Prominent Shrines of Kuthar and Breng Valley|
Ravi, New Delhi
has attained an appellation of being the land of
spiritualism. Its crown, Kashmir has been described
as valley of sages and saints and shrines. Almost
all the shrines are named after great saints,
incarnations, goddesses etc. There is hardly any
area, where a shrine does not exist. These are held
in great reverence and esteem by everybody. Walter
Lawerance in his book "The Valley of
Kashmir" says, "Every Kashmiri believes
that saints will aid if men will call and they think
that a dead saint is more efficacious than a living
priest ....... obeisances are made and with barefeet
the Kashmiri draws near the doorway and smears his
throat and body with the holy dust of the sacred
Every Kashmiri is
God fearing and respects every shrine whether it
belongs to muslims or to hindus. Springs,
shadowed by shady trees,big rocks, trees,
torrents, etc. are usual accomplices of shrines,
where hindus pay their obeisance, kneel down in
prostration and have abulations. It is given in
Ainiakbari that Hindus regard all Kashmir as holy
land. 45 places are dedicated to Mahadeo and 64 to
Vishnu, 3 to Brahma and 22 to Durga. In 700 places
there are carved figures of snakes, which they
worship." Fairs are held at these shrines and
offerings are made. Pilgrims throng in big numbers
to these shrines. Conches are blown and religious
hymns are chanted.
Lawerance says, "It is dangerous to discuss so
great a mystery as the Hindu religion, yet I cannot
help noticing the important part which water springs
and snakes play in the Kashmiri mythology. Nor I
must omit the fact that the Hindus seize with
avidity on any abnormal display of the powers of
nature. The intermittent springs in R. S. Pura where
the water rises and falls in an unaccountable manner
at fixed periods; the Gangjetton hill side in Donsu,
dry all the year till september, when it becomes a
waterfall; the subterraneous fire at Soyam in Uttar
Machipora where people cook their food over the hot
soil, attract numerous pilgrims and are ranked among
the holy places of Kashmir."
These shrines assume
great significance following miracles by deities and
incarnations and great saints of these splendid
places. These shrines are great centers of spiritual
eminence, miracles and forecasting. These shrines
have the unique distinction of enjoying the esteem
of every community alike. Pilgrims make their way
toward these shrines in good numbers belonging to
different races and ethinic groups. They wish to pay
obeisance and get their wishes fulfilled. The great
mystic poet and saint Nund Rishi (Shezanand) had
travelled through the length and breath of Kashmir.
He came to Breng Pargana also, praised this area and
said "Breng chu sonu sund Prang."
In this beautiful south Kashmir Breng valley and
Kuthar Pargana, there are some prominent shrines of
great importance. These follow as under -
Trisandhya : French
Doctor Francois Bernier came to Kashmir and during
his stay in the valley he toured various places of
interest. Among these places Trisandhya is
one. This shrine is situated beyond famous tourist
resort of Kokernag on Anantnag - Ahlan Gdole Road.
This holy spring is situated south of Devalgam a
populous village in Breng near Magam Sundbrari.
This is an ebbing and flowing spring. It has a small
basin. It is about five feet deep and about five
yards wide. It remains dry almost all the year
except Jeth-Har. During this period water appears in
the spring automatically and it goes dry again. The
process of ebbing and flowing of the water in the
spring continues for some time. At first the water
springs out continuously for many days but gradually
gets absorbed and reappears after intervals. This
intermittence occurs several times a day. In Jeth-Har
people swarm to Trisandhya. They wait near the
spring for rising of water. They go in for
prostration; praying it to re-appear when water
starts surfacing, the pilgrims exclaim sand,
sand, sand with this the pilgrims perform
ablutions and take nectar with them. The pilgrims
are happy over performing sand and feel
optimistic and their wish is fulfilled. Many poets
including a persian poet have composed lyrics in
praise of this spring.
Dumatabal : This
ancient shrine is situated at the edge of the forest
on the right side of Hangulgund on Naru_Watnar Road,
which is traversed by the path between Vernag and
Soaf. This shrine houses a Laxmi Narayan temple with
a beautiful spring whose water continuously flows.
Its waters join the rivulet which drain rest of the
area. Mahatma Shiv ji was its chief priest and
warden till 1990. After Kashmir Pandits were hounded
out by Kashmiri Pak Muslim fundamentalists from
their motherland, this shrine like other shrines was
left behind. Mahatma Shiv ji went to heavenly abode
at Udhampur. Now his son Shri Nath ji is looking
after religious matters.
Annually a havan
is performed on Wahika Zoona Pach Kah - Baisakh
Krishen Paksh ikadashi, at Dumatabal. This is
called "Narda Kah". Yatris first
take holy dip at "Naran nag" in "Naru"
and ascend towards Dumatabal where final holy dip is
taken in the sacred waters of Dumatabal. People in
large numbers attend the "havan"
and take part in the fair organised on the occasion.
merza kak shrine
shrine is located in Hangulgund about 30 km. from
Anantnag. There is a Smadhi of great mystic
poet of Kashmir, Merza Kak, popularly known as
"Kak Sab". Merza Kak has done miracles. He
has seen the oppression and tyranny of Pathan
rulers. He too was not spared from "Begaar".
The locals had prayed "Pathan Kardar",
that Kak Sab was a saint and should be released.
They even begged Pathan not to force Kak Sab into
"Begaar" but Pathan Kardar did not agree
and ultimately this great soul was forced to drop
the "begaar" at Khanabal. With a bundle
put on his shoulder, Kak Sab left for Khanabal.
While trekking down the arduous way he felt tired
and lay down for rest. Sweated, Kak Sab went in deep
sleep. Meanwhile Mata Sharika, in disguise, came
into being and dropped a slip duly certified by the
Ghat Munshi of Khanabal into his hand and
disappeared. After some time Kak Sab woke up and
found a slip duly certified by the Ghat Munshi at
Khanabal. He was indeed a great Aatma to know
what had happened. The bundle also disappeared. He
returned with the slip and delivered it to Pathan
Kardar. Kardar was astonished to see this but said
he will get it verified from Khanabal. This proved
to be a truth. Pathan Kardar felt ashamed of what he
had done. He bowed down before Kak Sab and became
GataPachi Doi" a "Havan" is
performed in Hangulgund. Hangulgund is a Hindu
populated village. A large fair is also held at this
place on this occasion. Popularly known as, "Kak
Sabun Jag" devotees come from every
nook and corner of the valley to attend this Jag.
Kak Sab created "wakhs" which are
considered best technically as well as
linguistically. After Lal Ded and Nund Rishi hardly
such kind of wakhs are heard. Even Muslims
from the area join Pandits in celebrating this Jag.
Kungam Nag : There
is a spring in this hamlet. This spring is situated
two Kms away from Soaf, on Hangulgund_Kachwan Road.
The spring remains full of water round the year.
Hindus worship there. Better known as Kumar ji's
shrine. On "Kumar Shyam6",
"Navreh Trie3" and "Chitra
Zoona Pach Akdoh" devotees make their way
towards this sacred spring. On these days a coloured
big fish in the spring raises its head out of water.
The devotees take this spectacle as a good omen.
This spring is surrounded by hills and flowers are
Gajander Nag : This
is also a shrine. It remains dry almost all the
year. It is situated on the west side of Soaf on the
banks of river Brengi. It is being said that an iron
slab has stopped its waters from flowing out, and
once it is lifted, it will flow out continously,
thus draining whole area. Devotees had been
ascending to it on Ganesh Chaturthi with "Tahar".
It contains shaddy trees, among them walnut trees
are in abundance.
Budey Nag : This
holy spring is situated near Panjgam 4 Kms from
Suftashali, surrounded by willow trees. This spring
not so deep, is full of water. It is on the bank of
River Korel. Near by lush green fields with mulbery
trees add to its beauty.
Baba Alak Ram
Samadhi : It
is situated at Irakimmi a Hindu populated village
near Kokernag. Baba Alokh Ram had been a great monk
and a seer. A mausoleum under Chinar tree bears the
testimony to this great saint. People from different
walks of life do come to pay their obeisance to
Man Shah Baba
Shrine : This
shrine is located at Bidder on Anantnag - Kokoernag
Road. Man Chand was a great saint who preached
universal brother-hood and peace. People especially
Hindus make offerings at the shrine of this noble
soul. Tahar is distributed at the mausoleum
among the needy and destitutes. A fair is held
annually at the shrine in which "bands"
from Mohipora perform their traditional Pather.
Similar fairs are held at Soaf and Gohen also.
Shrine : This
shrine is situated at a distance of about 15 Kms
from Anantnag. This famous shrine is situated in an
historic village Akingam. This village is situated
at the extremity of the range of hills and lies
south east of Anantnag. A fair is held annually on
Chitra Zoona Pach Navam and a Yagiya is also
performed. This shrine attracts devotees from every
nook and cornor of the valley.
This Ashram is
located near Achabal. This Ashram houses a Yoga
Kendra also. It is surrounded by pine and cypruss
trees, orchards and maize fields.
Kothair : This
historic village is situated near Shangus in the
mountains and lies south east of Anantnag. There is
an old sacred tank and some ruins. This shrine is
situated a few miles away from Achabal. Kothair is
also rich in iron mines. On "Wahika zoona
Pach Trie-Baisakhi Krishen Pakh Tritiya" a
fair is held at this shrine. It is called Achan
Brariangan : Bariangan
was once a Hindu dominated village with well to do
Pandit families. This is also called Uma Nagri as
there is a shrine of Uma Bhagawati. It is an
historic village in the Kuthar Paragana lying east
of famous Achabal Mughal Garden. There are several
springs also in this village. The largest one
contains the temple of Uma Bhagawati. This is held
in esteem by Kashmiri Pandits. Swami Syam Anand Ji
developed this shrine and it was due to his
ceaseless efforts that Uma Nagri was expanded.
Pilgrims come from every part of Kashmir. A Maha
Yagya is performed every year. Thousands of devotees
join in Maha Aarthi on this occasion.