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The story of Reasi
The Name of Reasi is derived from the first Raja Raspal of this area, who had shifted from Bajalta to this place. At that time this place was a cluster of some houses. Raja Raspal converted it into a township and named it as Rasyalsi after his name. With the passage of time this named changed from Rasyalsi to Reasi.
Later on the name of this town was extended to the whole principality. Earlier this area was known as Bhimgarh principality which was established by Raja Bhim Dev in 8th century AD.
Reasi got the status of District in 1904. However, in 1950 the status of Reasi was reduced to tehsil and the area was merged with district Udhampur. Reasi again became the district in 2007 which was carved out from district Udhampur. Reasi is 72 Km from Jammu city located on the northern side. It is predominantly a hilly district surrounded in the east by district Udhampur west by Rajouri in the southern side by Jammu and in the north by Ramban while a part of Reasi is touching the boundaries of district Shopian on the northern fringes. Chaneb is the major river flowing through the district while there are number of streams like Ans, Plassu, Ban Ganga etc.
The Reasi district is known for Shri Mata Vashino Devi University located at Kakrial (Panthal). A cancer hospital unique of its nature in the state is coming up in this university. Katra is an important town and center of religious tourism because the famous Mata Vashino Devi shrine is 13 km from this town located in Trikuta hills. Katra is linked with railway line. This railway track will be extended up to Reasi, Khouri, Surakote through Sangal Dan, Banihal and finally it will link with the valley. The highest railway arc bridge in the world is under construction near Khouri. This shrine is an important pilgrimage center where more than one crore pilgrims visit every year from all over India and abroad to pay obeisance. Shiv Khori is another important Shrine which is about 42 km from Reasi in the south western side. It is a renowned cave of Lord Shiva. A big mela is organized at this shrine on the eve of Shivratri festival which continues for three days. The Dera of a great Saint and Soldier Baba Banda Singh Beragi is also located in Reasi, who was a warrior and General of tenth Guru Gobind Singh ji and fought number of battles against Mughals in Punjab. The Shrine of Baba Jitto is also located in Reasi area. Baba was a spiritual devotee of Shri Mata Vashino Devi and was a great social reformer. He sacrificed his life for the right of farmers by fighting against the Jagirdar Bir Singh because the land lord had denied him to give committed share of agriculture products cultivated by Baba Jitto. The Zairiat of Baji Ismile near Barakh is an important Muslim Shrine of Reasi. The famous warrior General Zorawar Singh had resided in Reasi near Vijaypur and his old Haveli still exists in the locality. The Bhimgarh fort is situated on the top hillock near the entry of town spread over 3 acres lands. Initially it was constructed with mud Later on this fort was reconstructed with stone masonry by Raja Rashipal Rana. The repair of this fort was started in 1817 by Gulab Singh of Jammu on the orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The repair work was completed in 1841. Most of the construction work took place under the supervision of General Zorawar Singh who was the care taker of this area on behalf of Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. It is one of the strongest forts constructed in Jammu area. The town is built on the flat area on the foot of the mountains. As per C. E. Bats, the author of the Gazetteers of Kashmir, a route from Reasi was leading towards Konsarnag Lake in Shopian District which was originally known as Vishnu Paadh (the foot of lord Vishnu). The Hindus of Reasi crossed the pass and visited Konsarnag to have a dip in the lake and offered prayer. Salal Hydro project is not only a big power generating station but an attractive place of the district which is 15 km away from Reasi town and surrounded by mountains and natural vegetation.
As per Tarik Dogra Desh of Narsing Dev Nargis, Reasi was a small Jagir among 22 principalities of Jammu province before 1846. The ruler of Reasi originally belonged to Udhaypur Mawar. One prince of royal family of Mawar Manuman due to family rift had migrated from Mawar to Jammu and joined the service of Raja Joj Rai of Jammu in 317 AD. Keeping in view the family background Manuman was granted few villages as Jagir by Raja Joj Rai. After Manuman his 17th decedent was Raja Baja Dev who established Bajalita, a village near Jammu. He was having three sons Sheshpal, Devpal and Raspal. They revolted against the Raja of Jammu. Raspal left Bajalta and settled in the foot hills of Mata Vaishno Devi. He established a village on the left bank of Chenab River and named it as Reasi principality in 13th century AD. Raspal and his decedent ruled Reasi for centuries together. With the passage of time Salal, Gulabgrah and Akhnoor also came under the ruler of Rajas of Reasi. Later on Raja Hari Dev of Jammu extended his state towards mountainous areas and captured Reasi. He banished Rasial Rajas from Reasi Principality and nominated his third son Jaswant Dev as Raja of Reasi. Jaswant Dev was the younger brother of Raja Gajay Singh of Jammu. Therefore Jaswant Dev preferred to stay at Purani Mandi Jammu instead of Reasi. He deputed his governor to rule Reasi. The son of Jaswant Dev was Mean Rattan Dev who was a warrior and General of Ranjit Dev of Jammu. After the death of Rattan Dev, his son Jung Bahadur Singh and grandson Diwan Singh ruled Reasi principality which comprises of Salal, Gulab Garh, Reasi etc. During this very period Mean Mota tried to revolt against Jeet Singh. Mean Diwan Singh and the wife of Jeet Singh Rani Bandralta killed Mean Moota. Therefore the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh arrested Mean Dewan Singh and taken him to Lahore while Reasi Jagir was handed over to the officers of Mean Gulab Singh. Mean Gulab Singh immediately reached Reasi. The public of Reasi accepted him as their ruler. At that time Mean Bhoop Dev, the son of Mean Dewan Singh was in Arnas. He revolted against Gulab Singh. Gulab Singh chased him and Captured from Salal fort. But Bhoop Dev escaped from his custody and rushed towards Lahore. In the meantime Gulab Singh laid the foundation of Bhimgarh fort and entrusted the construction of the fort to Dewan Amir Chand and left for Lahore.
As per Tarik-e-Jammu, Gulab Singh captured Reasi in 1817 AD. Bhoop Dev who had escaped from Salal fort also reached Lahore. After some efforts he got his father Mean Dewan Singh released from Lahore Prison. Then both the father and son came to Reasi, assaulted on Bhimgarh fort but the defenders under the command of Wazir Zorawar Singh compelled the aggressors to retreat from the premises of the fort. Gulab Singh was again deputed by Lahore Darbar for the arrest of Mean Dewan Singh and his son Bhoop Dev. Gulab Singh reached Reasi. But Dewan Singh and his sons went to Lahore and attended the Darbar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with an application of Mafi Nama. Maharaja excused them and sanctioned some monthly pension in their favour. Later on Dewan Singh died in Lahore. However his Son Bhoop Dev again revolted but was arrested and kept in a Prison. In the meantime Maharaja Ranjit Singh was on the death bed in 1839, he passed orders for the release of Prisoners. In this process Bhoop Dev was also released and given a Jagir of few villages in Pathankote area by Maharaja Kharak Singh. In 1839 Bhoop Dev died in Lahore.
After the disturbance by Lahore Darbar, Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu became the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in the light of pact between British Government, Punjab Darbar and Gulab Singh on 16th March 1846. Reasi principality was then dissolved in newly created state of J&K. In 1850, Maharaja Partap Singh, the grandson of Maharja Ranbir Singh was born at Reasi. In those days Reasi was a prosperous town with unique Phari culture. In 1904 Reasi attained the status of a District and the erstwhile Rajouri principality of Jaral Rajas was merged with District Reasi. In1950 the status of Reasi Wazarat was reduced to Tehsil by the emergency Government of Seikh Mohd Abdullah and became a tehsil of District Udhampur. In 2007, Reasi again got the status of District.
Ramlila in Reasi
“Lankesh bta tujhe main kis shaan se maarun, thukraun ya jakhmi karun ya jaan se maarun. Talwar machaltii hai ki main katoon sir uska, kahti hai kamaan vo nahin main baan se maarun, Lankesh bata tujhe main kis shaan se maarun.”( Lord Rama Dialouge)
“Uthte nai hai haath kaelga v hai jal raha , aaj tak shtru par aai na daya , savav badla ya parsa kaat kaat ke sunn ho gya , lagta nahi pata karn hai iska qya”( Parshuram famous dialogue from Sita sayambar scene )
Ramlila at once brings into mind vivid pictures of painted faces, rich costumes, masks, lights, music, and dance. Basically full-fledged entertainment! It also brings along those lovely childhood memories when a Ramlila organized in the locality would be the most exciting happening of our life. It reminds of those days, when daily chores would be quickly dealt with before dusk, so that no scene of the parody is missed. When families would sit huddled together and applaud at every chest-thumping dialogue of Lord Hanumana , Lord Ram, Parshuram and others . When being chosen to play the role of “Parshuram” would elicit utmost reverence from friends , family and others. When Dussehra would be eagerly awaited, for the simple reason that it would be Ramlila time once again!
Ramlila , literally “Rama’s play” , is a performance of the Ramayana epic in the form of a series of scenes that include song, narration, recital and dialogue . It is performed across the whole of northern India during the festival of Dussehra , held each year according to the ritual calendar.
Ramlia is India’s most famous theatrical experience. Historically, this staging of the Ramayana is based on the Ramacharitmanas, one of the most popular sacred text of Hindu religion. Ramacharitmanas was composed by Tulsidas in the sixteenth century. Each day features readings from the Ramayana; in most places plays are presented depicting scenes from the Ramayana story, sometimes on a grand scale
The festival of Ramlila centers around Lord Rama (the Hindu god) and his life as a mortal being on the earth. The ideal human character Rama, is an ideal son, brother, friend, husband and king. Rama accepts a fourteen years exile to enable his father to fulfill his pledge to one of his queen Kakayi. Rama spends a simple, pure and arduous life in deep forest. His life in the forest is full of hardships. His wife Sita is abducted by Ravana in the forest. Rama then gathers an army of monkeys to fight Ravana. He crosses the sea to reach Ravana’s kingdoms and fights to save his wife. After fourteen years he returns to his kingdom Ayodhaya, people celebrated his arrival with lights all around Ayodhaya.
During Ramlila, this story of Rama’s life is enacted to mark his victory over Ravana and his return to his kingdom. The central theme is ”the victory of the good over the evil”. During its performance the Ramayana is constantly recited accompanied by music. It presents a fine blending of music, dance, mime and poetry before an enthusiastic and religious audience sharing every event of the story with the actors. The Ramlila ends on Vijaya Dashami – the day of victory when Rama defeats the Demon King Ravana. The drama is enacted by young boys and the play ends with Rama shooting burning arrows towards the effigies of Ravana (containing fire crackers) which catches fire and burns marking the end of the evil-Ravana.
The Ramlila brings the whole population together , without distinction of caste , religion or age . The play is also characterized by the spontaneity with which all the locals participate, playing roles or taking part in all kinds of activities involved in the performances, such as making the masks, costumes, doing the the make up, effigies , lights,etc
In families that have traditionally been engaged in these performances, the young members are no longer keen to take over because of the lack of artistic recognition and the limited remuneration. The growth of the mass media and social media , particularly television soap-operas, is leading to a reduction in the normal audience for the Ramlila plays, which are therefore losing their main role of bringing people and different communities together.
The festival of Ramlila ends with Dussehra. It is performed across the whole of northern India during the festival of Dussehra. These Ramlila shows are very popular in Reasi, Udhampur, Jammu and almost all parts of Jammu division.
Established in 1890 in Reasi, the Durga Natak Mandli Reasi has been consistently staging Ramlila all these years at Reasi .
With the efforts of the members, the club has maintained the essence of that period without losing its originality. Carrying on the legacy, not only the club has maintained the legacy of founding fathers but has also been passed on to the third generation.
“The make-up has changed from a hand-made zinc base to now branded cosmetics, the script has also achanged, the total expenses on the event have increased from some hundred rupees to lakhs, today, the costumes have changed from long robes to quite trendy ones, and the rugs of those initial years have been replaced by chairs for the audience. Yes, the club has moved on with time but it has not lost its originality said Sanjeev Khajuria , president Durga Natak Mandli Reasi.
Bhagwan Rama teaches us:
- As a son: Respectfully and lovingly obey your father’s orders. Sacrifice your own comfort for your father’s dignity.
- As a step-son: Even when your step mother (or mother in law…) is not kind to you, even when she clearly discriminates against you in favor of her own birth child, do not resent her, do not fight against her. Respect her and her wishes.
- As a brother: Remain loyal to your brother. Care for him.
- As a husband: Protect your wife. Fight for her protection and her purity. But there are times when one’s divine path must even take precedence over the path of householder. Do not keep the role of householder as the ultimate role.
- As a King: Sacrifice everything for your people. Do not worry about your own comfort, your own convenience or your own pleasure. Be willing to put the Kingdom ahead of your own needs.
The last one should be understood by our leaders.
Let us pledge this time on this auspicious occasion to be the best we can be…steadfastly adhering to the tenets of our faith, and instilling those same moral and spiritual values to ourselves and childrens, respect every women …………
Let us conclude with a famous line
Apne zehen me RAM ko zinda rakhiye,,
Yu putle jalane se RAVAN nahi marta…
Kashi in Reasi
The melange of culture has gifted the Reasi District with many popular religious places. There are many historical places in Reasi that have been
beautifully and tastefully crafted and have ever since remained the talk of the State and country.
Kansi Patta (Ancient Name Gupt Kashi) village is located in Reasi Tehsil of Reasi district in Jammu & Kashmir. It is situated 10km away from Reasi. The village’s is known for its temple dedicated to the God Shiva. The village ancient name is Gupt Kashi but as the time passed the name changed from Gupt Kashi to Kansi Patta.Its religious importance is considered similar to that of Kashi of Varanasi , believed to be the most pious of all Hindu pilgrimage places.
The temple is located on the way to the world famous Shiva Shrine Shiv Khori and close to famous waterfall of Siar Baba. It has the scenic backdrop of river Chenab and with darshan of Lord Shiva and other deities in temple , one gets very good positive vibration and peace of mind.
Once there was a devil. He worshipped and prayed Lord Brahma (the creator) and gained the blessings of Brahma. The demon performed penance to Lord Brahma and after obtaining boons harassed the virtuous and the learned .The blessing was made according to the devil’s wish. According to the wish, he asked Brahma to bless him with immortality along with the wish that he will be killed only in “Kashi”. For his long term worship, Brahma was pleased and blessed him according to his wish. He became very powerful and strong. The devil then ran away from Kashi and settled in a village nearby Reasi which was called “Gupt Kashi” at that time. But he was unaware of the original name of the village. He was thinking that now no one will kill him in Reasi as he was blessed to be killed only in Shiv Bhoomi “Kashi”. He started teasing to the locals and the Rishis-Munis of Kashi patta and Reasi. He troubled and destroyed many holy places and started disturbing normal life of locals. No one could stop him. He gathered army and continued his evil deeds. The locals and Rishis found it difficult to tackle him because he became very powerful after Brahma’s blessing. The saints assembled and evoked Lord Shiva with their woes and told him the harm caused by the devil. Lord Shiva asked the devil to stop his blatant acts or ready to face death. The devil in return said that he was blessed to be killed only in “Kashi” not in any other place. Lord Shiva said you don’t know that the real name of this place is “Gupt Kashi” and he was then killed by “Shiva” .
According to another local mythology, Once there was a saint who was living in Lord Shiva City Kashi. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. One day, Lord Shiva came in his dream. The devotee asked for the boon for eternal life. Lord Shiva informed him that his death has been predetermined at Kashi. But he can evade it if he moves out of Kashi. Hurriedly the devotee shifted from Kashi to Reasi hoping that death will not touch him. But as the fate would have, he sensed his death nearing. He again prayed to Lord Shiva and asked about this fear. Lord Shiva wittily asked him to enquire about the name of the place he was curreltly residing at. To his astonishment,he came to know from the locals that the place is called Gupt Kashi. Thus not able to evade the eternal life and death circle created by God Himself.
As per the local priest Shani Giri Ji Mahraj , there is another temple devoted to Lord Ganesha. The priest, as the story goes,used to vision lord Ganesha in his dreams continuously for the month. Later, once while having bath in river Chenab,he accidently stumbled upon an idol which resembled Lord ganesha’s face. The idol was then installed in this temple.
The priest also said that there is another story of temple which was linked to General Zorawar Singh. One night while sleeping, General Zorawar Singh saw Lord Shiva in his dream who told him to come to Gupt Kashi and build a temple there .General Zorawar Singh then came to Gupt Kashi and build Lord Shiva temple there . The priest also said that the temple has a unique combination of five things which we rarely find together at one place viz banyan tree, peepal tree ,Shiv temple, cremation ground and pious river Chenab. Locals came in large number to have a holy dip here on Somvati Amavasya, Shiv Ratri, Baisakhi and others religious days. Locals also perform last rites of their loved ones at this place.
Notwithstanding the blessings of natural beauty, the scenic areas of this hilly region are missing on tourist map of Jammu and Kashmir due to more than a decade long phase of militancy and lackluster approach of Government machinery at the helm of affairs.
These areas, which include picturesque views and a number of other attractive spots where the people would love to visit for enjoying the natural beauty, have not been developed for attracting the tourist. Inadequate road connectivity, no accommodation facilities, almost negligible infrastructure and no sincere efforts to develop these spots as tourist destinations are the reasons behind missing of these areas on tourism map.
Gupt Kashi Temple, has a great potential of attracting tourists but the area is still virgin owing to zero facilities there, particularly the extremely poor or we can also say no road connectivity. The scenic meadows around the temple offer huge potential to prop up tourism with all attractions but there is no infrastructure development by the Government.
Construction of road to the temple is the need of hour which may add to the tourist attraction of district Reasi.
Development of Park :- A beautiful park should be developed there for the devotees and children.
Lord Shiva is the conglomeration of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, the three main presiding deities unified in one absolute form. Also revered as the supreme God in which the word ‘GOD’ stands for ‘G’ – Generator , ‘O’- Operator; D-destructor; The unification of the three deities symbolizes the whole universe and hence lord Shiva is worshipped mainly in the form of ‘ShivaLinga’ personifying the entire universe , since he is the One and Only Supreme and absolute commander of the entire Universe.
The word ‘Shiva’ means ‘Auspicious of all Auspicious and also Auspicious even in Inauspicious’ since he is the presiding deity in the crematorium where the impure body travels for its final Journey and then the body gets purified by his grace and attains salvation.
Lord Shiva has been worshipped from time immemorial and temples dedicated to the Lord can be found in each and every corners of India, right from Kashmir, Amarnath, kailasha Tibet in the extreme North to the tapering ends of Rameshwaram and Kanya Kumari in South India and numerous Temples of Lord Shiva still exists in other parts of the world like Nepal, Pakistan, SriLanka, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra etc.
Lord Shiva is the Supreme form of the Trinity in oneness. Lord Shiva is the most popular Hindu God. He bestows numerous boons upon his devotees. On the one hand, he does the crude job of destruction and on the other magnanimity! He inspires, cares for and protects his devotees.
We see Shiv-Lingas here and there, everywhere not only in India but almost all over the world.
Linga consist of two words
Ga – ReCreation
That entity in which the whole creation merges at the time of cosmic dissolution and out of which it reappears at the time of fresh creation is called Lingam.
Reasi is famous for its striking natural beauty and religious beliefs. Deep inside this land, one can find many famous temples, caves which make an impact on the visitor, who is left with a sense of wonder about the creation of God, enhanced by the effort of man.
Mahadev Mandir is a well known religious place in district Reasi and is revered by all the followers. The temple is said to be more than 300 yrs old. The present structure has been built in present form by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine board . In the sanctum sanctorum, a Shiv ling is visible which amounts a single rock resting beneath.
As per the local Legend , there was a herdsman grazing cows nearby this temple. When cows reached a particular point , milk began to dribble automatically through their udders. This was very surprising but herdsman never noticed. When cows returned to their owners in the evening, many cows did not drip a single drop and many others dropped a tiny quantity of milk. Villagers and landlords began to blame herdsman for this but he was innocent in this matter.
Now shepherd was vigilant while grazing cows. One day he noticed that milk was pouring on a particular spot from cow’s udders. Herdsman told the fact to villagers. Anxious villagers watched the next day and decided to dig the spot. On an auspicious day and moment, astonished villagers prayed and started digging the spot. After digging villagers saw divine Shiv Linga and its Jalhari. Seeing this they began to dance and prayed Lord Mahadev and named this area as Mahadev .
Later on a temple was build there and named as Mahadev Mandir Reasi. As per local belief, all this happened on the eve of Baisakhi and from that time baisakhi mela was organized in the temple premises with religious fervor.
The place was popular among the locals and every year Baisakhi mela was held on the eve of Baisakhi and was visited and participated by all. Legend has it that there used to be a Baisakhi mela celebrated at Mahadev every year but one day, realizing the shortage of water and receiving grievances from the locals, General Zorawar Singh, who was given the commad of this region, suggested to shift the Baisakhi mela from mahadev temple to Vijaypur. General Zorawar Singh then asked his soldiers to announce that this year Baisakhi mela shall be organized at Vijaypur fort. The soldiers announced the same as per the general ordered them. The same night, general had a vision of Lord Bhairava, who ordered him to shift the mela to its original place and apologise for his mistake. General realized his mistake and ordered for shifting of mela to its orininal place. When General went to repent for his mistake, he saw the Shiv ling split into two and blood oozing out of it. He soon lied on the floor apologizing for his misdeed and since then, Mela is being celebrated at Mahadev with same relious fervor. It was said that General Zorawar Singh found a Shiv ling from Chandrabagha river (Chenab) after this incident. He brought this shiv ling to mahadev mandir and then installed Shiv ling in his fort at Vijaypur reasi.
There is another saying that once a local Shiv Devotee , offered to repair the Jilhari (oval shaped base on which lingum is placed). He had heard about the unending depth of the shiv ling but out of curiosity tried to dig the periphery to see the actual depth. Over the days he tried to dig but couldn’t see the base of linga. After some time, he saw snakes coming out from the earth. This frightened him and realizing his mistake, soon stopped digging and later, went on to repair the base of the shiv linga. There are also present idols of Maa Parvati , BairoNath, Lord Ganesha, Hanuman etc.
The Dogra rulers as well as Reasians hold it in high esteem and now a days heavy rush of devotees is seen here daily. During ShivRatri, the people have to wait for at least 2 to 4 hours or even more for having darshan of the Lord Shiva. A number of Langers are arranged by devotees of the Lord to serve parshad among the devotees. Locals of Reasi have a staunch belief that Lord Shiva has always protected Reasi city from mishappenings. They further believe that every desire is fulfilled by visiting shrine of Lord Shiva.
Presently Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board had completed the restoration work of Mahadev Temple including construction of new facilities for the devotees. Besides restoration of the Temple, a Langar Hall, Kitchen, Public Conveniences etc was also constructed in the complex. In addition to undertaking landscaping of the Temple complex, shrubs and ornamental plants were also planted alongside the boundary wall and old trees have been scientifically pruned and reshaped to add to the aesthetics of the complex.
There are also temples of Shiv Parivar, Shri Durga Mata Ji, Shri Santoshi Mata Ji, Shri Ganesh Ji, Shani Dev ji and Nandigan Ji in the temple premises.
Government of J&K should take necessary steps to highlight and boost these hidden religious spots.
Suggestions: Attracting tourists to remote religious areas will require improving the connectivity to these regions to develop these into commercially viable tourism sites.
A special marketing strategy should be worked out for religious tourism destinations and provide special training to people involve in the sector.