Indreshwar Dham A fading sanctity in Purmandal

J L Baru
Indreshwar Dham a religious tourist spot at five kilometers distance from Purmandal upstream Devika is a source of grave public attraction particularly the devotee tourists from and outside J&K Union Territory. Maa Devika known as Gupt Ganga flowing almost underground has manifested in its visible form at this place. As per Sakand Purana, Devraj Inder when got cursed with the sin of Brahm Hatya for killing Tripurasur’ an Asur went for a penance of long 300 years. Lord Shiva pleased with the arduous austerity relieved Devraj Inder of all the sins and ordered the place to be known as Indreshwar Dham. Sanctity of the shrine finds place in Padam Puran also which reads as under:
“Among the eight white (shwet) Lingas on the bank of river Devika from Purmandal to Utterebahni, Indreshwar is the first ling. One who takes a holy bath and makes charities at this place is blessed with a place in Inderloka.”
Presently the spot is inhibited by a small temple housing Indreshwar Ling, seven caves excavated in a sandy rock, 4 in good condition and 3 losing existence because of erosion as well as landslides etc. besides a hillock with manifesting point of Maa Devika.
Prior to 1947 the spot was maintained by a Hindu Saint named Late Mahant Chamba Dass ji, who, when the scientific research was in its infancy, had introduced the concept of rainwater harvesting and formed a very beautiful artificial lake amidst these small hillocks. Maharaja Partap Singh was visiting the place frequently on elephant back to enjoy a boat ride in the lake.
Unbelievable, but true, in one of these caves there was a small water spring (KUND) flowing round the clock. The water besides drinking purpose was being utilized for gardening in the nearby fields where Mahatma ji was cultivating fruit and vegetables. Some people had also installed water mills in the downward direction. .
There was always a hustle and bustle at the place. But due to apathetic attitude of the succeeding governments the caves, the artificial lake, the boating and the gardening etc have today become a dream of the past.
The space under the lake presently stand encroached. Since the UT government is laying focus on the development of places of spiritual and religious importance with synergized efforts by all stake holders in the field of Tourism industry, accordingly the authorities at the helm of affairs are requested to ensure restoration of the pristine glory of the spot to its original position particularly the artificial lake on war footing basis which will besides providing a boost to religious tourism will be a step towards eradication of unemployment in the area.