Chander M. Bhat 
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Vichar Nag Temple

The Seat of Discussion and Thought

by Chander M. Bhat

“Destroyed is my delusion as I have gained my knowledge through thy grace, “O” Krishana. I am now freed from all doubts. I will act according to my word; promised Arjuna after listening to wonderful recitals from Yogeshwar. This thought or Vichar of Kesva transformed a non act into decisive action. The recitals of this sacred thought are now blood in the veins of Sanatan Dharma.”

Shiva watching the remains of the Eternal Spring
Shiva watching the remains of the Eternal Spring

Beating the dreams of thought in the heart of the land of Kashyapa, the blissful Vichar Nag gained popularity due to, it, being the seat of discussion and presentation of thought for learned Kashmiri ethos for settlement of disputes of Panchang, Mahurats and religious reformations.

Vichar Nag is situated on Srinagar-Leh highway at a distance about 9 km from commercial centre of Kashmir, Lal Chowk. On Chaitra Amavasiya, the last day of Kashmiri calendar, a festival is celebrated at this place. Legendary Shri Bhat, the bane of transformation of Sultan Zainulabidin ‘Badshah’ hailed from this area.

My heart is bleeding seeing the people ignoring me
My heart is bleeding seeing the people ignoring me

Vichar Nag is in the heartland of Naushara locality of outer Srinagar. Famous Anchar Lake is adjacent to this monumental pride of ancient Kashmir. Vichar Nag has also a historical place on its east known as Awanta Bhawan dating its origin to king Meghwahana and this place finds its traces in Kalhan Pandits Rajtarangni as built by Meghwahans wife Queen Amrita Prabha.
Vichar Nag is famous for its spring and two age old Shiva temples. One temple is made of chisled and dressed devri stones. There is a necklace of springs but the locket is the big spring which is a centre of attraction and sanctity. The spring has a length of 430 feet and breadth of 35 feet. Big sized ‘Devri’ stones have been used for construction of stairs to the spring on West and South side. There is no access on north and east side probably to face the morning glory of the Sun.

The spring has a boundary walling of stones and the images of some Devi, Devtas are inscribed on them. In the middle of the spring there is a stone cylinder of about 3 feet height and a Shivalingam is resting on it. On one corner, the water gushes out from a small outlet and fills the other springs. From there the water comes out in the shape of a small brook and joins the outlet brook of ‘Mukhta Pukhri’ spring. After covering a sizeable distance it flows into Lake Anchar.

The spring water contains different verities of fish. The water turns ice cold in summer and lukewarm in winter. It is held that this spring changes its colour from time to time and images of any blackish colour are held as most in-auspicious.

In the vicinity of Vichar Nag, there are many springs and water of some of the springs has clinical value as it is useful in treatment of some skin diseases. Vichar Nag had a number of willow trees in its surrounding and now only few of them can be traced. Even Kalhan Pandit had mentioned existence of walnut trees in Vichar Nag and mentioned about the simplicity of Kashmiri Pandits living in and around this temple.

Vichar Nag was seat of thought and Kashmiri Brahmins used to discuss Panchang over here. It is believed that one learned Kashmiri Brahmin Sh. Vasdev’s ‘almnac’ was once held as incorrect by some other Brahmins. After discussion at this place, the work of Sh. Vasdev Pandit was found correct.

On Chaitra Amavasiya, the last day of Kashmiri calendar, a festival is celebrated at this place. On this day devotees take a bath in the holy spring and there after performed puja in the Shiva Temple known as ‘Vichar Saheb’. It is believed that 4th Buddhist council, which was held in Kashmir also, was held at Vichar Nag. Vichar Nag was a transit spot for pilgrims of Kshir Bhawani, Tullamulla and Gangabal as scarce transport facilities did not allow continuous journey.

Before the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley, the management of this holy shrine was in the hands of trust Asthapan Vichar Nag.

Would now some body come and see from the erstwhile managers that the Vichar Nag spring is now an abode of water plants with a green top rest hiding clear crystal water and Vichar Saheb seeing dogs; resting in his place, where he used to see Dhoop, Agarbaties, Bel leaves and flower petals from devote Kashmir’s, would the trust or Government authorities wake up and see Dharmshalla with hallowed doors and windows? Would any body from authority raise his hand and bring back the glory and legacy of Vichar Nag? Hey if we don’t care, we will loose this great inheritance to encroachment and time. Remember Vichar Nag was a place where time was decided and now time should not be allowed to decide it.

 

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