Chander M. Bhat
is one of the 11 districts that make up Kashmir
Valley. The city finds a pride place in Bhagavad
Gita that says, “I am Anant Naga”. Anantnag is
home to highly honoured shrines from any faith,
practicing it with utmost belief. Anantnag is an
ancient city which came into existence as a market
town around 5000 BC making it one of the oldest
urban settlements in the whole world. Famous Lal
Chowk of Anantnag is a big trade centre of the town
and it was the seat of one of the oldest degree
colleges in Jammu and Kashmir State.
Author inside Temple Complex
to ancient mythological stories, the name Anant Nag
is given to the place because Lord Shiva during his
journey to Amarnath cave left all his valuables on
the way and Anant Nag was the place where he is
supposed to have left countless number of serpents
residing on him. Anant nag is also well mentioned in
ancient Naga and Pichash chronicles of ancient
aboriginals of the valley. It was also known as
Kashyapteshwara in ancient times linking it to the
mythology of Kashyap Reshi. In ancient times, it was
called the Inder Nag.
also means numerous in the Sanskrit language and
Naga means springs in the Kashmiri language. Thus
Anantnag is believed to mean numerous springs
because here are many springs including Nagbal,
Salak Nag and Malik Nag in the town. Thus every part
of Anantnag town resides on a crest of water. Few
feet depth brings water to the surface. Anantnag is
a perfect Vastu Shastra location by nature. On one
side is a hillock releasing endless water from its
feet. Localities are thus blessed with this perfect
Vastu creation of nature.
name of Anantnag District according to a well known
archaeologist, Sir A. Stein, comes from the great
spring Anant Naga issuing at the centre of the city.
This is also corroborated by almost all local
historians including Kalhana according to whom the
city has taken the name of this great spring of
Cesha or Anant Naga land of countless springs. The
spring is mentioned in Neelmat Puran as a sacred
place for the Hindus and Koshur Encyclopaedia
testifies it. Mendi Kadal, one of the localities of
Anantnag town was famous for magic waters that cured
leprosy patients. Anantnag town was a transit camp
for Amarnath Pilgrims in olden days.
town of Anantnag is constituted by three main
boroughs or towns viz. Anantnag, Khanabal and Mattan.
The old city of Anantnag comprises Nagbal, Maliknag,
Kadipora, Cheeni Chowk, Doni Pawa, Sarnal Bala,
Janglatmandi, Old Port Khanabal, Downtown Martand
and Dangarpora areas and few villages like Haji
Danter, Mir Danter etc.
1200 households of Kashmiri Pandits were living in
Anantnag town and almost entire community joined in
mass exodus during 1990. Most of the Kashmiri Pandit
community were either in Government Service or had
their own business establishments in the town. Noted
Kashmiri Pandits from Anantnag who made their name
on national scene were Sh. Piarey Lal Handoo, Sh
Prem Nath Bhat, Dr. A.N.Safaya etc. Chirvi’s,
Zutshi’s, Goja’s, Jad’s and Guzerwan’s were
noted business families in the town.
is centre seat of Maraz segment of Kashmir and its
language culture is unique in comparison to other
segments of Kashmir Valley. It was a land locked
place from Verinag...Kokernag belt and from Qazigund...Shopian
belt. This advantageous position left lesser impact
on its culture by Huns, Kushans and Afghans.
Anantnag three streams namely Arapath, [the glacier
waters from Mrigin Mountain and streamlets from
springs of Chahaer and Brahmasar form Aripat] Bringi
[Bringi freshet is formed by the glacier waters from
the Hokhsar Mountain and various other streams from
Springs of Navbhug and Kokernag] and Sandran [the
glacier waters from Brari Mountain and streams from
Verinag and other springs of Shahabad from Sandran]
confluence together and mingles with Veyth. Another
stream Liddar [Lamboodri] also joins the flow with
them at a little distance downstream further ahead.
Nagbal temple is in the eastern corner of the
Anantnag town, placed adjacent to a spring. There
are long shady Chinar trees that stand sentinel
round the tank. The presiding deity of the Nagbal
temple is Lord Ananta Bhawan set up at the outlet of
the spring. The temple was built by Maharaja Ranbir
Singh, the 2nd Dogra ruler of Kashmir.
There are also other smaller temples in the temple
complex. Shiva temple, the oldest temple, was built
during the reign of Maharaja Partap Singh. A sulphur
spring, which is believed to possess spiritual
power, is also located in the temple complex. Nagbal
is bounded by incredible beauty.
holy spring which originates from here and the
formation of which is attributed to Vishno or
Narayana is said to be a Vedic pilgrimage centre.
The spring rises beautifully from the foot of a
small hill-lock and is dedicated to the worship of
Ananta or Vishno. Annual festival is held on beuuderpeth gat’iu pachh tsodah.
shrine of Reshi Mol Sahib is situated in the centre
of the Anantnag town and is at a stone’s throw
distance from Nagbal and famous Devibal Shrine is
also located nearby.
a small stone temple is located near Nagbal Temple
complex and is dedicated to the Mata Ragnya. Inside
the temple is the sanctum sanctorum, which is about
12 square feet in size, in the middle of which is 6
square feet holy spring. The Ragnya is said to have
blessed the spring. According to a legend, Wazir
Pannu, who was a minister during Dogra rule, had a
dream in which the goddess revealed to him the
secret of her presence in the holy spring and left
it to the care of Pandit Balkak, a priest. Maharaja
Pratap Singh used to visit the shrine during his
travel from Jammu to Srinagar or back, pray and make
offerings. He is also believed to have donated land
to the shrine.
may come down from land of shepherds or from the
land of modernity, the smooth transition from one
site to this site; creates a unique experience of
soul purification as clay of Anantnag has touched
the feet of Lord Shiva and graced by Mata Ragnya. A
stay at Anantnag is a saga of memory for anyone who
descends on it.