Doda: Brief History, Places of Attraction

According to the records of rights (Misli Haqaqit) maintained by the State Revenue Department, the district Doda, like other districts has derived its name from its district headquarters situated at Doda. The records reveal that one of the ancient Rajas of Kishtwar whose dominion extended beyond Doda persuaded one utensil maker namely deed a migrant from Multan (Pakistan) to settle permanently in his territory and set up a utensil factory there. Deeda is then said to have settled in a village which later on came to be known after him. With the advent of time, the name Deeda seems to have got distorted into Doda, by which name it continues to be known today. Very little information, if any is available about the early history of the District and its rulers. The few chronicles available relate to the regimes of the rulers of Kishtwar and even these do not contain any valuable information except in respect of the rise and fall of different ruling dynasties. The settlement reports and other references indicate that the area falling within the jurisdiction of the District was ruled by Ranas, Rajas, and petty independent chiefs, from time to time. It is reported that Jaral Ramas, Katoch Rajas Bhaus Manhases, Chibs, Thakkars, Wanis and Gakkars have had their rule

Doda was winter capital of erstwhile state of Kishtwar. Maharaja Gulab Singh had firstly of all conquered Doda in 1822 AD. He saved it from devastation by winning hearts. The English Traveller G.T. Vigne, who visited Doda in 1829, has written in his travelogue:-

“I travelled from Bhaderwah towards Doda along the nullah there is a deep and rocky nullah, where the Chenab joins it, which I crossed over one of the dangerous bridges I had seen in Himalayan range. The distance of perpendicular rocks is about sixty yards and the bridge is about fifty feet height over the nullah. These pillar less bridges are usually of two types. One like that of Doda. Its structure is like this: A strong rope is spread up to the banks of the river without a swing and tied strongly with the rocks. Like the seat of the cradle a wooden structure slips over the rope. Other ropes are tied to this structure by means of which the structure comes and goes backwards and forwards. The other type of bridges is crossed on foot. Small ropes are bound with small pieces of bark of the boughs and then a thick rope is made of these small ones. This is tied on both the banks of the river, which provides the traveller to place his foot on it. This rope is not thicker than six, seven or eight inches but it is intertwined in such a manner that the tips of the boughs stay outwards and prevent feet from slipping. On both the sides of this rope about four feet high there are hanging ropes, made of the same stuff, which a person crossing the river catches hold of. These ropes are tied with the big rope at a distance of one yard each. The local people do not need any guidance that they should catch hold of the rope strongly and that they must ensure their back foot is firmly fixed before taking the second step.’’

The Fort of Doda was of great interest to historians. Thakur Kahan Singh Balowria, the author of Tarikh e Rajgane Jammu va Kashmir, writes that there were seventy forts in Jammu province in addition to smaller ones in Poonch area. These forts were used to stock armaments, other defence equipment and food grains. The fort provided space for the office of Thanedar and other police personnel also. When Maharaja Gulab Singh came to power he got these forts newly built and repaired. Teh Doda Fort was built for the fear of possible attacks fromthe Rajas of Bhaderwah. Since the Doda town was the winter capital of Kishtwar state, this fort was of special importance. In view of the defence affairs this fort had been built at the left bank of the Chenab. The unbaked bricks of 3×2 size were used in its walls. The walls were four feet wide and forty to fifty feed high. The dome like towers were built on the right corners of the fort and the movement of the enemy could be watched through its holes. In addition to these towers there were windows at appropriate places in the walls also. There was a pit in the courtyard of the fort, called chah bacha. It is said that professional criminals were put in this pit during winter season. One hardly knows what dramas other than those of rebellion, support, loyalty, deceit and trickery were enacted within the walls of this fort. This historical fort of Doda was demolished on government instruction in 1952. The buildings of Govt. Boys Higher Secondary Schools Doda exist in its place today.

Places of Interest

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VASUKI NAAG TEMPLE:  There are four Vasukinag temples In Bhadarwah: one at Gatha, second at Nalthi, third at Bheja and fourth at Nagar Bhadarwah. But the idol of Vasukinag at Bhadarwah is arvellous and a wonder of art and sculpture. Two idols of Nagraj Vasuki and Raja Jamute Vahan, are made of black stone which stands at an angle of 87° without any support from either sides. The statues have been standing as they ‘were, on small feet in their original position for thousands of years, although the place has witnessed so many upheavals and geographical changes, including quakes of intense severity. Their inclined position can well be compared with the leaning towers of Egypt. The art of sculptures itself isof unique type.

Guptganga Temple Bhaderwah

GUPT GANGA TEMPLE: To the east of the town on the bank of river Neru at a distance of 0.5 km, is the old Shiv temple, made of purely stone slabs. It has a tomb like construction and long stone slabs have been used in it. Here Gangaabruptly falls on the Lingam and then disappears. Inside the temple, there is a footprint of Bhimsen on a rock. There is a long cave said to have been used by the Pandavas to reach Kashmir from Bhadarwah during the period of their Agyat-Vaas.

This is an ancient and greatly revered Shiv Temple situated on the bank of Neru river near the first bridge on Bhadarwah Jai Road. This is famous historical pilgrim place. The domb of the temple is made of Stones in a circular shape. A stream of pure water flows from inside of the temple and drops on the ShivLing day and night. The whole sight is so attractive that visitors desire to go on seeing it again and again . the inside water then flows to a “Bawali” (Pond) where Sadhus, devitees and visitors take bath. The water of the Bawali is cold in summer and warm in winter. Since the stream of water comes into the temple in a hidden mysterious way, and the water of this stream is considered as sacred as the water of the Ganga, so it is called Gupt Ganga.

The ShivLinga of this temple was brought from outsink. The Shiv Zilehri is of huge size & made of black marble after a great deal of hard work and by using the local material for smoothing its surface locally.

There is a tunnel adjoining to the temple and there is no definite record of its depth. Near about sixty years back I along with my friends went inside the tunnel in the light of torch, when we covered some distance, we felt great difficulty in breathing and got greatly frightened and returned back.

It is generally said that Pandus during their exile took shelter in Bhadarkashi, one day they disappeared suddenly and it is said that they disappeared through this tunnel to some unknown place because that was the day when their Agyatvas (living in hidden position) started. This tunnel has been closed now. In the North West of this Shiv temple there is a splendid building on a rock . It is in the shape of a room, but there are three doors on each wall of the building . That is why this building is called “Barahdari”.

There is another temple of Baba Ganga Dassji in the North West on the side of Bhadarwah Chinta road. A splendid statue of Baba is installed in it. There is another temple in the North West. There is big splendid gardenbesides these temple, which adds the beauty of this place the tradition of this pilgrim place is that the Sadhus of this temple beg food items and fodder for cows once in a year from the town of bhadarwah and adjoining villages. Though the “Langer” for Sadhus runs through out the year.

There is a cremation Ghat near the temple on the bank of Neeru and people after death perform the rituals as they do on Ganga Ghat . So Gupt Ganga is considered as sacred as Ganga Mata.

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JAMIA MASJID BHADERWAH:  It is a splendid mosque situated In the town and is a marvelous sample of ancient art of construction. People from far and near come to see It. Greatest gatherings of Muslims can be seen In this mosque on Fridays. Oldest Mosque in Distt. Doda (118 Years)

The Jamia Masjid is one of the most imposing of constructions in the town of Bhadarwah. Its impressive design arrests the eyes at once. It is a standing monument and testimony of the faith of the followers. It consists of central building with two halls and side rooms and four lofty minarets at the four corners. The workmanship of its architectural quality can easily compose with the similar structures in rest of India. The present Jamia Masjid has a history of its own. There was a jamia Masjid standing about fifty yards below the present one, built on the bank of the mountain stream that flows nearby. By its sides there existed two more buildings, the Islamia School and an orphanage. In 1928 a terrific flood engulfed the valley. It was the result of a mighty cloudburst this deluge, the second it appears after the one in Noal’s time as conceived imaginatively by the eminent poet Rasa Javidani, destroyed the major portion of the town along with its people and cattle. It was a major calamity to the quite and God fearing people of Bhadarwah. The deluge included the destruction of the old Jamia Masjid along with its School and orphanage.

Shitla Mata Roshera Tour

SHITLA MATA ROSHERA: This is a very old temple of Shitla Mata. It is situated on a sloping hilltop. People continuously throng the spot from Chamba, Bani-Billawar, Kathua, Doda, Kishtwar through out the year for paying obseience and have the hair of their children cut called as ‘Mundan Ceremony’ in full musical sounds. The Largest and biggest Mela is observed at ‘Navratra’ on the Navratra (Ashtami) and people in thousands join this mela. There is a Dharamshalla for the night stay of the Pilgrims. The distance between Chinta and the Mata temple is 4 miles on foot.

Chandi Mata Mandir Chinote Tour

CHANDI MATA MANDIR CHINOTE: One more marvelous temple of Mata Chandi, is situated at village Chinote. Every year Trishule Bhaint Yatra comes here from Doda on 3rd. July. After days bhajan keertan and Bhandara, Yatra returns to Doda in the evening. Then on 18th. August a grand Yatra in which one lakh thousand devotees of Mata Chandi from inside and outside state participate. The Yatra starts from Chinote Bhadarwah to Machail and after one day stay at the Bhawan of Chandi Mata at Machail (Paddar) returns to Bhaderwah. The durationof this Yatra is of one month.

Ziyarat Bangla Nallah Tour

ZIYARAT BANGLA NALLAH: It is situated to the North East of Bhadarwah at a distance of 20 Kms. In Chirala Range amidst thick forests on the side of Chirrala Nallah. When ever animals of the farmers suffer from mouth and feet trouble, they make some offer to this Ziyarat and the Cattle recover from the disease. Thousands of pilgrims visit this Ziyarat every year.

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LAKSHMI NARAYAN TEMPLE: The Lakshmi Narayan temple is one of the famous temples of Bhadarwah. This temple was built by a resident of Sarolbagh and Prime Minister of Maharaja Hari Singh Wazir Sobha Ram. This temple was built about a century back. There is a big inn by the side of this splendid temple. It was built for the travelers. In this temple very beautiful statues of Lord Vishnu & Goddess Laxmi made of white marbel were installed. There are many statues of different gods and goddess kept in small almirahs on the outer walls of the temple and a small path round the temple for the devotees who come to pay obeisance to Lord Vishnu & Goddess Laxmi. This all adds the beauty of the temple. There is a big entrance gate, which is very high & wide. This grand gate also adds the beauty of the temple. It is said that about one lac rupees were spent in the construction of this complex in those days when the wage of a labourer was about some paisa. It is not out of place to mention here that the currency in those days was in silver coins. After the construction of temple and inns when the auspicious time of installation of statues came then Wazir Sobha Ram Ji arranged a grand function of “Yajna” havan and Bhandhara. All the learned brahimins of the area were invited to take part in this auspicious function. Before the start of “Yagna” Wazir Ji came to welcome the learned Pandits and found that Sangan Brahimins of village Chinote were not present there. He inquired from the managing committee the reason of absence of Sangan Brahimins. The managing committee narrated the story of boycott. Wazir Ji said that in the absence of Sangans Brahimins our “Yajna” would be incomplete. Therefore the boycott of these people will have to be done away with. Resolving so he sent a team of dependable senior citizens to visit Chinote to request them to participate in the “ Yajna” . On the request of Wazir Ji when all the Sangans came to participate. WazirJi welcomed them from the core of his heart and promised that he himself would go to the Vasuki Nag Ji temple and apologise for the crime of ending the boycott. On the assurance of Wazir Ji Sangans participated in the “Yajna” and ate the food of “Bhandhara” . In this way centuries old enmity and boycott came to an end.

BHOG TARAQ: About 2 Km North of Rahoshar Mata temple there is a mysterious small lake on the top of a hill called BHOGTARAG. The speciality of this “TARAG” is that it is situated on the top of the hill and apppearently no source of water from any side is visible. Inspite of this the lake remains full with fresh water through out the year. The second novelity of this lake is that a strong net of knitted grass covers the whole lake. Any man can easily walk over it. Devotees crossing to the middle of it make holes in the knitted grass and take their bath by holding the knitted grass as the depth of the lake is unknown. Taking a dip in this lake on the full moon day in the monthe of Saravan (August) is considered very auspicious in our holy books. It is also believed that faries also come to take bath there and it is said that they have knitted the grass over it in order to hide themselves. In the south a short distance of this mysterious lake there is a famous temple of “Dandasan Mata” . The inhabitants of Chiralla , Panshai and other surrounding villages come to that temple during their “Jatar” festivals to pay their obeisance and a grand festival is held there

DEVI GOL: This temple is in “Pat Nazi” area. Among this temple is eractedon a vast ground between the cluster of Deodar trees. In the North East of this temple there is a mysterious “Bawali” (Pond) in the middle of lush green land. The water of this “Bawli” is cold and sweet. The speciality of this Bawli is that the water flows to it neither from any corner nor from any side, but comes from the center of its bottom in the shape of a fountain. The bubbles of water then come to the surface . In these bubles half burnt barlay grains of “Havan” come and settle down in the bottom. People believe that these half burnt barley grains of the “Havan Kund” of Jawalaji temple of Kangra to be presented to Mata “Devi Gol”. People bring those half burnt barlay grains with great devotion to their homes.

NAGNI MATA: The holy temple of Nagni Mata is situated in Ilaqa Manthla, Malani. It is about six kilometers on foot and ten kilometers by motor road from the town of Bhadarwah. The main festival is celebrated on first day of the month of Basakh. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees assemble there to pay the obesence to Nagni Mata. Hawan, Kirtan and Bhajans are performed through out the day with full devotion. Langer is arranged by the local residents of Illaqa Manthala. A stream of clear cold water flows from beneath the sacred temple. The jay ghosh of Nagni Mata made by the devotees makes Mangal in the Jangel.




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