Sarvadhar Yatra

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The Journey of Faith

Ashok Sharma,Sarvadhar Yatra The Journey of Faith "Daily Excelsior" 7/8/2016

Pilgrims on way to the shrine of Chamunda Mata Ji

Jammu & Kashmir is known as the land of Gods and Goddesses. There are a number of world famous holy shrines such as Vaishno Devi ji, Amarnath ji,Bawe wali Mata, Kheer Bhawani, etc. which are the abodes of various Gods and Godesses and which are reverred by people across the world. These shrines attract lakhs of pilgrims to our state and add to the State’s economy.

Similarly,there are other shrines such as Chandi Mata in Machail,Chountra Mata, Marhara Mata, Pingla Mata etc. in Udhampur district which are visited by thousands of devotees from across the State to pay obeisance and obtain blessings for them and their families.One such shrine of Shri Chamunda Mata ji is located at Sarvadhar in Pogal Paristan region in district Ramban. There is the widely reverred temple of Mata Chamunda Devi ji, the Hindu divine Mother, who killed two monsters named Chanda and Munda and is, thus, called Chamunda.

Sarvadhar- the pictursque spot commands a panaromic view of Deesa region of Doda district and Paristan of Ramban district and is said to be the highest point in the region.It receives heavy snowfall in the winter season.But in the month of June-August, this pilgrimage spot is alive with a large number of devotees. Yatra is organised every year to this holy shrine generally in the months of of June to August. Chhari Mubarak Yatra to this holy shrine has been organised by Shri Mata Chamunda Mandir Development Committee every year since 2003 and it is led by Kr.Rajiv Charak. This year the holy Yatra to this widely reverred shrine is being organised from June 21 to August 21, 2016.Thousands of people from Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Jammu and other parts of the State take part in the yatra to the temple located at a majestic height of about14000 ft.above sea level.This year,the 14th Chhari Mubarak Yatra of Mata Chamunda Devi started from Rameshwar Mandir, Pacca Talab, Bahu Fort Jammu on July 10, 2016 and was flagged off by MP, Rajya Sabha, Shamsher Singh Manhas.The Yatra was led by Kr.Rajiv Charak and hundreds of people participated in it.This Chhari Mubarak reached the holy shrine on July 12, 2016 and after performing Chhari Poojan, the devotees had the holy darshan of Mata Chamunda ji. According to Rattan Singh,who is an inhabitant of Seenabhati and who is actively associated with the Yatra, earlier two melas used to be organised -one called Mundasoo which was one day mela organised at Sharvadhar and thousands of people participated in it and the second one,a three -day mela at Seenabhati which was thronged by a large number of people from the adjoining regions.

With the passage of time,these Melas took the form of Yatra.The base camp of the Yatra or this journey of faith is at Senabhati, a beautiful village surrounded by high mountain ranges, lush green fields and scenic natural beauty. The yatris stay in this beautiful village for the night and spend the night in the cool and pollution free environs.Early next morning the yatra proceeds onward for the holy shrine of Mata Chamunda Ji located at Sharvadhar. The yatra passes through a cluster of villages and habitations with the devotees chanting and reciting bhajans and dancing in religious ecstasy amidst the musical beating of drums and local music. Thousands of people participate in bhajans and kirtan and add to religious fervour and there is hustle and bustle all around.After a long and arduous trek covering steep height, the Yatra reaches the Sharvadhar base camp and yatris stay for the night there. On the next day,the Yatra reaches the holy shrine of Mata Chamunda ji located in a big meadow having fragrant flowers of various hues, which provide solace to the eyes and mind. There is Chhari Poojan amidst the chanting of mantras and kirtan. Langars are organised at Senabhati and Sarvadhar camp. The devotees have holy Darshan of Shri Chamunda Mata ji,pay obeisance at the shrine and seek blessings of the Divine Mata for their prosperity and well being after which the yatra starts the return journey.In view of the large number of pilgrims participating in the Chhari Mubarak Yatra,the Shri Mata Chamunda Mandir Development Committee has demanded holiday in Ramban and Doda district on the day of Charri Yatra.

The district administration makes elaborate arrangements of medical facility, accomodation blankets, security, drinking water etc for the convenience of the pilgrims. The local artists play flutes and other musical instruments to fill the place with melodious and devotional music which pleases the soul.There is hustle and bustle and religious fervour everyehere. Other Charri Yatras are also organised to this shrine by the local devotees belonging to such regions as Bhaderwah, Pogal, Rajgarh, Kishtwar, Doda,Ramban, Kathua etc.during the yatra period. According to Rattan Singh, another Chhari Mubarak Yatra led by the President of Amar Kshatriya Rajput Sabha, Kr.Narayan Singh Jamwal will be organised on August 9, 2016 and the Chhari Mubarak shall reach the holy shrine of a Mata Chamunda Devi ji on August 10, 2016.

If this region is promoted for religious, rural and ecotourism, it can attract a huge footfall of pilgrims and tourists- both native and foreigners and provide vast scope of local employment,as local people can work as guides and open restaurants and other shops selling Chunnis, items of local handicrafts and other goods.The Yatra and tourism in this region can be promoted by good road network, provision of accomodation facilities,viewpoints, eating points enroute Sarvadhar and at other places such as Gugli, Sunseri,Hans Raj Peak, Sargali Pogal -Paristan region.There is also need to promote these beautiful spots as tourist resorts, especially in summer season to boost tourism and provide much needed respite to the tourists from the sweltering heat of summer in the plain areas.

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