Chander M. Bhat 
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Takshak Nag, Zevan

by Chander M. Bhat

Village Zevan is situated at a short distance beyond Pandrenthan on the Srinagar Jammu highway. This village was founded by King Kalasha (1089-1011) who, despite his confrontation with his father Ananta and mishandling of his son Harsha, appears to have attained some reputation as a strong ruler. Jayavana, as it was named by the founder, may have commemorated Kalash’s victory over his enemies of whom a ruler of his temperament could not have a few. Two persons close to him in his family bore the name Jaya. One was a concubine Jayamati who joined six of kalasha’s queens in committing self-immolation a his death. Whether she had persuaded the king to found the village in her name is not known. The second was his son Jayaraja from his favourite concubine Kayya. There is no clue to his association with Jayavan, now Zevan.1

 

Shiv Temple

Shiv Temple

This village is famous for Takshak Nag, which is visited by pilgrims, who undertake a pilgrimage to Harishwar. The spring is situated in this village. It is said that saffron has originated from the spring and that its cultivation has spread in its neighbourhood. It is related that the Lord of the spring offered Hakim Waga Bhat, the saffron bulbs as a token of reward for curing his eye ailment. Bilhan the great Sanskrit poet, who flourished in 11th century, was born at Khunmoh (a village at a distance of 5 km. towards the east of Zewan). He described the spring as "A pool filled with pure water sacred to Takshak the Lord of Snakes"; Abdul Fazal records the facts that this spring is held to be the place where from saffron originated and flourished in the neighbourhood. In the time of Akbar, the cultivators worshipped at the spring at the beginning of each spring season. To get successful crops it was customary to pour cow's milk in it. As a local divinity Takshak Naga retained sanctity and importance for long with cultivators. Pilgrims when on their way to Harishwar cave offer Puja at the spring on the twelfth of the dark fortnight of Jeth corresponding to the month of June. Where relating the story of Chander Lekha-the beautiful Naga damsel-the great poet Historian, Kalhana mentions the name of the spring in the Rajatarangini as a place of pilgrimage. The inclusion of the spring as a Tirtha in the list of Tirthas recorded in Mahabharata signifies its antiquity. At present the spring stands intact with embankments of chiselled stones full of pure and sweet water. The spring measures 50' x 50' and has depth of 3'. The water source is in the North east corner of the spring.

Steps leading to Takshak Nag

Steps leading to Takshak Nag

This shrine finds a mention in Rajatarangini and the works of Bilhana and Abul Fazal. Giving reference to Bilhana, Aurel Stein says that the poet mentions in the “place of high rising monuments” the "pool filled with pure water sacred to Takshaka, Lord of Snakes". [Some Marvels of Kashmir, Prof. C. L. Sadhu]2.

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.

Image Gallery: http://ikashmir.net/gallery/categories.php?cat_id=257 

   

 

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