Ayodhya Nath Kerni
There is a magnificent and tranquil spot of serene ambience with spiritual surroundings located between Sudhmahadev and Benisangh in tehsil Chenani of District Udhampur called as Hardwar. ‘Har’ means Lord Shiva and ‘Dwar’ denotes the door. Thus, Hardwar is a gate way to the abode of lord Shiva at Sudhmahadev. Due to non existence of road link from Chenani to Sudhmahadev in earlier days there was only bridle track passing through Mandir Dushalla, Khandiri, Bain, Hardwar and Sudhmahadev. The same track was used for ponies to shift the articles from Chenani to Sudhmahadev and vice versa. There was an orchard of apples at village Bain owned by Chenani king on the both sides of track but now a days there is no orchard etc. The status of land has been changed to agriculture land and presently it is under the possession of other cultivators.
Man becomes prey of imperfection due to ignorance and comits sins. The sages of yore turned their gaze inward and studied the inner universe that existed within every one of us. In that quest they were successful in not only understanding the inner but also the outer world. Hardwar is a point where our seers realized consciousness through meditation in the ancient times. Our seers discerned clearly all causes of disturbance of life. Serenity of intellect gave them knowledge of ultimate truth. Prior to construction of Shiva temple at Hardwar seers used to carry out penance at this point and lived merely in thatched huts. They had the insatiable desire to attain ecstasy and bliss by purifying the mind. They gained veritable knowledge with tapasya at this place. This spot remained suitable for penance through the ages.
There are stone carved statues of lord Hanuman and lord Bhairva on the both sides of entrance door of the temple. An inscription also existed on the door but due to continuous application of paint it is defaced in such a way to be illegible. The temple is located among the groves of long trees and place is quite secluded. The Holy Devika stream is flowing little below the site of temple. There is quite a big Hanuman statue carved on a boulder on the bank of Devika, The backdrop of Hardwar is connected with the Chenani kings.
Shamsher Chand was a brave king of Chenani Principality. He was in possession of a triumph indicating sword held with the family since times of king Ram Chand I who died in 1610 AD. The sword was made of iron piece of the trident held at Sudhmahadev temple. King Shamsher Chand supported Ram Dev son of Ranjit Dev and followed him while launching an attack on king of Kangra. Prithvi Chand Nurpuria son-in-law of Ranjit Dev also accompanied them. They won the Kangra aggression. Shamsher Chand was on way back to Chenani and halted in a camp. He was busy in routine prayers and Nurpuria stabbed him to death and ran away with the sword. Nurpuria being his ally in aggression the forces of Shamsher Chand never doubted his integrity. This incident took place in 1763 AD.
Shamsher Chand had four sons out of his two queens namely Kishore Chand-Jhagar Chand, Bahadur Chand and Badan Chand. Kishore Chand became the king of Chenani being the eldest son, after his death his son Teg Chand became the king. He had only a daughter and no sons further. After his death at an early age his widow queen wished to coronate her daughter on the throne of Chenani. She was supported by Vasudev Chand son of Badan Chand but Dayal Chand son of Jhagar Chand objected it. There was a bloody fight in the family and Vasudev Chand was killed by Dayal Chand. Dayal Chand was coronated in 1798 AD and ruled Chenani till his death in 1853 AD. His rule for a long period of 55 years was mixture of glories and miseries for Chenani. Few important events are mentioned here under.
Ahmed Shah Durani attacked Punjab in 1762 AD and this time he turned his attention towards Kashmir which was being ruled by Sukhjeevan a governor appointed by him earlier. He had intentionally stopped paying of tax to Durani for nine years. Ranjit Dev of Jammu and Chenani king rendered support to Durani and a fierce attack was launched. After little resistance Sukhjeevan was captured and blinded as punishment. Durani awarded a jagir called Martand to Chenani. The Jagir fetched revenue more than one lakh those days. When Dayal Chand became king jagir was lost.
King of Bhuti Principality launched an attack from Chorgala on Chenani during the rule of Dayal Chand . He killed thirty soldiers deployed in defence of Chenani fort and palace was set on fire.
Another attack was launched by Suchet Singh king of Ramnagar with the support of Khalsa army in 1822 AD and over ran Chenani. Dayal Chand shifted his family to Shivgarh fort and skipped to Lahore. He prayed Maharaja Ranjit Singh to restore his Principality. He was advised to meet Gulab Singh in the matter and necessary directions were given to Gulab Singh. The area of Batote and Udhampur was attached with Jammu. Kotli village was annexed with Ramnagar. The boundaries of Chenani Principality were narrowed and it was graded as jagir consisting only 47 villages.
Many unpleasant incidents occurred during his early period which turned him to become spiritual. He addressed the problems of his subjects sympathetically and made all out efforts to solve their problems. On the other hand he wished to atone the sin of killing his brother Vasudev Chand before becoming the king of Chenani. It is believed that on the advice of soothsayers he constructed a Shiva temple at Hardwar. He completed the laid down process of atoning sin by offering charity and chanting of rituals by the priests. It is believed that his sin was forgiven. The place became famous for atoning the sins since that day.
People from all around the area e.g. District Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur and many other places visit Hardwar to atone the sins committed particularly in case of death of animals tied in sheds due to natural reasons. In case two km road is provided to this point from the existing Benisangh road the place can become more popular and convenient for visitors. The road being basic amenity is the key for making further development and improve infrastructure at the Holy spot.
Ayodhya Nath Kerni