Neglected Purmandal shrine

Whether one would rue over it or express indignation or simply call it a victim of sheer and even deliberate neglect that historical shrine of Purmandal is virtually seen in the quagmire of neglect both by the Government as well as by the devotees thronging it during several melas taking place in this shrine . The historical shrine in the present complex was built by the founder of Jammu and Kashmir state by Maharaja Gulab Singh, most of the shrine even in virtual dilapidated condition still speaks about the magnificent workmanship, design and taste of its construction while the visionary Maharaja had, side by side, established a Sanskrit Vidhyalaya here on its banks since without knowing the mother of most of the languages – Sanskrit, one could not go into the depth of the beauty and proper understanding of the Hindu sacred scriptures besides in its related rich literature. Devotees take a dip in the waters of River Devika to cleanse the soul and not only the outer body hence the elevation of Purmandal as ”Chotey Kashi.”
With this brief prelude, it is quite disheartening while at the same time unbelievable too that of so much importance, both in terms of historical perspective as well as its religious connotations, this shrine and the requisite infrastructure around it and in the area should depict abject neglect, forsakenness, heedlessness and thus total apathy. The abject laxness can be seen in that the shrine complex is not even given usual distemper coating which could have been looked into and easily arranged, at least once in a year, by the Dharamarth Trust and even local managing body of the shrine. Where is the huge offerings made by the devotees going and not spent on the beautification and maintenance of this famous holy shrine, most of the people question. Talking about the basic developmental mini projects by the government around this area in order to lend due attention befitting the much famed shrine, it is all about neglect and no one’s concern . Connectivity is so much hyped as we keep on hearing about it and there being various schemes too towards ensuring that but the road leading to the shrine is in quite a bad shape not to speak of the bus stand which looks like being one in a remote village of yester years.
Why is it usually found that the government appears to be least concerned about those sacred shrines and historically famous temples which carry with them religious and spiritual attachment, lot of tourism potential and generation of various economic activities, in neither taking any initiatives towards developing the core places nor the infrastructure connected with such places. It may be case of Mata Shukrala Devi Shrine or Mata Bala Sundri shrine also having good potential of religious tourism, developmental infrastructure connected with those too is not only quite deficient but even in the shrines itself, routine maintenance suffers. The government – through the concerned district authorities, Tourism Department and even Revenue Department must devise such policies and programmes under standing guidelines to be implemented so that each and every basic need is taken care of that is cardinal to connectivity, means of transport, healthcare facilities besides connected requirements towards minimal maintenance and upkeep of such historical and religious shrines. Importantly, this shrine needs officially to be brought on the tourism canvas of Jammu by the government prominently for which due and prompt awakening is needed by making more details about the shrine known through modes of publicity.
Should one not really feel stunned to see that the historical inns in the vicinity of the shrine instead of being preserved and protected in their original form being in utter dilapidated condition to the extent of having turned into ruins? Rendering them to such a condition is tantamount to a disservice to and undermining the value and importance of symbols of historical significance. The old historical symbols are our heritage and pride where only an ungrateful people underestimate tremendous importance thereof. What to speak of the main entrance to the shrine, even the flooring of the sanctum sanctorum has a saga to tell of utter indifference to the needs and requirements of renovations and repairs. What are we presenting to visiting thousands of tourist pilgrims like this in the name of destinations of important religious tourism when even need based developmental works are nowhere around. Government, Dharamarth Trust and whichever managing body concerned, must see to it that Purmandal emerges as an enviably attractive religo-tourism destination with tremendous advantages connected to various economic activities of the place around the historical shrine.