Diwali etc. are celebrated at the Bhavan.

Vijawada-Function Hall
Function Hall of Sindhu Bhavan
Vijaywada-Marriage Hall
Marriage Hall

Overall the facilities are quite impressive and I was pleased to see such a thriving community in Vijaywada. Mr. Prem mentioned that most Sindhis in Vijaywada are economically well off and are a close knit community. It is heartening to see the community taking efforts and acting as a cohesive unit to preserve our culture and heritage. I hope and pray that the Sindhi community in Vijaywada continues to prosper.

I end with this link to Saeen Saral Roshan’s melodious rendition of “Pere Pavandi Saan” written by Shah Abdul Latif Sahib. I hope you like it.

Here is the link: Pere Pavandi Saan


Courtesy: Sindhi Chokro Blogs