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The procession of several thousands of pilgrims in the form of holy mace to Kailash Kund (Kaplash) uphill Bhadarwah, barely around 20 Kms and is divinely eternalized at a height of 14000 ft above the mean sea level (MSL). The Kailash Kund is amidst lush green, vibrant and salubrious pines, oaks, other broad leaved trees, bushes shrubs, herbs, climbers and creepers. The sacred kund epitomizes a rare of rarest combination of spirituality in the heart , mind and soul of all those who trek the pilgrimage to the sanctimonious sacred kund which is so conveniently called as the holy kund. Here the pilgrims from far flung areas come with utmost reverence to pay obeisance and obtain blessings.
The pilgrimage or locally spoken ‘yatra’ to the revered Kailash Kund begins on ‘Triyodshi’- the 13th of dark Bhaderpadmas, succeeding pious Raksha Bandhan. There is a huge assemblage of delighted devotees at the most revered ‘Vasuki Nag Devta’ of utmost benevolence located at ‘Gatha’, just on the entrance of Bhaderwah township, where a ceremonial pooja is held before the holy mace and takes its route from temple complex itself. There are multihued devotees irrespective of caste, colour, creed and that of religion, enchanting divinely songs and hymns which echo in the velvety Bhaderwah valley and its azure sky.
The holy mace joins other multihued maces, off shooting from various villages and hamlets viz, Nalthi, Manthla, Sarthangal, Killar, Bamlakhli, Hattal and Nagar conglomerate at ‘Sungli’ village. The pilgrimage starts towards the Kailash Kund following the traditional path through primitive villages viz Hayan, Jigar, Gopera, Hakaran, Bolar, Ghori Shankh, Padder, Rishi Bishi Dal and finally reach its ultimate destination of ‘Vaskund’-a Kund of multihued serpents with “Vasuki Nag” as their Supreme Lord.
In our old scriptures, it has been said that ‘Kailash Kund” like that of Amarnath, Sudhmahadev and other sacred shrines was an abode of “Lord Shiva” – the supreme who on the coming of ‘Vasuki Nag’ sheltered him in the pious kund and proceeded ‘Manimahesh’ in Himachal Pradesh which though of course occupy its own prominence of spirituality. A common saying thus goes true, “Jitne Kankar, Utne Shankar”. He is supreme, and is Bhola Nath who gets pleased and showers blessings to all and one of his devotees.
There are numberless legends attached to the origin of ‘Vasuki Nag Devta’ at Gatha, Bhaderwah which are doubtlessly believable and as thus occupy their place of prominence. As per a prominent legend, ‘Vasuki Nag Devta’ appeared in the form of a man in the dream of a local lady of Bhaderwah. On first sight, she was terribly frightened but the revered ‘Nag Devta’ very passively told the lady not to be afraid of and further avered that he is nothing else than “Vasuki Nag” and this place has fascinated and attracted him. He is an outsider and further told the lady to construct a temple at that particular place ‘Gatha’ and with these words, he disappeared. When the woman woke up, she was too surprised and as such she narrated the entire episode to the local inhabitants and as such the temple of ‘Vasuki Nag Devta’ was constructed in wooden structure and was being looked after by the “Pujaries of Dadan” family. But years later, this temple got gutted in a devastating fire and now stands newly constructed most magnanimously at the same place with two Tridents (Trishules) and an illuminating Chakra-on the forehead of temple which remains glittering round the clock.
Sungli is a small village situated in the vicinity of Bhaderwah township itself and is habitating a population around 3000 or so. As per another prominent legend, a shepherd of this village with a herd of sheep and goats proceeded uphills meadow upland for the grazing the cattle and during his entire day’s roaming with cattle, he felt utmost thirsty as no water was available in sight. At long last, he saw a pond and rushed there. To his utmost astonishment, he found serpents of all hues with no space of water to quench his thirst and stood there disappointed and bewildered for a pretty long time. The people of this vicinity named it as ‘Kali Nag Kund’. The sephered prayed the serpents to leave a little space so that he can quench his thirst.
To his utmost astonishment, a miraculous ‘Nag’ appeared on the spot, may be ‘Kali Nag’ as the people narrate, who commanded with his revered shakti to the shepherd to offer his golden ring to serpents. And on obeying his orders the serpents were nowhere seen, the shepherd quenched his thirst but remained perplexed as to how it so happened. On his return to home before dusk, he remained mum and his wife was confused on finding the ring missing from the finger of her husband.
However, there remained a succession of queries as to where the ring had gone but his wife never ever believed despite her husband’s repeated persuasions regarding the episode. Miraculous are the ways of gods who alone well understands his manifestation. Next day when his wife went to a nearby spring to her utmost astonishment she found the same ring dripped into the water. She rushed back her home and apologised from her husband. These are miracles of God which, of course, are quite unbelievable but too true.
And now ascending uphills “Kailash Kund”, there are miraculous happenings over the area and it is believed that “Garud” (Hawk) from whom all kinds of serpents fear chased ‘Vasuki Nag’ while he was on his way to ‘Kailash Kund’. It is believed that “Vasuki Nag” had a stay over Hainya for night to escape from ‘Gurad’ and rested for a while. The pilgrims too now halt over here for night as a ritual and start their pilgrimage next day.
During this ‘run race’ between ‘Garud’ and ‘Vasuki Nag’, the latter by virtue of divine shakti made many forms. First, ‘Nagji’ took the formation of ‘Cow’ and that spot is locally spoken as ‘Gow Peda’ till date and there are ‘golden prints’ of pious ‘Cow hoof’ which are prayed with utmost reverence. The Vasuki Nag then transformed into a ‘bee’, to escape from the clutches of ‘Garud’ and its remnants are still existing there on the spot.
And still miraculous is that local ladies who were on their way to collect grasses, vegetables etc failed to tell whereabouts of ‘Vasuki Nag’ and were cursed by ‘Garud’. These ladies were transformed into stony idols which are existing there at ‘Shageran’ even now. The pilgrims halt here to pay obeisance and obtain blessings from these idols. In this ensuing chasing spree between ‘Vasuki Nag’ and ‘Garud’, lot of other legends are also attached to it. In the last it was ‘Lord Shiva’ who ultimately provided shelter to ‘Vasuki Nag’ on his prayers in this Kund which basically was Lord Shiva’s abode and ‘Lord Shiva’ proceeded ‘Manimahesh’ , handing over this Kund to ‘Vasuki Nag’.
So, nobody should miss this miraculous, enchanting and enthralling spiritual spot of ‘Vasuki Nag’ and can have darshan so that whatsoever remains unbelievable is reverentially believed.
Now with the more and more focus on the pilgrimage spots of Bhaderwah Kishtwar, Atholi (Jawalaji Mata), Sarthal Devi, Machail Mata and so many of godly abodes, the attention of the Government is invited for the upgradation of all shrines so that by the years to come, these become more and more enchanting and enthralling spots for the pilgrims from India and abroad.