Enduring tough test of time. Facing utter disregard from authorities and public alike. Tormented time and again by ‘idol breakers’. A picture from British era shows the same temple shinning and protected making you wonder what we really meant from Independence. Shri Varun Dev Temple’ sad state indicate our attitude towards heritage and degrading level of tolerance and respect for diversity in society.
Set at the shores of Arabian sea, in gratitude to Varuna, the Ocean god, it is one of its kind in the region. There are hardly any temples built specifically for worshipping Varuna. Manora, the narrow strip of land cutting into Arabian Sea is a fitting place to please the Ocean God.
According to the legend, a temple was built in Manora in 16th century when it was still under the rule of Khan of Kalat. A wealthy hindu businessman purchased the land here and built a temple. The new temple is supposedly built at the same location in 1917, according to Pakistan Hindu Council. A British era picture dated somewhere around 1920 shows the new temple in excellent condition.
A memorial tablet installed at one of the outer wall describe in Sindhi that the temple was constructed by grieving sons of Seth Harchand Mal Dayal Das of Bhriya in the sacred memory of their father. The temple has endured painful restorations and is going through another one right now. The outer walls have been destroyed and main entrance has been blocked by cement structure creating a small storage space inside the temple. The caretaker asked us to put the shoes out. His voice meek as if pleading. Not many people show the due respect it seems. There is a small worshiping space inside. In the center are few pictures of deities. A picture of Guru Nanik is hanging beside. A lot of hindus in Sindh also consider Guru Nanik a divine incarnation. There were few ship models hanging from the roof reminding you that you stand in a temple by the sea. A temple built to please ocean god.
The old tiles are disappearing behind dirt and debris. The temple’s vertical sweep is rhythmic and the sandstone at the top is in better condition. There is a small temple of Shiv Shanker around also. There are statues of Hanuman & Sri Ganesh Mahraj and the small space is tiled from end to end including the roof. The place is being renovated though at a very slow pace. Manora does not attract many tourists as it did in past decades. It has