Mahadev Mandir

Romesh Mengi

Lord Shiva is the conglomeration of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, the three main presiding deities unified in one absolute form. Also revered as the supreme God in which the word ‘GOD’ stands for ‘G’ – Generator , ‘O’- Operator; D-destructor; The unification of the three deities symbolizes the whole universe and hence lord  Shiva is worshipped mainly in the form of ‘ShivaLinga’  personifying the entire universe , since he is the One and Only Supreme and absolute commander of the entire Universe.
The word ‘Shiva’ means ‘Auspicious of all Auspicious and also Auspicious even in Inauspicious’ since he is the presiding deity in the crematorium where the impure body travels for its final Journey and then the body gets purified by his grace and attains salvation.
Lord Shiva has been worshipped from time immemorial and temples dedicated to the Lord can be found in each and every corners of India, right from Kashmir, Amarnath, kailasha Tibet in the extreme North to the tapering ends of Rameshwaram and Kanya Kumari in South India and numerous Temples of Lord Shiva still exists in other parts of the world like Nepal, Pakistan, SriLanka, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra etc.
Lord Shiva is the Supreme form of the Trinity in oneness. Lord Shiva is the most popular Hindu God. He bestows numerous boons upon his devotees. On the one hand, he does the crude job of destruction and on the other magnanimity! He inspires, cares for and protects his devotees.
We see Shiv-Lingas here and there, everywhere not only in India but almost all over the world.
Linga consist of two words
Ga – ReCreation
That entity in which the whole creation merges at the time of cosmic dissolution and out of which it reappears at the time of fresh creation is called Lingam.
Reasi is famous for its striking natural beauty and religious beliefs. Deep inside this land, one can find many famous temples, caves which make an impact on the visitor, who is left with a sense of wonder about the creation of God, enhanced by the effort of man.
Mahadev Mandir is a well known religious place in district Reasi and is revered by all the followers. The temple is said to be more than 300 yrs old. The present structure has been built in present form by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine board . In the sanctum sanctorum, a Shiv ling is visible which amounts a single rock resting beneath.
As per the local Legend , there was a herdsman grazing cows nearby this temple. When cows reached a particular point , milk began to dribble automatically through their udders. This was very surprising but herdsman never noticed. When cows returned to their owners in the evening, many cows did not drip a single drop and many others dropped a tiny quantity of milk. Villagers and landlords began to blame herdsman for this but he was innocent in this matter.
Now shepherd was vigilant while grazing cows. One day he noticed that milk was pouring on a particular spot from cow’s udders. Herdsman told the fact to villagers. Anxious villagers watched the next day and decided to dig the spot. On an auspicious day and moment, astonished villagers prayed and started digging the spot. After digging villagers saw divine Shiv Linga and its Jalhari. Seeing this they began to dance and prayed Lord Mahadev and named this area as Mahadev .
Later on a temple was build there and named as Mahadev Mandir Reasi. As per local belief, all this happened on the eve of Baisakhi and from that time baisakhi mela was organized in the temple premises with religious fervor.
The place was popular among the locals and every year Baisakhi mela was held on the eve of Baisakhi and was visited and participated by all. Legend has it that there used to be a Baisakhi mela celebrated at Mahadev every year but one day, realizing the shortage of water and receiving grievances from the locals, General Zorawar Singh, who was given the commad of this region, suggested to shift the Baisakhi mela from mahadev temple to Vijaypur. General Zorawar Singh  then asked his soldiers to announce that this year Baisakhi mela shall be organized at Vijaypur fort. The soldiers announced the same as per the general ordered them. The same night, general had a vision of Lord Bhairava, who ordered him to shift the mela to its original place and apologise for his mistake. General realized his mistake and ordered for shifting of mela to its orininal place. When General went to repent for his mistake, he saw the Shiv ling split into two and blood oozing out of it. He soon lied on the floor apologizing for his misdeed and since then, Mela is being celebrated at Mahadev with same relious fervor. It was said that General Zorawar Singh found a Shiv ling from Chandrabagha river     (Chenab) after this incident. He brought this shiv ling to mahadev mandir and then installed Shiv ling in his fort at Vijaypur reasi.
There is another saying that once a local Shiv Devotee , offered to repair the Jilhari (oval shaped base on which lingum is placed). He had heard about the unending depth of the shiv ling but out of curiosity tried to dig the periphery to see the actual depth. Over the days he tried to dig but couldn’t see the base of linga. After some time, he saw snakes coming out from the earth. This frightened him and realizing his mistake, soon stopped digging and later, went on to repair the base of the shiv linga. There are also present idols of Maa Parvati , BairoNath, Lord Ganesha, Hanuman etc.
The Dogra rulers as well as Reasians hold it in high esteem and now a days heavy rush of devotees is seen here daily. During ShivRatri, the people have to wait for at least 2 to 4 hours or even more for having darshan of the Lord Shiva. A number of Langers are arranged by devotees of the Lord to serve parshad among the devotees. Locals of Reasi have a staunch belief that Lord Shiva has always protected Reasi city from mishappenings. They further believe that every desire is fulfilled by visiting shrine of Lord Shiva.
Presently Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board had completed the restoration work of Mahadev Temple including construction of new facilities for the devotees. Besides restoration of the Temple, a Langar Hall, Kitchen, Public Conveniences etc was also constructed in the complex. In addition to undertaking landscaping of the Temple complex, shrubs and ornamental plants were also planted alongside the boundary wall and old trees have been scientifically pruned and reshaped to add to the aesthetics of the complex.
There are also temples of Shiv Parivar, Shri Durga Mata Ji, Shri Santoshi Mata Ji, Shri Ganesh Ji, Shani Dev ji and Nandigan Ji in the temple premises.
Government of J&K should take  necessary steps to highlight and boost these hidden religious spots.
Suggestions:    Attracting tourists to remote religious areas will require improving the connectivity to these regions to develop these into commercially viable tourism sites.
A special marketing strategy should be worked out for religious tourism destinations and provide special training to people involve in the sector.