Bujbror - An Ancient Religious Place
by P. N. Bhat
Kashmir is the Treasure House for
archeologists, historians and researchers. It abounds in places of religious
importance too. Kashmir is known as Rishiwari or Rishivatika, where Rishis of
yore meditated and attained God- realization. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains
and ever green forests on all sides, it offered them seclusion and peace,
necessary for the pursuit of knowledge. It is because of that Kashmir came to be
known as Shardapeeth - the Seat of learning. It produced great scholars of
Sanskrit, Hinduism, Budhism and Islam.
Kalhana, the great historian of Kashmir
while enumerating sources of Kashmir history, made a mention of Gangodbheda in
Sloka 35, Vol. I of his world famous Rajtarangini as under:
A mention of this place is made in
Nilmatpurana also as under:
Gangodbheda, according to Kalhana and
Nilmatpurankara was a very sacred place under the foot of the Bheda mountain of
the Peer Panjal Range in western Kashmir. Gangodbheda Mahatmya gives a vivid
description of this sacred place and the days of its pilgrimage. It also gives
an account of its origin.
(Rishi Palustya, doing a long penance in the land of Sati, had made the divine
Ganga gust forth near him from Mount Himvat for the purpose of his sacrifice.
After completing his worship, the sage wished to discharge the river. He was
stopped by a divine voice of Goddess Saraswati from the sky. She told the Saint
that the stream has its source in the mountain in the forest called Bheda and at
place would arise the holy Gangodbheda on the top of hill where the ground level
extended to 10 Dhanusha (both in width and length), a great pond full of pure
water would be formed without a dam and removed from the water of torrents.
At its eastern foot, a stream called
Abhaya, a purifier from all sins is to issue which neither fails to flow nor
leaps down over the steep slope. The divine voice then informed the Rishi that
the holy Ganga would manifest itself in this shape only for 10 days each month,
flowing for the remainder period both in the heaven and the hell. At the same
time, he is granted a boon. Palustya, there upon, praised the spiritual powers
of the river and prayed that it might rest for ever by his side. His boon was
granted and the Gangodbheda Tirtha was created.
To obtain the slight of the Goddess whose
voice he had heard, the Rishi undertook a hard penance. After a thousand years
Saraswati - Goddess of knowledge, appeared to him from the sky in the form of a
flamingo (Rajhans). Having been worshipped by him on the 8th and 9th day of the
bright half of Chaitra the Goddess explained her sixfold nature. With reference
to this, the sage gave her the name of Bheda and proceeded to worship her as
Hanswageshwari- Bheda. On the 14th and 15th of bright fortnight of Chaitra. Ever
since the Goddess has been worshipped at the Gangodbheda Tirtha on the 8th, 9th,
14th and 15th of the bright fortnight of Chaitra.
The Gangodbheda Mahatmya also mentions
about a neighbouring shrine of Govardhana Vishnu near which no snow ever falls
for a distance of 125 hastas (one hasta-4 inches). A miraculous image of Yama,
called Aujas set up for the Rishi at the same place, is also referred to. It is
to be worshipped on the Amavasya of Ashvauja (Asay) (Aashvin) or on the 14th
dark day of Magha. The Mahatmya also refers to Ramasharm, Ramausa and hermitage
of Saptarshis and to the Vaitarni river. Those sacred places were visited at the
time of pilgrimage of Gangodbheda Tirtha.
Nilmatpurana gives a brief description of
Gangodbheda Katha stream which is none other than Abhaya. Aujas, though
mentioned as an image of Yama in Mahatmya, is described as a stream near here.
Narayansthana is none other than Goverdhandhara Vishnu of the same Mahatmya,
Ramtirtha is the Romshi (Ramusha) river, Aparastirtha, Rishi-tirtha and Vaitarni
are also mentioned in Nilmatpurana from 1359 to 1366 slokas. All these tirthas
are enroute to Gangodbheda and are ordained to be visited without fail. There is
mention of other tirthas also near Gangodbheda in Nilmatpurana.
A mention of Gangodbheda tirtha is also
made in Abdul Fazals' Ain-e-Akbari. He says, "near Shukroh in a low hill on
the summit of which is a fountain which flows throughout the year and is a
pilgrimage for the devout. The snow does not fall in this spur.". The
Shukroh mentioned here is the pargana of Shukru which is near Romush immediately
on the south. Abdul Fazal here refers to the Bheda hill. Shrivar also makes a
mention of this place in his Rajtarangini in 494 verse as under:
The forces of Mohmmad Shah under the
command of Jehangir the Margesha of Mohmmad Shah, met the forces of Maqsood Khan
at Drabgam- headquarters of Shakoor Pargana. Maqsood Khan was defeated. He and
his defeated army left the Valley by the Bhedavan route. So Gangodbheda was
still known to the populace, though Kashmir had come under Muslim rule those
days. But the Hindus must have been going on pilgrimage to this place. Shukrut
or Shukroo is now known as Shohwur to the people there.
Gangodbheda has undergone change in its
nomenclature with the passage of time. It became known as Budbrar and later as
Bujbror. It was a part of Shukoor Parrgana and later of Haripura district. Up to
1978, it was in the Anantnag district and its tehsil was Pulwama. With the re-organisation
of districts in the Valley, it came under Pulwama district. It is in the Kellar
block of Pulwama tehsil.
Budbror is located at a height of 7,800
feet above sea level under the foot of the western Pirpanjal mountain range. It
is on the famous Rajouri- Kalampora (Kalyanppur of Rajtarangini) road. A mention
of this route is made very often in Rajtarangini of Kalhana, Jaunraja, Srivara
and Prajyabhata. Rajouri (Rajpuri of olden days) was a part of the Kashmir
kingdom. Very often invasions on Kashmir have been made through this route in
the past. Even Mohmood Gaznavi had assembled his forces at Rajouri to attack
Kashmir but later he gave up the idea after he got a lot of gifts from the King
Budbror has lost its glory and has gone
into oblivion. No pilgrimage is made of that Tirtha now. It was M.A. Stein who
brought this place to light again on September 16, 1895, when he reached there.
He arrived in Hawal village on September 15, 1895 and was shown a temple there
known as Beedaibal, situated on the outskirts of the west of the village just
near Nala Laar. But the description as made in Rajtarangini did not satisfy him-Suraj
Bayu, a purohit of Hawal took him to Kellar near Drabagam and thence to Budabror
where the location was the same as described in Nilmatpurana and Rajtarangini.
Budbror is at a distance of six miles to
the south- west of Kellar. The route is uneven and it passes through paddy
fields and then on the right of Bidnai steam under the foot of the hills. There
are orchards of apples, almonds, walnuts, etc., on both sides of the route. Upon
the hills are pine trees and still up on the mountains is snow that makes the
place most charming. The Bidnai stream is formed of the water of Batsar, which
is on the top of the mountain. Even today, the Gujjar there will tell you that
there are images of Raja and Rani in Batsar Lake whom village folk pay obeisance
At the foot of Bhedagiri is a small ridge
about 30 yards from the north-east to the south-west and a little less from the
north-west to the south-east. There is a square shaped tank of pure water
enclosed on all sides by old, decayed stone-steps. Each side of the tank is
about 55 feet. It is in fact a spring and its water oozes from its north. There
are some decayed stones on which disfigured images of gods and goddesses still
are noticed. The water of the tank flows out from the southern end down the spur
to join the Bidnai down below.
At a distance of about six feet, all
around the edge of the tank, are the remains of the rough stone wall which once
enclosed the sacred tank. There are remains of the foundation of a Dharamshala
on the south of the tank. About 15 feet to the south-west of the tank is a big
boulder about 5 feet long and about 3 feet high. On its smooth surface towards
west are carved two lingas with bhadrapeethas (bases). Each linga is about one
foot high. In between the two lingas and on either side of them are carved the
images of Goddesses with Kalshas (pots) of water in their both hands. The
Goddesses are seated on Swans. The swans on the right and left of the linga on
the right side face each other while the third on the extreme left is broken and
only its legs are visible. The boulder has been broken on the right in the ratio
There are parts of broken earthen-ware,
red bricks boulders and foundations to the south-west of the tank. The tank ends
its adjoining place never freezes in winter even after a heavy snowfall and the
tank water always retains the same level. The Gujjars live just near the tank.
They regard it very sacred and keep its sanctity intact. They pour milk into it
and tie threads to the shrubs around the tank for the fulfilment of their
desires. They confide that their desires are mostly fructified.
I visited Bujbror last on July 22,1994
alongwith Shri Arjun Dev Majboor and Shri Makhan Lal Goja. We found the place in
a very bad shape as the tank was filled with broken branches of nearby pine
trees, filth and stones that had been washed away in it by the rains. The
stone-steps had broken. The water was lukewarm and shore in sunshine. I also
That very year Swami Moti Lal Brahmachari
and some Hindus of Battapora Shopian visited the place and cleansed the tank and
smeared sindoor on the lingas of the boulders. They had planned to visit that
tirtha every year to revive its past glory. But that was not to be. Pilgrimage
to Budbror continued up to 1893 as is stated by Stein. I also enquired from the
Gujjars and local Muslims of Kellar about the time when Kashmiri Pandits had
stopped visiting the place. They said it must have been long ago. But the Hindus
who worked in government offices at Kellar visited Bujbror, bathed in the Bidnai
and worshipped there.
Shakroo is now known as Shohwur. A hamlet
near Kellar, old red bricks earthenpots and idols are found there even now.
There I saw a big stone known as Shukurpal. It is of quadrilateral shape. The
locals say that there was cremation ground there and it is even now called
Shokur Awarain. Pal in Kashmiri means a big stone and Awrain a cremation ground.
The locals say that there was a bonfire and historians of its past. The Moghuls,
the Pathans and that continued burning for many years. The locals, though now
Muslims, placed chopped wood on it to burn. They too considered it sacred and
called it gosaindooni. On a threat from someone, they stopped placing wood on it
and the fire extinguished.
Just above Bujbror is Bidar, Yarikhal and
still above is Radhikhal, Sirchkor and on the mountain top is the Sukhsar. There
are many margs or meadows round about Bujbror They are Jrakjikhal, panzikhal,
Razikhal, Katarikhal and Hassankhal. The people of the area send their cattle to
these grazing fields during summer. Khal in Kashmiri means a place where paddy
or other grain is stored after harvesting it.
Budbror or Bujbror has lost its past glory
but its historical and religious importance will continue for all times to come.
The spring and the stone on which are carved the lingas and images of Goddess
Wageshwari will always remind the visitors the Sikhs passed through Bujbror.
There caravans must have halted there for rest before going ahead. The route
down to Srinagar passes through Kellar, Dralgam (Brabhagram of Rajtarangini),
Romooh (Ramosh), Newa and Wathora. I wonder if the boulder that had Shiv Linga
and Goddess Saraswati carved on it exists now. The bigots and anti-Hindu
terrorists who rule the roost in the happy Valley now might have broken it to
pieces but the tank will be there for us to remind of the golden period of the
Hindus who are the real inheritors of Kashmir.