G L Khajuria
Erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State finds its gateway at Lakhanpur, boundary being Ravi river adjoining Punjab and Himachal Pardesh states. Jammu region right from Lakhanpur to border town Poonch in East West and Ranbirsingpura to Banihal, Kashmir valley to the last reach of Ladhak abounds in historical, archaeological and spiritual significance and are with enchanting beauty and grandeur.
The Jammu legion as a whole encompasses the cynosure of vast sprawling and undulating terrain, ranging from Kandi belt of Lakhanpur to Poonch with scruby and Pines forests. In its higher reaches, are Shivalks and Tawi valley in its backdrop are enchanting and beautiful mountains ranges rising one behind the other with lush green, vibrant and slabrious scruby and Chir pines. And then majestic deodar and blue pines. The Trikuta hills crowned by three towering peaks are of fantastic spiritual sanctity in whose lap is located world renowned sacred shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. With the early golden sun rise over the Tawi valley, it offers a gorgeous glimpse of Mother Nature.
In the remote past, when the man mostly depended upon nature and its resources, population was dramatically low and as of now when the global population has off-shooted at sputnik speed the human demands have taken reciprocally an upward trend with the result that our natural resources followed depletion. On industrial front, urbanisation, over-exploitation of Mother Earth has in unison changed the very chemistry of environment and its ecosystem. Man’s sustenance depended on fresh air, water, agricultural produce as there was no pollution (air, water, noise).
Nature had bestowed the timely delivery of all systems and with the scenario climate, Monsoons, Summer, Winter, Snowfall are all time-bound. Our pristine springs which existed in our Erstwhile state changed their course due to disturbances which the man has made with the nature. Man was earlier dependent upon the natural sources of water from natural springs, nectar clear water of rivers, rivulets and other tributaries, but with the passage of time, these springs now stand depleted or with least water due more so that there is no percolation of water accruing from deforestation, floods of unprecedented nature. The water harvesting from roof tops, construction of ponds, underground tanks to fulfill their day today demands are nowhere in existence.
In Jammu and Kashmir, where the terrain and its tracks occupy their unique placement, such sources were abundant but have now lost their pristine grandeur and glory. However, still natural springs and water ponds do exist but so far as the quality, quantity and purity of water is concerned, these have been badly polluted expect those which exist in the temperate, sub-alpine and alpine zones of Himalayan region.
Springs of Nagri Parole:- There are many springs near this area falling in Kathua district. Just 3 to 4 kms down below Nagri parole is having natural spring adjoining an old pirsthan and people suffering from skin ailments are being cured after having a dip in this spring. It is believed that this is due to shrine Shakti of Pir Baba, but scientifically the water has been seen to have sulpher smell.
Springs at Airwan :- Airwan or Eravati, either way we name is located some 9-10 Kms from Nagri Parole and is the most prominent sacred place of shakti.
According to Upendra Giri from U.P amongst other Sadhus, who lookafter these temples of Lord Shiva and other Gods and Goddesses averred that these temples are centuries old and are of equal prominence as that of Kidarnath and Badrinath. There are two big springs where pilgrims from far away places including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana come here for holy dip on ‘Chaitra Chaudish’ in March every year, pay obeisance to the sacred shrine of lord Shiva. A big festival is held here as elsewhere in Purmandal and Uttarbani in Jammu. The Airwan (a small hamlet) links National Highway -1A stretching over a short distance of 9-10 kms at Sakta chak, near Ujh river
In the outskirts of Jammu city, many springs existed which now stand depleted excepting at ‘Bhair Devasthan’ around 15 kms from Jammu towards Udhampur. lt is a Shakti Shrine where natural spring exists alongside the Tawi and big fishes are in plenty and milk and kneaded balls of flour are offered. A miniscule number do exist at Jhajjarkotli & Udhampur(Devik) and while proceeding towards Billawar one finds many springs though now depleted/under depletion. These are Podu, Danga Ki Baoli, Bani, Banas, Gharat, Jeetu, Thana, Gami Ishri and lastly Panditain Wali Baoli and of all these ‘Khoon spring’ is most prominent.
Khoon-Spring:- Some 50 kms for far from Udhampur along Dhar road is existing this natural baoli with nectar-clear water and a main temple of lord Shiva also exists there, where people come to pay obeisance for blessings.
Sukrata Springs:- Though in miniscule number are fastly depleting and Thence proceeding uphill towards Machadi, which links Ranmagar through hilly terrain nestling amidst pines and deodar are having small natural springs with crystal-clear water of ample importance.
Basholi-Bani Springs:- The entire track is having many natural springs linking Bhadarwah and the entire sub-Himalayan region is as such plentiful of natural springs having crystal-clear water and the local populace subsist on their day to day requirement.
Gauri Kund Baollies There is a cluster of springs at Chenani town itself as well as ‘Guari Kund’ which are centuries old. Mata Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort used to have holy bath where she meditated in the vicinity of Sudhmahadev forests.
Sudmahadev’s Spring This-spring is also named as ‘Papnashi Baoli’ and is of high sanctity as it is believed that a holy dip in this spring washes off one’s sins. An annual mela lasting for couple of days is being celebrated in the first week of June where pilgrims from far away places come here, pay obeisance to lord Shiva’s centuries old temple. From Sudmahadev onwards to Man Talai, Bap, Sarar, Latti, Dhoona, Seri, Chari and finally one reaches Suezdhar (the origin of Tawi river). From the base of Suezdhar uphill, one gets down to Bhadarwah amidst nestling pines, herbs, shrubs and other multitudinal medicinal plants.
Kud Spring:- This spring is having its own importance, where nectar-clear water gushes out and is also called ‘Swami Wala Spring’. The tourists from India and abroad are having a short spell and a sweet taste of this natural spring of hilly resort where a temple of lord Shiva also exists where people from India and abroad throng for holy darshan.
Sanasar Spring Patnitop is a prominent hill resort on the tourist map of India and the World and Sansar takes its route barely 18 kms from here. Over the remote past, Sanasar was a prominent lake, now stands almost dried. Here exists natural spring also named as ‘Viran Spring’ whose water is crystal clear and sweet and from centuries old a small temple of chancer ‘Nag Devta’ exists where people from far flung areas throng here annually.
Batote Spring Two prominent springs are in existence in this picturesque spot of Batote Viz. Amrit and Lal Spring having nectar-clear elixir of life leasing water and tourists from lndia and abroad are having short-spells to enjoy taste of sweet fresh water.
Now on entering the charming Chenab valley which is having a long stretch of around 185 kms from Batote to the last reach of motorable Padder. This prominence of Sub-Himalayan region with picturesque spots and lovely valleys, impregnable natural citadels of Assar, Bagar, Khaleni, Doda, Premnagar,Thathri,Kishtwar, Dul Hasti, Padder and Atholi. The entire terrain and their hill tops/uplands are snow-capped during winter nestling amongst broad leaved and pines and other herbs, shrubs, aromatical and medicinal plants. The valleys are the melting spots for scholars and savants. Embracing and delicious fruits still add to the beauty and splendour. The mounting cliffs of padder valley look like tongue-shaped spurs with deep ravines and tributaries which drain into gorgeous chenab and it seems that here is the real life and all else is illusion. All along the road and their hill tops are dotted with ever-refreshing sweet water mini to mega springs with nectar-clear water and at places, the springs are with multi-coloured water soothing fatigued body and mind. These are of unaccountable in number and of the few prominent are in village Saroor whose water bath is’having the legend to help the barren couples, apart from hot springs viz Humar Nag, Pootnag, Tila Machi, Harel, Arhai, Mahalmag, Kundall, Amar, Murpunyar,Gadrash, Vadan, hot springs of Marwa-Dachan whose water cure orthopedic ailments such as gout and rhemutism. All these Baolies are the treasure trove of mountainous region and are revered places for ablutions and worship in these areas of far flung villages and hamlets. And of all these natural springs, one by name Tattapani of Kishtwar is of utmost importance.
Tattapani Spring (Kishtwar) This is a hot spring also named as Tattavani, located in the Paddar valley of Kishtwar. lt has been seen that rice placed in cloth when dipped gets boiled just like hot springs of H.P. (Manikarn Kulu).This spring is barely around 20 kms from Kishtwar in Nagseni range of Sub Himalayan region of Kishtwar.
Tattapani Spring (Atholi-Kishtwar):- This spring is of immensive prominence sanctity and has been referred to as Sheshnag in the old scripture.
Marwa springs (Kishtwar): These springs are having life-leasing nectar-clear water but are moderately hot and water is medicure of multihued ailments of various diseases though quite unbelievable in present scenario.
And now on entering Bhadarwah from Pul-Doda, we find vale of Bhaderwah also nomenclaturised as ‘Chhota Kashmir’ constitute an ellipse within the lush green, vibrant and slabrious greenery in the mountainous valley. Bhadarwah, infact, an airy Kingdom with blazing of glory dwelling well within the soul the ‘hesouled Bhadarwah’. The enchanting valley with high mountains, towering cliffs., uplands. and green carpet like be-gemming meadows, lakes, rivers, rivulets and their tributaries and lastly the ever-refreshingly springs with nectar-clear life-leasing water and at places turquoise blue water fed by Shimmering snowy tops hold up their mirrors to the azure sky.
Kallash Kund:- Around 15 Kms from Bhadarwah township is located a mega spring so to say a lake and it is abode of ‘Yasuki Nag’. People from far flung areas within and outside from other state visit this sacred resort in huge number in their colourful attire on ‘Tridishi’ after a fortnight of ‘Raksha Bandhian’, around the year and it is having crystal clear water of immensive significance.
Gupt Ganga: It is an underground Ganga alongside Neeru rivulet where nectar clear water flows perennially and there are cluster of fishes of varied colours and people feed these with kneaded balls of flour. A sacred temple of prehistoric time of Mahabharata exists alongside Neeru Nallah and within the temple, there is a huge Dlingam of Lord Shiva. In and around the vicinity are few natural springs where nector clear water bubbles out.
Parnala Spring:– This spring is having its own prominence with blue greenish water and lies within the Bhadarwah town along other Nallah and enjoy an equal prominence of purity and sancity.
Chabra Spring: This spring is having plentiful of life-leasing crystal-clear water of ample importance and it gives scenic beauty of the spot apart from to fulfill daily requirements of fresh water for the local populace of Bhadarwah town itself.
Suraj Baoli: This is locally spoken as ‘Ashapati’ and is an old sacred tirthstan situated towards south-east of Bhadarwah, some 8-l0 kms. Though its history is missing, yet its genesis is from ‘Sanskrit’ version as ‘Suvarnavapi’ viz. sun’s pond. This lies under snowy cover in the lap of mountainous region and water gushes out from the sacred spring once in the year on ‘Amavasya’ when people from far-flung areas come over here with utmost reverence in ‘Bhija village’ where this sacred spring is situated. The delighted devotees come in the form of holy mace get holy dip to wash-off their sins and then stay there for night and celeberate festival and mela on the other day with enchanting folk songs and dances with traditional blowing of flutes, beating of drums with melodious music which echo the softening sky. This is being celebrated in the 15th day of the dark half of Assu (a deshi month).
Khakhal spring:- ‘Ban Nagrari’ are the two other springs in the same vicinity of Bhadarwah and their nectar-clear water is of ample medicinal value and remedial for multitudinal ailments.
Ghatha spring This spring is of prehistoric period, reported to be of Mahabharta time when Pandhavas spent most of the time in sojourn in these mountainous region.
Udrana spring Located near ‘Vask Nag’ temple just on the entrance of Bhadarwah town is famous for its spirituality and sancitity and is worshiped with due devotion and reverence by all those who come over here.
Fort Spring- This is located near historical fort of Bhaderwah, natural water gushes out which is of its own prominence and significance. The water of the spring is nectar-clear and of its own significance.
Sona Bain- or golden spring with colourful water which remains perennially under snow and as per legend golden balls are reported be there under snow. Apart from these springs there are multitudinal other mini springs spreaded over the entire Bhadarwah enjoying their own Kingdom of prominancy with blazing glory which dwell well within undug and unfounded vide, varied mysteries. There are plentiful of small threadly spreaded rattling tributaries with turquoise where the deciduous belts meet the silent, scerene, vibrant and slabrious Bhadarwah valley.