Amaresvara Tradition in
By Dr. Ramesh Kumar
the holy cave of Lord Amarnath in the upper Sindh Valley is as old as the dawn
of history in Kashmir. Amaresvara tradition has remained fairly strong in
Kashmir. Many Kashmiris
who could not brave the arduous terrain recreated symbols of Siva Amaresvara at
different places in the Valley for worship.
One such place has been
the large village of Amburher, 4 miles to the north of Srinagar city. The
village lies to the west of Zakura (old Juskapura), on the shore of Anchar lake
towards Sindh Valley. The old name for Amburher is Amresvara (Rajatarangini),
Amarespura (Jonaraja) and Amaresvara (Pt. Sahib Ram's Tirath Samgraha).
The village derives its
name from the shrine of Siva Amresvara. In this temple Amaresvara Linga was
worshipped. Sir Aurel Stein visited this place in June 1895 and found ancient
slabs and sculptured fragments in and around the Ziarat of Farrukhzad Sahib. He
says these remains possibly belong to this temple
The temple of Amburher is
very old. In old times the pilgrimage to the holy cave
of Amarnath would start with pilgrims praying at the shrine of Siva Amresa at
There are two types of
references to Amburher in Rajatarangini. One, on Queen Suryamati's endowing the
shrine of Amresa with Agraharas and a Matha in 1005-1006 AD. The second
reference refers to the military operations at the village during the reign of
King Sussala in 1112-1120 AD. The strategic importance of village Amburher lay
in its being located on the high road connecting the Sindh Valley with the
Suryamati was Queen of
King Ananta (1028-1063), the last of Sahi Princes. There are two references in
Rajtarangini linking her to the shrine of Amresa at Amburher:
In 7th Taranga Kalhana
records "She founded two maths by the side of shrines of Vijayesa and Amaresa
under the names of her brother Sillana and of her husband respectively" (verse
"She also granted under
her husband's name Agraharas at Amaresvara and arranged for the consecration for
Trisulas, Banalingas and other sacred emblems" (verse 185).
References to the military
operations in which King Sussala was besieged by rebels are found in 8th Taranga
of Rajtarangini in verses 506-590 and 1124.
Amri in Lolab
In the picturesque Lolab Valley
lies the village of Sewer where many Kashmiri Pandit families lived before 1990.
About 2½ miles from Sewer lies the village of Afaan. This village is inhabited
mostly by Kashmiris. A few Gujjar families also live here.
2½ kms uphill journey
through Deodar forests leads to a small meadow. In this meadow is the cave of 'Amri'
(Amresvara). For entering the cave one has to descend down 20 ft over steps cut
in Deodar pole. A small (10 ft x 10 ft) space down has three pathways leading
from it. When one stands on the pathways on the right or left side lot of noise
is heard. No noise is heard on the central pathway. There are no reliefs in the
As per local lore 150
years ago a Gujjar had gone to tend his flock of sheep at the meadow. He saw a
hermit (sadhu) milking goat in a coconut cup near a spring, a little away
from 'Amri' cave. The small spring had a tiny tea shrub near it. The spring is
no longer extant. The Gujjar was highly impressed with this scene. The hermit
blessed Gujjar and asked him not to reveal what he had scene. Soon the Gujjar
grew very rich. This invited jealousy from his fellow villagers, who asked him
to reveal the secret of his quick affluence. The Gujjar with great reluctance
revealed what he had seen at 'Amri' cave. Sometime later he had climbed on a
tree. A bear emerged and tore out eyes of the Gujjar. The latter fell down from
the tree and succumbed to his injuries. It is quite possible that 'Amri' cave
might have been the site of holy pilgrimage in olden times.
Siva Amresvara Darsana:
Saint Mukund Ram Tikoo was
spiritual guru of Pt. Krishan Joo Razdan, Kashmir's famous Leela poet. Pt.
Mukand Ram had his estate in Sindh
Valley. One day he had gone to Baltal area (in 1879s) in the company of his
disciple, Pt. Iswar Munshi. On seeing a milky white stream, Pt. Mukund Ram asked
Pt. Iswar Munshi to accompany him to trace the source of this stream. They
trekked along the stream and reached the holy cave
This is how Baltal route was discovered . At the holy cave Saint Mukand Ram was
blessed with darsana of Siva Amresvara. On his return to Srinagar Pt. Mukand Ram
asked famous portrait painter, Pt. Vasudev Garyali to make painting of Siva
Amresvara. What he saw at the cave he conveyed the description to the painter in
8 verses. This painting, forbidden from photography, is worshipped on the day of
Sivratri (Salaam) at Muthi Jammu.