My Pilgrimage to
Jwala Ji at Khrew
By Sunil Bhat
Stunned to see the level of desecration, my elder son Ayushmaan began
clicking his camera towards water point which is the source of the spring at
Khrew where devotees would usually take a sacred dip before proceeding for
darshan of Holy Jawala Ji temple. The spring as it is today, devoid of any of
the splendid idols which were there even when my family last visited this holy
shrine some 5 years back. Ayushman washed his face, offered the ritual puja
towards non existing idols and asked me in choked voice, “Papa, Murtiyan
Kahaan hai?”. Unmindful of the hurt we would have been through at the site of
this devastated devasthan which was so aesthetically neat & clean in 1990,
many young local Muslim boys started jumping into the water, swimming so
acrobatically as if to show that they damn care for any such sensitivity which
me and my son exhibited through a stony expression on our faces. So huge was the
impact of their nmchalant attitude, that my mere standing near the shores of the
spring was becoming unbearable to them. The complete anarchic condition of the
Holy base point to my pilgrimage to Mata Jawala Ji at Khrew haunted me all the
day. Bu that time I withdrew myself alongwith my family from the spring site,
the young kids had overwhelmed the spring so heavily with their jumps and awful
swin skirmishes that all the impurities which usually residing at the bottom of
such water bodies were floating at the top. Whole site of the spring
surroundings gave a pathetic look but for the satirical laugh from the naked
youngsters at my hurried exit.
Wonderful landscaping of Mata Jawala Ji’s abode atop a hill lock looks
magnificent. The maintenance of the temple is being looked after by a security
force picket housed in the couple of tiny dharamshala rooms at the top itself.
Lot needs to be done to improve the facilities there. More than 300 steps
need to be widened. Metallic support structure (Railings) along the sides of
these stair steps is urgently required. Major portion of the sanctum sanctorum
is a wooden structure which is fraught with risks. This wooden structure has
already lived a considerable period of age. It needs to be changed into present
day heavy duty construction material so as to provide stability to the sacred
shrine building. There is an urgent need to build a shed/hall and some
additional rooms of dharmashala.
Mata Jawala Ji is our Isht Devi and so is She to a large number of Kashmiri
Pandit families living throughout the country at present. Every such devotee may
visit the shrine at his or her own convenient sojourn dates. May be things would
be better next time.
In the evening I rang up one of my colleagues and got the contact
number of the President of Mata Jawali Ji Prabhandak Committee Khrew Sh.
Maharaj Krishen Raina, who happens to be a close acquaintance of mine.
I requested Sh. Raina to reactivate the Prabhandak Committee so that the
property of the shrine is saved from further encroachments. I also requested him
to think upon taking certain possible measures where the issues concerning the
shrine properties are put in broader perspective before the Prabhandak Committee
Immediate reactions from the President Sh. Raina were very encouraging. In
fact Sh. Raina remarked that he owes his life to the blessings of the Mata and
as such would love to undertake any such duty on priority.
So on the initiatives of Sh. M.K. Raina, a meeting of the members of the
Prabandhak Committee Jawala Ji temple Khrew was called on 14th August 2011. I
was also invited. Many suggestions regarding the facilities which can be
upgraded by the involvement of the committee were deliberated upon. I urged the
Prabandhak Committee to utilise means so that an effective awareness campaign is
launched about the importance and sanctity of Mata Jawala Ji. I also requested
them make people aware of the present day conditions of the Devasthan. To
utilise the service of more and more innovative people for resurrecting the
grandeur of the Holy Asthapan. I have suggested for organising an event (may be
a convention) where scholarly people, representatives of Dharmarth Trust, and
journalists be involved jointly to evolve a mechanism under a planned project so
that the shrine becomes a religious tourist destination in the years to come.
I owe my personnel gratitude to Sh. M.K. Raina for respecting my sentiments
and reactivating the Prabandhak Committee. Some initial decisions to start some
urgently needed works have been taken. Hope Mata Jawala Ji help all of us in our
effort so that grandeour of the Shrine.
Jai Mata Di.