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
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
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
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 of Kashmir.
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 even now.
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 of 1:3.
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
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 drank it.
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