Forgotten Temples of Kashmir Part-18

Shehjar Newsmagazine

Forgotten Temples of Kashmir
Photo series Part-18
An effort to preserve and record Hindu cultural and religios heritage of Kashmir
Exclusive images and report from a remote village in Kashmir provided for Shehjarby
Chander M. Bhat
ari Parbat (Sharika Peeth) is situated at the periphery of Srinagar city is an ancient and one of the holiest places of Kashmir and is associated with the Kashmir Culture since time immemorial. It is the abode of Maha Shakti. The Divine Mother of Shri Jagat Amaba Sharika Bhagawati also known as Maha Tripursundhari or Rajeshwari locally called as Harie. The Eighteen armed Goddess Sharika is regarded as the presidisng deity of Srinagar city.

The Goddess Sharika is represented by a Sayambhu ‘Sri Chakra’ also called ‘Maha Sriyantara’ which consists of circular Mystic impressions and triangular patterns with as dot (Bindu) at the centre. The myustic Sri Chakra self engraved on a vertical rock (Shilla) is located at the middle of western face of Hariparbat (Hillock).

There is a legend, which talks of how the hill got its name. It is said that after Kashyapa Rishi drained off the water of the Satisar, a remnant lake was still there in the vicinity of Hari Parvat. A demon by the name tsand, who took shelter in this lake, troubled the inhabitants in and around the area. Desperate, the inhabitants prayed to goddess Durga and sought her protection. In order to protect them, she took the form of a bird, called heuur in Kashmiri, who picked up a pebble in her beak and dropped it over the lake trapping the demon inside. The pebble grew in size to that of the Parvat (hill) and thereafter to crush the demon, she is said to have taken her abode on the hill. The hill thus got the name Hari Parvat or Sharika Parvat and the holy place, where Sharika took her abode, Chakrishor or Chakreshwari. The day when goddess Sharika took her abode on Hari Parvat happened to be tsithiur zuuniu pachh okdoh, the day celebrated by the community as navreh. Besides this auspicious day, devotees also visit the shrine on zangiu tray, haar euut’ham, haar navan and huer euut’ham. The importance of this shrine is described in Sharikapariccheda. Hari Parvat is linked not only with the ethos of the people but also serves to nurture the religious and spiritual quest of all the inhabitants of the Valley, the Muslims, the Sikhs and the Pandit. For the community Hari Parvat is the Sedd Peeth because a devotee in a single Parikrama (circumambulation) is able to pay obeisance to many deities. Devotees, from Srinagar and the nearby places visit, everyday early in the morning, and circumambulate the Sedd Peeth and offer prayers various holy places. Starting from, Sangeen Darwaza, the Parikrama cover, Maha Ganesh, Sapt Rishi, Mahakali, Deviaangan temples, Chakrishor, Hari Asthapana, Mahalakshmi Temple, Amar Kaul Temple, Sita Ram Ashram and Hanuman temple.

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. Ancient Monuments of Kashmir by Ram Chand Kak, published by Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2000.
4. Kalhan’s Rajatarangini….A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir, Vol: II by Stein, Aurel, published by Motilal Banarasi Dass, 1979.

Sacred Sheela. Abode of Shakti

Welcome gate to the Holy Shrine

Steps of spiritual bless

Everyone enshines at the base of the shrine

Build on a strong determination and strength

Sanitum Sanitorium. Pathways of salvation

Place of rest in the premises of the shrine. Once full of devotees

aAnother Dharamshala which was abounding with piligrims on Hora Ashtami

Divine Mother watching her devotees from the top

Devotees offering their faith

Corridor of faith

Twin steps inside the temple

Wooden pillers of strength

Flag of faith and strength of the saathal

Oh! Mother bless us all

Pranaali, outlet of Abisheikh jal

*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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This article is a pilgrimage to the temple which has shaped many destinies.
Added By Arun Koul