Chander M. Bhat 
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Amrit Kund, Pokhribal

by Chander M. Bhat

Chander BhatBorn 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....More...

Pokhribal is a place just below the hillock of Hari Parvat in its North-West corner close to Kathi Darwaza on the one side and close to Nagin Lake on the other. It is a famous place of pilgrimage since ancient times. Pokhri means spring and Bal a place….the place of springs. Originally square in plan, the temple is centered on a spring which lies at the centre of the cella surrounded by many Chinar trees. The water from the spring flows out beneath the northern wall into a Kund before joining the waters of the Nagin Lake. An ancient Shiva temple stands overlooking the holy Kund. The entry to the temple is from the northern side with a circumambulatory path going around. The internal ceiling of the temple is formed from a shallow dome, which starts at the lintel level spanning from an arched string course. The painted CGI sheet covered Shikhara seems to be of later addition. At the back of the temple, along the southern face a portion has been added which opens onto the cella. The walls of the temple are constructed in stone and brick masonry covered with cement plaster. In older portion of the temple stone flooring is retained while rest of the portion is covered with plain cement flooring. The most prominent decorative features of the temple are the carved eaves board and the carved wooden balustrades. This shrine is presently maintained by Amrit Kond Committee. (1)

Pokhribal shrine

The Shrine

The ancient shrine, revered by Kashmiri Pandits, is famous for two ancient temples….one dedicated to Shiva and the other to Uma Devi, a representation of Sharika. The Pokhribal complex has Amrit Kond, Holy Spring, bathing spring, Suraj Kond, building with store, kitchen, hall; big chinar tree, the Shivalinga and the main temple in its premises. The shrine also has Hawasnshala and L shaped two storey building with number of rooms, a kitchen and two halls. The Amrit Kond, considered holy, is rectangular in shape and its holy water flows into other spring and then into the Nagin Lake. It is said that the feet of goddess Sharika rest in Amrit Kond. Devotees not only visit this shrine on a regular basis but also organize Bhajan and Puja on various occasions. Many saints and seers, namely, Swami Anand Ji, Swami Nand Bab, Swami Razdan Sahib, Swami Sona Kak and many others, have performed their Sadhana at the Amrit Kond and were blessed. Some devotees have also built an Asthapana at Bantalab, Jammu. (2)

During the spring of 1944 or 1945, when almond trees were in full bloom, a group of devotees sitting in front of Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji requested him to go with them to Hari Parvat, which is surrounded by almond orchards. He asked another person present, Pt Nila Koul Saraf, also to accompany him. But Pt Nila Koul said, 'The Devi is here also. Why should we go there?' However, somehow he was prevailed upon to go and the party of nine including Bhagawaan Ji, left for Hari Parvat at about 12 noon. They entered the Shrine through the exit gate of Kaathi Darwaaza and proceeded to the Pokhribal Temple, inside which is a holy spring. As soon as they opened the small outer wicket gate, they saw a small girl of about five years, alone, playing with the fallen Chinar leaves with a stick. They entered the inner gate and sat on a wooden platform inside the Shrine premises. Bhagawaan Ji asked Pt Nila Koul to get the small girl inside the Shrine. As soon as Pt Nila Koul brought her, Bhagawaan Ji made her sit on his lap and fed to her nadermunja (a fried preparation made from lotus roots and rice flour) which he had asked a man (while they had been far away from the Shrine) to fetch from a confectioner's shop at Devi Aangan. After feeding her, Bhagawaan Ji asked Pt Nila Koul to escort her back. She moved fast after coming out of the inner gate and disappeared. Pt Nila Koul came back. The party returned after taking salted tea. En-route, as they came out of Kaathi Darwaaza, Pt Nila Koul said to Bhagawaan Ji banteringly, 'Have you shown me the darshan of the Devi?' Bhagawaan Ji said, 'Did you not see the Devi, Whom you called to sit with us? Was she not fed nadermunja by me and did you not escort her back, at my bidding?' Pt Nila Koul understood the position and fell down in a swoon. With difficulty, he was almost dragged home by the party. (3)

At present the shrine is under renovation. The land in front of the shrine adjacent to Nagin Lake has been leveled and some 200 popular trees have been planted. Dharamshalas are still being occupied by Central Reserve Police Forces.  

Shiv Lingam

Shiv Lingam

Notes and References:

  1. Shehar-i-Kashmir, Cultural Resource Mapping of Srinagar City, Vol:2, Published by Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage, J&K Chapter (INTACH), 2010 edition.

  1. Encyclopedia: Kashmiri Pandit: Culture & Heritage by C.L.Kaul, published by Ansh Publications, 2009.

  1. Jagadguru Bhagwaan Gopinath ji  (Chapter V): Shanker Nath Fotedar.

 

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