Tatta Pani, A beautiful village in Paddar
The Land of hot water, Tatta Pani, is a beautiful place in the Paddar subdivision of Kishtwar district. It is a major tourist attraction in the area. People from all across the country visit this place every year with great reverence. Hot water that gushes out from the deep cracks of the Earth is widely known for its magical healing properties. Though there are many such hot-water springs in the world but this in Paddar is unique and the thing which makes it unique is its myth that has held people from two villages together for so long.
Now it is on its way to becoming a magnet for all Machail Yatra devotees and tourists who come from all across the country to bath in the pools for healings from different kinds of afflictions. Relish on the legend that is associated with it. Here it is:
The Legend Of Tatta Pani
It is believed that Balrama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna came here in the form of NaagSadhu some thousands of years ago from (Pangi) Himachal to Chandipadhar (a place in Gandhari Paddar).
He meditated there for some period and then travelled along the route to Chittoo Paddar. He found Chittoo a very lovely place among all the other places he travelled. Therefore he asked Chitto Maa (who ruled that place) for some space to live there.
Furthermore he said that he would bless the land with hot water and some other help which would increase the magnificence of the land. But Maa put down his demand and offer outrightly stating that she is self-sufficient and didn’t want any kind of help. But if he wanted some help, she would give him instead in the form of 9 companions who would help him all around, she said.
After being refused by Chitoo Maa he left the place and went in search of other places. Amongst all the other places he went thereafter, he found the land ruled by the Rana of Zar suitable and conducive to his nature. So he decided to stay there. But the land he sought well for himself was owned by the old lady named Ruti (whose husband had died).So, he asked her for some place there to live but she also refused him straightly.
Distrait Balrama then tried to live there by himself, unwary of the circumstances. But when the old lady came to know about this she got furious and hit him in the eye with pincers. Also, she warned him to leave the land that he had occupied illegally. She remained adamant on her decision of not giving an inch of land to him. On seeing this, Balrama came back to his original form of Sheshnaga and commanded all the other nagas(snakes) of the area to leave the place immediately.
To his advice all the nagas left the land and went with him. But, before leaving the place he cursed the old lady Ruti of misfortune and it is believed that the same year the land of the old lady faced severe drought. There didn’t rain for a whole year and because of which many crops destroyed. There was an acute shortage of food that year and people started rebelling against the the local Rana.
To this the Rana of Jar went himself in search of him. After finding him, Rana begged for mercy and asked him to remove the jinx from which his land was suffering. To this benevolent Balrama agreed and went to the place of old lady with his nagas again. After reaching there he hit the earth with his trident there and hot water started oozing out of the place. There became a pool of hot water.
He said that this water would help people cure many diseases. He advised the people of the land to send 3 people to Chittoo to invite all the 9 aides that Maa promised him earlier of help.
They came on the full moon night and Sheshnaga taught them the procedure of cleansing the pool which is still unknown to the people of Paddar. Since then they come on the full moon night of winters every third year and clean it.
It is considered immoral to watch them cleansing, therefore nobody dares to watch them He also told the people there that he would meditate that night and a stone would appear there the very next day. Next day, the stone appeared and people constructed a temple
there in his reverence. After this incident this land got the name of Tata Pani. The Land of Hot-Water. It is believed that after this incident all the problems of the land resolved and they started living happily once again.
Lessons From the legend
This legend is no ordinary. It says a lot about the science and history of our land. Snakes are given a prominent space in the legend. Occurrence of drought after the departure of snakes is our ancestor’s way of telling us through the medium of this legend that snakes are crucial to the ecosystem.
Scientific research has also shown that they help in bringing rain to the land. Also, according to a mythologist Devddutt Patnayak The hooded serpent or Naga is an important creature in the mythological landscape.
It is associated with fertility and wisdom. People visit serpent shrines seeking good harvest (fertility of the land) and children (fertility of the womb). Moreover, there is also a mention of a king of Nepal in the history who killed almost all the snakes in his region which led to severe drought in the land that very year. This suggests that there is a strong connection between the snakes and the occurrence of rain.
They also control the population of rats and rodents in the ecosystem and thereby reduce the risk of above 30 diseases like Black Plague, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), Leptospirosis etcetera that are caused due to the increase in their population. To make it clearer, let me share the story of one more incident from the US. Once a dog keeper in Florida planned of killing all the snakes in his locality. After achieving the target, his locality was hit by a plague due to the increase in number of rodents and because of which many people died.
There are many other roles that snakes play in the ecosystem. They protect the environment from many harmful bugs and insects. Also, there is a yogic angle to it.
Our ancestors were supposed to have known this secret of the snakes earlier. That’s why, there is a strong tradition of worshiping of snakes in the area. People of Paddar still perform some rituals in the name of Nagdevta whenever there is a scarcity of rain there, which is a testimony to this fact.
To make the legend perfect, presence of one person from Jar Paddar is considered mandatory to complete the ritual, otherwise their demand would remain unheard, they believe. Paddar is full of these stories of Nagas. This land is blessed with many springs and we know that snakes play a crucial role in the cleansing of outlets of these springs and that probably could be a reason why there are so much snake worshippers in the region.
Hot water of the Tatta Paani also has many health benefits. It contains sulphur which cures patients from many rheumatic diseases and joint pains. Temple of Nagdevta there is a symbol of respect for these snakes which endow the land of Paddar with multiple benefits. A pool is also constructed there where people bath to get rid of joint pains. Only people from Chito clean the pool every third year in the winters and the belief that watching them is immoral has moral reason behind it. This belief has its root in enhancing the coordination between the villages. It increased their cooperation ever since and who knows whether people of Chito were also concerned with the knowledge of snakes or not. Anyways, this story has enough to teach us. Let us explore it in the future!
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