Forgotten Temples of Kashmir Part-13

Shehjar Newsmagazine
Forgotten Temples of Kashmir
Photo series Part-13
An effort to preserve and record Hindu cultural and religios heritage of Kashmir
Village Loduv...Abode of Jeewan Sahib

Exclusive images and report from a remote village in Kashmir provided for Shehjarby
Chander M. Bhat
midst of the beautiful Vastur Van is village Loduv in total silence some 20 km from Srinagar near famous saffron fields of Pampore. Village Loduv is located within the jurisdiction of Pampore Police Station in the district of Pulwama and was comparatively prosperous in relation to other neighbouring villages. It stands about three km to the southeast of Pampore town. The chief place of the then Vihi Pargana is now the town of Pampore, the ancient Padampur. Padma, the powerful uncle of the puppet-king Cippate-Jayapida, founded it in the beginning of the ninth century. Padma is said by the Chronicle to have also built a temple of Visnu-Padmasvamin. Close to the temple is the Ziarat of Mir Muhammad Hamadani with some fine ancient columns and ornamented slabs. Padampura owing to its central position in a fertile tract seems to have always been a place of importance and is often mentioned by Kalhana and the later Chroniclers. To the south of the village one passes first Balhom, a large village, which in the Likaprakasa and Tirthasamgraha figures as Balasrama? Under a large Deodar near it Baladevi is worshipped in the form of an ole stone. At the foot of rocky spur, which descends from the mountain range to the north, lies the picturesque village of Vuyan, one mentioned by Kalhana under the name of Ovana. It has a large sulphurous spring visited by the sick. The first factory in Jammu and Kashmir for the manufacture of cement was installed at Vuyan because of the availability of raw material for the purpose. Vuyan was burnt during the civil war between the Kashmiris and the immigrant Syeds in 1484 A.D. The name of the village changed from Ovana (Uvana) to Vuyan and then to Wuyan.

About two miles further east one reaches the village Khruv, the ancient Khaduvi that, as we have seen, gave to the district its former name. There is abundance of fine springs in and about Khruv: Abul-i-Fazl mentioned them as objects of worship and estimates their number as 360. Above the village a so-called ‘Svayambhu-Chakra’ or mystical diagram is shown on a rock. It is held sacred to Jwalamukhi-Durga and largely visited by pilgrims especially the Pandits. The temple is situated on the top of a small hillock. The Jwalaji festival falls on or about 16th July every year. This shrine forms the Isht Devi of maximum Pandits of the valley. Only a mile to the north of village Loduv is the village of Saar, until recently the seat of a flourishing iron-industry. Kalhana mentioned it by the name of Sanara as an Agrahara founded by King Sacinara. The Ziarat of Khwavu Khizar, which stands here near several small springs. Wahab Khar was born in 19th century at Saar. A blacksmith by profession he was also a Sufi saint. Wahab Khar has projected “mysticism” in his poetry. His “Sheikh Sana”, “Mash Tulur” and “Mehraj Name” are considered his best poetic creations. Wahab Khar Passed away in 1912.

To the south of village Loduv, on the bank of the Vitasta lies the village of Latpor. An old gloss of the Rajtarangini identifies it with Lalitapura, a place founded in honour of King Lalitaditya by his architect. The king, according to the Chronicle, was not pleased with the attention; in any case no importance seems to have attached to the place. There are no old remains above ground, but the local tradition still knows of King ‘Laltadit’ as the founder of a large town on the neighbouring Udar.

Some I km to the west of village Loduv is village Sempor. Some sources place this village as the birth place of great woman saint of Kashmir, Lal Ded in the year 1335 A.D.

According to Guldastai Kashmir by Harpogal Koul, Loduv Pandit, a minister of Raja Saka during 2409-72 KE founded Loduv village. Loduv Pandit also built a temple there. Total area of the village is 904.87 hectares and as per 19781 Census total population of this village was 2820 souls comprising of 369 households. Kashmiri Pandit community comprises 24 percent of total population of the village and was having about 57 households. Eight households have held back after the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the year 1990. I visited the village on 7th March 2010; one Shri Ravi Ji Bhat son of Shri Nath Ji Bhat aged 43 of the same village accompanied me.

M.A.Stein writes in Kalhana’s Rajtarangini, “The Pargana, which adjoins Srinagar from the southeast, in olden days, was known as Vihi. It extends from near Puranadhisthana to the Vastur Van spur near Vountpur (Awantipora) and comprises a wide semicircular tract of fertile karewa lands. In ancient times the district took its name from the village of Khaduvi, the present Khrew”.

Loduv is known for two ancient temples…a bigger one and a smaller one. The bigger temple is in the middle of a shallow tank, which receives water from a spring in its North-East corner. The temple simple in design, 24 feet square externally, supports a domical ceiling. According to Pandit Ram Chand Kak “Externally the walls are without decoration, their bareness being only partially relieved by a cornice which consists of three courses of stone adorned with projecting fillets. The corner pilasters are quite plain, and headed by a semicircular, almost horseshoe-shaped, arch surmounted by a single storied pediment of very slight projection. Internally the temple is circular with a diameter of 17 feet and 6 inches. The smaller temple is similar to the bigger one. Internally the temple is 6 feet square and the ceiling consists of three courses of over lapping stones. Inside the spring is a Shiva Linga made of lime stone”. According to Pandit Kak, “A few yards behind this temple, higher up the hill and immediately at the back of the mosque, a smaller temple which externally presents the same appearance as the large temple, the only difference being that the projecting pediment which enclosed the round-headed doorway has here developed into a well-defined portico with a trefoil niche”. According to “Soon Adab” published by Jammu and Kashmir Academy, 1977, the material of the smaller temple has been used to build a Ziarat. At present there is no Shiva Linga in the spring. This temple has been taken over by the Archeological Survey of India and is being looked after by an employee of the same department.

There are two more Shiva Temples in the village built by the Pandits of the village in recent past. These temples have been built on the shades of mighty Chinars. Village deity Raza Sahib called Tcharas Raza also lives near one of the temples.

Gousein Naar forms the part of village Loduv, situated some half km from the main village. Ten Kashmiri Pandit families [nicknamed Gousein] were residing in this mohalla of the village. All the ten families migrated out of Kashmir in the year 1990.

Jeewan Sahib passed his last days of his life in a house at Gousein Naar. Jeewan Sahib, an outstanding saint of the 18th century was born in Motiyar Mohalla of Rainawari. He was a highly evolved saint with tremendous spiritual powers. It is said that this great saint shifted from Rainawari to Gousein Naar in the 1779 and practiced sadhana in this village. All time Dooni was on during his life time and it continued for some years after he attained Mahasamadhi. The then Maharaja of Kashmir allotted him a jaggir of 80 kanals of land at Gousein Naar. Ten Kashmiri Pandit families were residing in this mohalla of the village, who were brought there from Srinagar by the then Maharaja of Kashmir to look after the land gifted to Jeewan Sahib.

All these things are there but the people whose presence once thrived on the face of Loduv are now few and far between.

Notes and References:

1. Place Names in Kashmir by B.K.Raina & S.L.Sadhu, published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai & Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi, 2000.
2. Encyclopedia: Kashmiri Pandit: Culture & Heritage by C.L.Kaul, published by Ansh Publications, 2009.
3. Swami Jeewan Shah by Anjali Kaul, Austin.
4. Ancient Monuments of Kashmir by Ram Chand Kak, published by Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2000.
5. Soon Adab…Kashir (Folklore) published by Jammu & Kashmir Academy, 1977.
6. Kalhan’s Rajatarangini….A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir, Vol: II by Stein, Aurel, published by Motilal Banarasi Dass, 1979.

Close view of the ancient temple

Icons in open in the premises of Shiv Temple at Bona Aangan

Icon of Shiva in the temple at Batapora..JPG

Icons in open in the premises of Shiv Temple

Razabal, Tcharas Raza

Close up of Samadhi

aAasana of Jeewan Sahib. Dhoni in front.

'Dashi' still there

House at Gousein Naar where Jeewan Sahib practised sadhana

Thakhta [wooden plateform] on which Jeewan Sahib used to sit

Close up of Thakta

Holy Dhoni

Big Spoon for Dhoni still in the house

Bchagiz [grass aasana] used by Jeewan Sahib

Earthen Chilim of Jeewan Sahib

Samadhi of Jeewan Sahib constructed recently by State Govt.

Another Shiv Temple in the premises

Smaller temple. Now inside the premises of a local house

*Born on 20th March, 1960 in Murran a village in North Kashmir, Chander M. Bhat is presently working as an Assistant Supdt. Posts, in Department of Posts, Govt. of India. His articles regarding Posts and of non-political nature stand widely published in various papers and magazines of the country. A booklet 'How to Collect Stamps" published by the Department of Posts, has earned him genuine accolades. He worked on the project of tracing the roots of his co-villagers and of the village Murran, resulting into the culmination of a widely acclaimed book "Murran -My Village". Man with depth, Chander M. Bhat has also another book, "Ocean by Drops" (collection of poems) in his vase having colorful poems. His book "Ancient History of Jammu and Kashmir", confirms his researching capability. Various research papers like "The Splendor that is Amarnath" and "Vitasta" The Sacred River of Kashmir" are valuable additions to his works that has proved very fruitful and guiding force in the exile period of Kashmiri Pandits community of which the author is also a member.

Presently the author is working on "OOL - THE NEST" a six volume project on all the 595 (each volume of about 2500 pages)Kashmiri Pandit villages of Kashmir.

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Dear CM Bhatji......Namaskaar...A sincere effort to balm the wounds. These pictures depict the condition of our Community as a Whole. Bhat ji, if we have the will to desire for a better life,comprising sustainable peace, prosperity and happiness for our selves and our progeny then weshall have to go back to our Roots THE DIVINE...the Absolute field of Creative Intelligence and bliss by practicing Transcendental Meditation.Regards and Love....jai Gurudev.
Added By subash kokru
Dear Chander ji, as usual fantastic work. I find it so surprising that there is no one in this world who can take care of the Asan of Jeewan Saheb. The same saint who uttered the famous words--"AGAR HUKMI KHUDA NAIST,BA HUKAM JEEWAN SHAH! KISHTI GARKI AAB KHUD,HINDVA AZAAB BALA SHUD!!" to save a Pandit girl. I would love to have that Asan and take care of it for future generations. Keep up the great work.
Added By Samvit Rawal
Dear Chander ji, as usual fantastic work. I find it so surprising that there is no one in this world who can take care of the Asan of Jeewan Saheb. The same saint who uttered the famous words--"AGAR HUKMI KHUDA NAIST,BA HUKAM JEEWAN SHAH! KISHTI GARKI AAB KHUD,HINDVA AZAAB BALA SHUD!!" to save a Pandit girl. I would love to have that Asan and take care of it for future generations. Keep up the great work.
Added By Samvit Rawal
Chander Mohan Ji-----Believe me, I visualized many temple complexes of Kashmir by the river Viasta side,in my dream tonight,after reading yout valuable document on Jiwan Sahib. May Sant Deva Btahma Rishi--Jiwan Sahib Bless all!
Added By Chaman Lal Raima