By: Ajay Singh Shan & Ashish Chouhan

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Paddar – The land of Pilgrimages

Paddar, known by many synonym names like Devbhoomi and Land of Sapphire, is also famous across the world for many pilgrimages that happen in the area. There are about 10 pilgrimages in Paddar which are the pride of Paddar. While performing these yatras one can catch a glimpse of multiple brooks and bridges. With many natural virgin places and sky-touching peaks one can also encounter myriad ancient structures and ghirats that people have constructed in the region.

Yatras in Paddar

As we all know that India is a holy land of Gods and Goddesses therefore one can find multitude of temples across the length and breadth of this country. From Shiva temple at Rameshwaram down South (Tamil Nadu) to Amarnath and Mata Vaishno Devi in the north (Jammu & Kashmir), multitude of worship places are present in India.

So is our Union Territory J&K (earlier state before the abrogation of Article 370) which is a sacred land where Goddesses like Mata Vaishno Devi, Mata Chandi, Mata Singhasan and many other deities live. Now when we talk about our motherland Paddar, we come across the holiness of this land. People often call Paddar Devsthan or Devbhoomi. There are many places in Paddar where there are temples of God and Goddesses.  Mata Machail (Goddess Chandi) whose temple is located in the Machail Tehsil of District Kishtwar is attracting thousands and lakhs of pilgrims every year, similarly Mata Singhasan at Chitto is also attracting thousands of people to its sacred place. Today many devotees come to these deified places to seek blessing.

There are many yatras in Paddar such as:

  • Machail Yatra
  • Chitto Yatra
  • Hagyoth Yatra
  • Garh Yatra
  • Mindhal Yatra
  • Ligri Yatra
  • Panji Dhar Yatra
  • Atakh Yatra
  • Gandhari Yatra
  • Pallali Yatra

Machail Yatra

Machail Yatra is a major yatra in the Paddar area. It attracts lakhs of people every year. In the year 2018 it nearly touched the Amarnath yatra attracting nearly 3 Lakh people. This Yatra was started by Sh. Thakur Kulbir Singh JI from Bhaderwah in the mid 80’s. It is said that the year when this yatra was started only 20-25 people accompanied him. With the passage of time Maa Chandi attracted more and more people to its divine shrine in order to bless them .The way from Gulabgarh to Machail is very beautiful. The river Bhot Nallah (a tributary of river Chenab) adds more colours to its beauty. There are many beautiful spots in the way like Seogi, Chattou, Padhi Hamoori, mehryal etc. One can enjoy the full trip to Machail. The tress like pine, deodar etc. are adorning the whole path. There are also many beautiful flowers in the area.

Chandi Mata Mandir, Machail

As the time period of Machail Yatra is from 25th of July to 5th  September, so many temporary shops are opens during this period, mainly in Gulabgarh, which is decorated the most as this is the base camp and is the heart of Paddar. Similarly many shops are opened in the way to Machail and the whole path is decorated strikingly. The people living in this area makes a good amount of money during this time by providing various products and services to the people. This yatra is also a promotional event to sell the local products and to show people the cultural richness of Paddar.

Chitto Yatra

Chitto Yatra is the second largest yatra in Paddar. It is also attracting thousands of people every year.   It is said that Maa Singhasan appeared for the first time in the form of Pindi in the house of a lady called Zyus Dai.

Later a temple was built after the order of Singhasan Mata. The holy Pindi of Mata Singhasan is kept behind the curtains. It is believed that if any person sees the pindi directly which his or her naked eyes he would lose his eye sight. The yatra to Singhasan Mata temple Chitto was started by Sh. Thakur Chand Ji from Chishoti in the year 1994. He was working in JK Police, he later resigned himself from the job and devoted his life for the worship of Maa Singhasan. In the year 2010, the yatra got registered and the responsibility of its maintenance was given to a body called “Singhasan Mata Sevak Sanstha” (SMSS). Singhasan Mata is believed to be a fusion of nine great powers. The village Chitto is also a beautiful village and the people of this village are very obliging and pure hearted. They are always there to help others. This yatra runs in the month of July in two phases. The journey from Sohal to Chitto is very beautiful and is full of natural splendour.                                             

Hagyoth Yatra

Hagyoth Yatra is a third largest Yatra of Paddar. HAGYOTH is a place where Maa Durga in the name of Gusain Mata lives. This place is located on the top of the mountain. It is about 7-8 kms from nearby village Garh. People have also made some makeshift houses (Puhali) on this Dhaar. Keeping beautiful flowers and medicinal herbs in her lap, this place is mesmerizing. This Yatra was started in the late 90’s in the month of August by Sh. Thakur Lal Ji who hailed from Kukandrawn Paddar, with the help of some others members. In the present time this yatra is attracting more than 2000 people every year. One can enjoy many exotic places during the journey. There are also many legends associated with this. Hagyoth is such a phenomenal place that everyone who visits here once becomes a die-hard fan of it. Its location on the highest reaches gives one an opportunity to enjoy the aerial view of many mountains and villages of Paddar.                                   

Garh Yatra

This Yatra to the temple of Goddess Kali was started by Sh. Paras Ram ji of village Massu. In the early 90’s this yatra was started with the help of some other members of a village. Now, this Yatra runs every year from Massu to Garh. This is a local Yatra of the region. It is said that the man who started this Yatra felt the divine energy in his home when his daughter recovered from severe illness. From then onwards he started taking yatra to the holy feet of Maa Kali. Massu and Garh are two beautiful villages situated on the opposite sides of the mighty tributary of River Chenab called Bhot Nalla.

Mindhal Yatra    

Mindhal is a place in Himachal though but Mindhal Yatra passes through the heart of many villages in Paddar like Karthai, Gulabgarh, Sohal, Tyari and Ishtyari. There also happens to be a Jagrata at Sohal Paddar in which people from all across the state participate. Jagrata is organised at the famous temple of Maa Kali in Sohal Paddar. With the unusual acts of professionals and melodious voice of singers this Jagrata at Sohal Paddar is also gaining some distinction. Serpentine road of Sohal Paddar remains chock and block during this day. Every year in the beginning of June month this Yatra heads towards Mindhal, which is a famous religious place where Maa Chandi resides.                             

Ligri Yatra

The Sheetla Mata temple of Ligri Paddar is very famous in the Paddar valley. Mata Sheetla appeared in the form of pindi on 7/8 September in the year 1996. Firstly Mata Sheetla showed the way to two siblings Sh. Dina Nath and Smt. Guddi Devi of Ligri. Legend says that after their worshipping of Goddess for many months She appeared in the Pindi form. After that a temple was built at the place where Mata Sheetla appeared. Every year, in the recollection of this miracle, a festival is organised in Her name. Recently a Chadi Mubarak has started from Jammu. Apart from this one other holy mace is taken to the temple from Gulabgarh by Satya Devi, resident of Billawar (District Kathua). One other Yatra has been started by a lady from Halliangwari of village Kundal who also arranges a Langar there. A large number of people take part in this festival every year. This festival on day one is concluded with the Dhunar swahar which is done by the main follower of Goddess Shitla Sh. Dina Nath Ji. In the evening a grand Jagran is also organised there, in which many local and other singers take part. On the next day arrangement of Hawan takes place in the sanctum sanctorum and after that Holi Maces return to their respective places on the third day.    

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Panji Dhar Yatra

Panji Dhar yatra  is also a major yatra in Paddar. Panji Dhaar is located on the extreme top of the mountain. This yatra is taken from the house of Sh Ramesh ji of Hanswar (called Hansaa in local language) in the month of August (8th or 9th of August most probably). It is also a time when whole Paddar celebrates Gyokar. Although it is taken in the month of August but one has to travel miles through glaciers on the mountains to reach the deified place. About 250 people visit the pious abode of Maa Panji every year. It is said that Ramesh Ji took this yatra for the first time, after his long pending demand was fulfilled by Maa Panji. He got his home filled with the jubilant cries of a toddler after 11 years, people say and this happened only when he showed his full faith in the powers of Maa Panji. Due to its panoramic location this place has also become a major tourist destination for the adventure lovers.

Click Facts of Paddar to know more about Paddar.

Atakh Yatra  

This yatra is a local yatra of the Sazar village in sub division Paddar. It is said that once there was shortage of water in the Sazar village.  It became difficult for the villagers to live in the village. At that time a Sadhu came in the dream of one elder man of the Village, who called him to come to the place called Dhaara with other people if he really wanted to save his home from the problem of water scarcity. People say that this Sadhu that came in old man’s dream was none other than Plat Naag (their Kul Devta). When that elder man reached that place with some other people Sadhu directed them the way the problem can be amended. It is said that the problem was solved that day and people lived happily thereafter. From then onwards people of Sazar take Yatra to this place every year. Today it has swelled to become a Yatra of 500 people. Like Ayappan in the South His abode is also not open for women.                                          

Gandhari Yatra    

Gandhari Yatra was started three years back on the eve of Naghui festival. This yatra is taken from Kastigarh area of District Doda. Every year in the mid-August Naghui festival is celebrated in the village Gandhari which is a most beautiful valley in Paddar. This valley is surrounded by many naked tall mountains on the one side and beautiful trees on the other side. Play ground near Chag village called Kandaang adds more colours to its beauty. Small rivers and rivulets act like a chandelier in the valley which adorn the valley from all sides. Mainly in the month of July and August, this place is not less than heaven. During these months the whole valley gets surrounded by flowers of many colours to glorify the beauty of Gandhari. Apart from this, the hospitality of the local people of Gandhari is mind blowing and a subject of admiration. I personally advise every person to visit this beautiful valley at least once in life time.

Also from the same author:

  1. Paddar Sapphire Mines: A million dollar Industry in J&K    
  2. Interesting Facts About Paddar
  3. Machail Yatra 2020
  4. Chitto Yatra-2020
  5. Legend of Hyuna Bwadhi
  6. Legend of Bhoondu ki Zaath
  7. Meri Pukar
  8. Legend of Tatta Pani
  9. Top 5 Machail Valley Photos

                                             

Shivdham Yatra Pallali

Pallali is considered as the land of Lord Shiva. A Baba namely Dhanvantar Giri Jee Maharaj from Basholi District Kathua of the Jammu region visited Pallali and experienced the divinity of the said place. He built a temple of Lord Shiva and brought this serene place to limelight. The temple of Lord Shiva which is built between village Pallali and Baintha is very beautiful. The Shivdham Yatra begins on 27 0f June every year. This Yatra along with Machail Yatra and Chitto Yatra is also gaining currency in our state. This yatra is taken from village Hurriangwari under the guidance of Baba Dhanvantar Giri Jee Maharaj. From 2019 the yatra is started from two more places other than Paddar. In 2019 on Wednesday 26th of June the Shobha Yatra started from the house of Sh. Balkrishan Baloria of village Bhalesa and Sh. Pawan Sharma of Janipur Jammu. On 26th of June Yatras from Bhalessa and Jammu halted at village Hurriangwari for rest and then on 27th of June all the three Shobha Yatras headed towards village Hakko and night stayed there in the temple of Myoo Naag. The night was spent with Jagran and Bhajan-Kirtan . On the next day on 28th of June all the three Shobha Yatras reached the holy temple and after performing rituals many colours hence were added to the Yatra. Again the night saw a huge Jagran at the divine place of Lord Shiva. Finally on 30th of June the Yatras returned back to the village Hurrian Gwari of Panchayat Gulabgarh.

Shiva Dham, Pallali

One can get a glimpse of tall Arjuna and colossal Brahma peaks from this spot. After Machail Yatra and Chitto Yatra this is the third largest yatra in Paddar.

Significance of Yatras in Paddar

Big yatras like Machail Yatra and Chitto yatra are contributing a lot for the employment and income generation in Paddar. These yatras are promoting the beauty of Paddar on many stages, state as well as national. Nowadays people from all across the country visit Maa Chandi shrine every year. Along with Machail Yatra and Chitto Yatra there are many other Yatras in Paddar like Shiv Dham Yatra, Gandhari Yatra etc. which are also gaining prominence.  Scores of people visit these abode of Gods and Goddesses. About 200000 devotees visit Maa Chandi Shrine in Machail every year. People from all across the Paddar setup their small enterprises during this month long Machail Yatra. This year though people incurred heavy losses when Yatra was stopped after the abrogation of Article 370 but still about 35000 people reached the Shrine this year according to the sources. All these Yatras generate seasonal employment in the area. Along with revenue generation one can say that these pilgrimages give Paddar currency in the whole country which flag the way for the development of this area. In one line we can say that future of Religious Tourism is bright in Paddar if proper exertions are made in this direction by the Tourism Department.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Great job sir .
    Paddar is proud of you for contributing towards it’s glory.
    Much appreciation keep this spirit up.

  2. Sir I also want to contribute to glory of paddar and I have uploaded a presentation on tourism in paddar .
    Please I want support and shout-out
    Channel name – passionate 96

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