Mahanaal Cave

11 Jul 2016 14:41:21


Mahanaal Cave

Mahanaal Cave

Mahanaal cave is situated 15 Km North to the village Rajbagh (Ujh) near village Jakhole in district Kathua and lies at a distance of 32 Km from the District Headquarters. This holy cave associated with Lord Shiva resembles the Sri Amarnath Ji cave in appearance and hence has religious importance. Inside this old natural holy cave, Lord Shiva has revealed itself in the form of a natural Lingum (Aap Shambu). The area adjoining the cave is full of wild vegetation which fills the surroundings with divineness. The charming natural beauty of the place is worth mentioning. There are numerous small natural water bodies full of diverse aquatic flora in the area surrounding the cave which give peace of mind to the onlookers.

There is a bowly (water body) near the opening of the cave from which the devotees fill the water for pouring on the holy lingum. Besides, numerous small lingums of Shiva are fixed in a circle near it with one lingum and idol of Lord Shiva holding trident in the centre. The cave has a narrow opening through which only one person can enter to perform darshan and pooja of Lord Shiva at a time. There are idols of Ganeshji, Nandhiji and Kaal Bhairavh at the mouth of the cave. Another cave lies opposite to the cave of Lord Shiva which has a series of temples of Mahaskakti Maa Vaishnavi which have been built after1985 onwards. A waterfall adjoins both these caves which usually flows during rainy season and falls in a water pond at the bottom which remains full of water throughout the year. Devotees purify their-selves by sprinkling water from this pond over them before entering the holy cave.

Many legends are available which explain the origin and importance of the place. One local legend is that once upon a time, a sage used to meditate hard for lord Shiva at this place. He had strictly prohibited the villagers to visit the place as he was doing very crucial and secret meditation devoted to Lord Shiva. No villager went there for years. However, people used to often discuss that a saint is worshiping hard for Lord Shiva. One day a lady got curious and went to that place where she saw the saint’s skeleton sitting and meditating and; sound of “Om Namah Shivaey” echoing the surroundings. On looking that scene she got scared and fainted. Immediately the saint turned human, said “Om Namah Shivaey” loudly and fell on the ground and disappeared. From that day the natural lingum of lord Shiva appeared in the cave where the saint used to meditate. Another legend says that once upon a time milk used to flow from the roof of holy cave. One day a local milkmaid turned greedy, collected the milk in a pitcher and sold in the nearby villages. From that day, milk stopped to flow and got replaced by water from the cave. This was followed by the appearance of natural lingum.

On 1st January a one day annual fair (Mela) is held at Mahanaal cave by the devotees of Lord Shiva in which people from all over the district and adjoining areas come to have darshan of lord shiva. During the mela, langers are organized for the devotees by many voluntary organizations. Besides, local peoples also come farward to arrange facilities for the devotees. The cave can be reached from different sources of transportation from village Rajbagh on NH-1A One passes through the villages Jasrota, Dhanni, Bakhta and reaches the village Jakhole after which the road is not motor-able and one has to travel by foot for about 2 km distance on the hilly terrain to reach the cave.

It is a sad commentary that this place of religious importance lacks basic amenities i.e. proper road connectivity clean drinking water, power supply etc. During the mela devotees have to face a number of problems which include passing through tough, small and hilly terrain full of dust and mud and non-availability of cleaning drinking water. Efforts need to be made to bring this holy cave on the tourist map of the state so that the pilgrim potential of the site is explored and utilized to the maximum possible extent

courtesy:-Daily Excelsior

 

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