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Young Bites. Dated: 3/12/2018 11:53:16 AM

G.L. Khajuria Former Deputy Conservator,
J&K Forest.

Our revered Rig Veda echoes, “Give sight to our eyes, sight to our bodies so that we may see, may we see the world as a whole and may we see it in detail”. Our country particularly, the greater snowy Himalaya is prominent for the abodes of Gods and Goddesses as a whole, apart from a land of temples, shrines, sanctum sanctorum and of course, a treasure trove of pilgrimages, varied ramification which occupy their unique and enchanting placement. Having their spiritual and prodigious reverence, people from India and abroad throng in huge number, pay obeisance and obtain blessings from the supreme Gods and deities.
Amongst a few to be named are Bawa Amar Nath, Mata Vaishno Devi, Khir Bhawani, Mahalak, Shmi, Durga Mata, Mata Kali (Bahu Fort), Airwan (Kathua), ManiMahesh (HP). Gupt Ganga (Bhaderwah), Pingla Mata (Ramnagar), Mansa Devi, Badarkali, Vasuki Nag (Kailash Kund), Sukrala Mata (Billawar), Mata Bala Sundri on the hill top between Billawar and Kathua, Ashta-d-Bhuja, Sickle Mountain (Kishtwar), Jawalaji, Sudhmahadev, Mantalai (Chenani), Om Parvat (Great Himalaya), Kalkaji, Surinsar, Mansar, Moungri, Utterbehni. Though the list remains unending insofar as such religious spots of all religions are concerned.
It is , unambiguously, no denying the fact that ‘Purmandal’ occupies its own placement, prominence and as far as its provenience is concerned, it equates in status with that of Kashi in Utter Pradesh (U.P.). Purmandal is a small village barely 30 kms from Jammu to its South-East . There are twin routes to the sanctum sanctorum; one from Sidhra Kunjwani bye-pass road and the other from NH-1 from Kaluchak through Birpur-Utterbehni through various twists and turns en route to the last tourist temple of purmandal.
The prominence of the temples of Purmandal is a testimony of the Valley of Kashmir which in other words round is the fountainhead of ‘Shaivism’ of which the first building of the temple was, de fact, ascribed to the ruler of time by name Raja Vent Dutt. In other words round, he has been as well named as ‘Vinanayaditya’ or ‘Avantivarman’ who ruled those times some eleven and a quarter humdreds years back i.e. (855 to 883 A.D.)
Situated alongside river ‘Devak’, it further meanders down and join Utterbehni another tirthsthan and thence downwards flows near Vijaypur, situated alongside a small town on Jammu Pathankote road and the bridge over the river is probably the longest one in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is commonly believed that most of Shiv-Lingams have spiritually originated in the close vicinity of Purmandal alongside ‘Devak’ proximity and is further reported that “Shiva and Mata Paravati are those of Indreshwar, Bhuteshwar, Gyaneshwar, Kasheshwar and Bikeshwar. The sanctum sanction is of ample importance as a prominent tirthsthan around the years, preferably during ‘Shivratri’ and Chaitra Chaudish’ like that of Airwan in Kathua district. The place is having its prominence that saint Kabir and Ustad Bismla Khan had been over this pious and secred spots.
The sanction sanctorum of Purmandal bears relevance to “Kashi” Devsthan in U.P. where centuries old temple of Mighty ‘Vishwanath’ tll date exists but historically it is known that ‘Raja Vishwa Chand’ usurped him and confined him to ‘ Manika Ghat after having some tribal confrontation and as such King ‘Vishwanath’ relinquished the kingdom and confined himself to “Manika Ghat” in late stages of his life. Here at ‘ Purmandal’ multi-Shiva Lingams have originated spiritually called in local parlance as ‘Aap Shambo’ lingam which as per legends describe that a famous Raja by name King Veni Dutt as mentioned earlier ruled in those ancient times in between eight to the close of Ninth Century had also visited Purmandal as it was a part of his Kingdom.
But, whatsoever legends are affiliated to this sacred spot, the fact remains that it was hoary past. The spot is of utmost prominence and Shakti in the Northern part of India where devotees in Lac assemble over here to have holy Darshan, pay obeisance and obtain blessing. Even great Guru Nanak had visited the spot.
The Village Purmandal is populated on either side of “Devika River” which with revolving wheel of time many more temples were constructed during Maharaja’s regime. But with the exploding population and heavy biotic pressure, the areas surrounding the spot have turned barren despite the fact that the Govt. Deptt. of all hues have put in all out efforts to rehabilitate and bring back to its pristine grandeur and glory but all in vain. Even the historically old religious structures which form an important part of our national heritage stand neglected and are descertifying impending dooms day. Apart from historic temples, there are old Sarais and Havellis having the same status. During Maharaja’s regime (Dogra rulers ), it was earnmarked to construct a cluster of sequential temples from ‘Utterbehni’ to Purmandal where the reminant material (Iron Girders and their allieds ) stand spanning the two sacred spots, and after dogra rulers all remained silent. Here the Govt. needs to take up the matter to save and invigorate this sacred spot of our national heritage. Restoration of dilapidated temples, Havelis, Sarais to its pristine grandeur is the call of the hour and glory as devotees/ tourists from far and wide areas come here for holy Darshan, pay obeisance and obtain blessing.
The area is just like that of ‘Kashi’ (U.P) and as such dead bodies of locality around are cremated and one need not ot go “Haridwar” for immersion of ashes and as per local parlance are sured a place in heaven (Gati Locally spoken). Miraculous are the ways of God that the renmances of ashes are nowhere visible and disappear in the sandy ‘ Devak’.
The holy river needs to be rehabilitated by ensuring ecological balance by way of massive afforestateion work on the barren hill-tops, catchments areas and here the Forest, Horticulture, Sericulture and other sister departments have to pick up the thread sincerely for this pious cause and its monitoring be ensured by accountability commission. The works executed over couple of years back are no where in sight and lakhs of money went to drain.
Classic clean lines campaign, shall have to be launched by one and all to make ‘Devak’ neat, clean and green, imposition of fine who littler the sacred spot and its surrounds. It is imperative and this shall have to be ensured by consitituting a committee to assist “Dharmarth Trust Deptt”, apart from planting multihued flowering plants, climbers and creepers on either side of the river, particularly those best suited to site. Water conservation, construction of ponds, tanks, boalis and other water bodies /Ghats are warranted to be constructed. During my last visit to “Purmandar”, I observed that a man from Punjab with this associates had engaged labourers for the construction of a bathing ghats most keenly. Apathetic altitude of our people and Govt deserves to be blamed for the act of negligence. When the outsider from Punjab is devotedly on this pious job what hinders we people and the Govt? It is rather a matter of shame.
Conclusively, therefore, imperfect and unawareness in our grey matter need to be revived to enhance the beauty of our old religious heritage and bring back to its pristine grandeur and glory by one and all so that our coming generations may not abuse us for utter act of negligence which our earlier “Rulers / ancestors have bestowed upon us. And lastly I add here the last line “How senseless seems to me the man who has seen his neighbour ill, old and dead, and yet remains happy and is not shaken by fear” ....Ash- vaghosha.


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