Kathua District | Huge Potential As Tourism Destination

Undeveloped Jasrota and Jakhole to Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal site and popularly known for Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Bhakta Place of Kathua district.

TRAVEL

More than 50,000 devotees every new year on Mahashivratri, nearly 70,000 to 80,000 devotees of Lord Shiva including people from all over the districts of Samba and Kathua, pilgrims from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab State come to have darshan of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal site located at Kathua. Inside this old natural holy cave, Lord Shiva has revealed itself in the form of a natural sanctorum.

After crossing Jasrota (known for renovated Maha Kali Mata Mandir and Wildlife Sanctuary), moving towards Ujh Mini Dam site, then Bhakta (known for Gurudwara Shri Charan Kamal Sahib) and then Dhanni, one reaches the everlasting beautiful scenery of village Jakhole after which the road is not macadamized (kuccha motorable road) and one has to move on feet for about 3 kilometres distance on the hilly terrain or beachside of Ujh river to the Mahanaal caves.

There is another cave opposite to the cave of Lord Shiva which has 9 series of temples of Goddess Mahashakti Maa Vaishnavi. During the Shivratri and 01st January every year, Bhandaras and Langers are organized for the devotees by many voluntary organizations. Besides local peoples surrounding Mahanaal also come forward to arrange facilities for the devotees who visited there.

Location & Attractions

The Gurudwara Ji located at Bhakta of Kathua District is the holiest place of sikh shrines.

After crossing the Jasrota area which is famously known for Maha Kali Mata Mandir, one move straight towards Ujh Barrage Dam site over Jasrora-Jakhole roadways and then move to Bhakta near Govt. Girls Primary School (opposite to Shiksha Kendriya Vidyalaya) and then turn around to nearly 700 metres worst road track towards Gurudwara Charan Kamal Sahib Ji.

The major attraction on Jasrota-Jakhole roadways is the Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal routes where thousands of devotees performed darshans on 01st January every year, Mahashivratri festival, holy month of shravana and festival occasions.

Noticing the increase in large number of the pilgrims the natives have been requesting the administration of State Government to take measures for the frameworks of road-bridge network and pilgrimage facilities for promotion of tourism sector of Kathua District.

A large number of devotees of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal also visited holiest place of Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Gurudwara Charan Kamal Sahib Ji at Bhakta on 01st January every year, Gurpurab Festivals and religious festival occasions.

On every Sundays, a free langer organized by the Gurudwara Prabhandak committee for hundreds of pilgrims who visited to Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurudwara and sacredness of 500 years old Peepal Tree at Bhakta.

The devotees and followers of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal place located near Jakhole site have already requested to present Governor’s regime for better preferment from Jasrota to Mahanaal routes as Nationwide Destination located at Kathua for the developmental and upgradation stage works.

Their hopes were totally relied upon by state administration which is a failure part of the previous government agencies, local residents and Parveen Razwal, a social help-work activist vehemently quoted on this.

The devotees and visitors highly welcomes to Shri Satya Pal Malik Ji, Hon’ble Governor of Jammu & Kashmir to start the construction work of widening road width from Jasrota to Jakhole routes in January-2019. This is the first major development initiative which was a 14 years long pending demand of the local residents of Bhakta, Jakhole and Jasrota and pilgrims of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal routes and holiest place of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurudwara at Bhakta place.

The local communities applauded the dynamic leadership of present Hon’ble Governor’s regime of J&K State for initiating the construction work which will be benefit the people of Jasrota (known for Maha Kali Mata Mandir), Ujh Barrage Dam Park site, Bhakta place known for Gurudwara Charan Kamal Sahib Ji and Jakhole routes which is popularly known for Shiv Temple and Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal routes.

However, the real acts of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit to Bhakta place from historical information gave by the local people of Bhakta. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit was confirmed and exact location where the Guru Nanak Dev Ji sat under a Peepal tree for four days was traced in the year 2012.

The spiritual Peepal tree is now 500 years old above which is still present and maintained by Gurudwara prabandhak committee of Shri Charan Kamal Sahib Patshahi Ji. The historical Gurudwara Shri Charan Kamal Sahib Patshahi Pehli was inaugurated on 25-October-2015 at Bhakta. One kanal of land was donated by a local resident of Bhakta, namely, Thakur Hukumat Singh in the memory of his son late Thakur Narinder Singh to Gurudwara Shri Charan Kamal Sahib Patshahi Pehli in order to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Bhakta.

Thakur Hukumat Singh informed their ancestors that the spiritual Peepal Tree present in their land is very sacred and it belongs to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Those persons who will do anything wrong to Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s spiritual Peepal Tree will surely in deep trouble.

Religious Faith

In the ending month of year 2011, one day a man, namely, Mr. Inderjeet Singh a rajput resident of nearby village came to Bhakta alongwith his camels. As his camels were hungry, so he decided to cut the leaves of sacred Peepal Tree.

He was warned by the local people about the historical importance of sacred Peepal Tree of Guru Nanak Dev Ji but the ignorant man did not pay any attention towards them. He cut the leaves of that Peepal Tree to feed his camels. When he put the leaves of Peepal Tree to camels, both the camels died after eating the leaves.

The ignorant man also felt ill at the same time and his health started worsening. Then, there was an elderly Saint of Bhakta place who asked the man to go and sat under the Peepal Tree and asked for the forgiveness from Guru Nanak Dev Ji. On doing this, he started feeling better and then he paid his homage to the sacred tree.

The people of Bhakta village believes that till now no one dare to cut the leaves of the Pipal tree but if the people feed their sick animals the leaves which fell on ground naturally and the animals get rid of their diseases and become healthy. The local residents also gave some portion of shakkar to the soil present under the stem of this sacred Peepal Tree.

After staying there at Bhakta place for four days, the local people requested to Guru Nanak Dev Ji to leave any of his souvenir in Bhakta who will protect the residents of the village and their offspring from the evil forces.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji on this remarked to the people that the sacred Peepal Tree under which he had spent time in Bhakta village will be His souvenir to You. Guru Nanak Dev Ji further said that the community who will visit this sacred place with good and sacred intentions, his / her all wishes will be getting fulfilled and will get rid from all sins and skin diseases. The sacred Peepal tree under which the Guru Nanak Dev Ji stayed is still present in lush regaining greenery at Bhakta.

There was a sculpture of Guru Nanak Dev Ji under Peepal tree. People of local areas started worshipping this statue and nearly 70 years ago the sculpture itself disappeared. In 2013, when the undergoing construction of a room for Guru Granth Sahib Ji, that statue again appeared.

But this sculpture again disappeared on the day when Guru Granth Sahib was about to be installed in the room near the sacred Peepal tree in 2014. The follower of Sikhism fully believes that the statue itself got disappeared with the wish of Guru Nanak Dev Ji as Sat Guru was against idol worshipping.

Prachin Granth Prakash Twarikh Guru Khalsa by Giani Gian Singh mentioned that Guru Nanak Dev Ji from Chennai to Jasrota preached the local people to worship the true Lord Naam (satnaam wahe guru). While his stay there at Jasrota and Bhakta villages, Guru Nanak Dev Ji had always religious discussions with the local people and learned men.

 

Challenges

The residents of Kathua are upset over the negligent view of the state administration for not looking up the development of Mahanaal Shiv Caves which is one of the most beautiful amazingly place of Kathua District.

The unique importance of the cave lies in the fact that it resemble with the Shri Amarnath Caves. Mahanaal Shiv caves is situated 20 kilometres north to the Rajbagh (Ujh river tributary) near village Jakhole in district Kathua. However, the pilgrim potential of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal has not been explored to the desirable extent due to negligence part of the State Government, local residents rue.

The locals noted that this place of religious importance lacks basic amenities like proper road-bridge network connectivity, street light and infrastructure development. “The million dollar question that arises is why the administration of J&K State Government is not interested to promote the Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal Shiv Caves site and Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurudwara Bhakta which is the holiest place of sikh shrines” laments Mr. Parveen Razwal, a social help-work activist.

The local residents are not satisfied towards mismanagement and lower developmental works of Bhakta place located at Kathua District on Jasrota-Jakhole roadway which is known for Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Gurudwara Charan Kamal Sahib Ji since 2013 by the State Government.

The occupants of Bhakta people feels that state administration agencies of previous regimes were not interest to provide better facilities among large number of pilgrims who visit the religious place of Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Bhakta and amazingly place of Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal routes.

Appeal To Officials

The local residents of Kathua District and Sikh communities appeals to Shri Satya Pal Malik Ji, Hon’ble Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and PWD Department and Development & Monitoring Department of J&K Government for upgradation and improvements of the road-bridge network from Jasrota to Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal routes, proper macadamization of 700 metres road track from Bhakta’s Gurudwara over Jasrota-Jakhole roadways, enhancing the facilities for the convenience of thousands of pilgrims visiting to Bhakta Gurudwara, Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal & Jasrota Maha Kali Mata Mandir and creation of resorts, sitting benches parks and resting places at Bhakta, Jakhole and Mahanaal routes.

The people of that area want immediate construction of 70 metre double road bridge at Jakhole Moi Nallah near PHE water motor pump site, upgradation of old Bhakta Bridge, provide 24×7 rural electrification, communication facilities, shop malls, arrangement of sitting parks and proper macadamization of 700 metres road track towards Gurudwara over Jasrota-Jakhole roadways.

The residents of Bhakta-Jasrota area and sikh communities demands more development and infrastructure facilities for the betterment of pilgrims at par with national levels like the most famous Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib and Gurudwara Rewalsar (both located in Himachal Pradesh), the Sikh Gurudwara at Banga (Punjab) and Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib Gurudwara (Nanden Maharashtra).

The natives have also appealed to Hon’ble Governor Shri Satya Pal Malik Ji and Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO, Government of India to intervene and ensure more efforts needed to be made to bring Mahanaal Shiv Caves on the globetrotting map of India for promotion of Tourism sector in Kathua District so that the inherent pilgrim potential of the Lord Shiva’s Mahanaal site and Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Bhakta place is explored throughout the country in all States of India and utilized to the maximum possible extent at par with such facilities and arrangements maintained by the State Government Agencies like at Shri Amarnath (Srinagar) and Mani Mahesh (Himachal Pradesh) and Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi Temple Sanatan Trust (Maharashtra).

Contributed by:

PARVEEN RAZWAL