Dr Rakesh Bharti
India is universally known as the land of spiritual awakening and is home to some of the most architecturally brilliant temples and idols. The geographic land of India has several marks of faith spread all across its length and breadth. Shree Shani Dham in Jourian deserves a special mention here in context of world’s tallest Shani Statue.
Tehsil Jourian is a notified area committee in Jammu district. Jourian is about 55 km northwest of Jammu with a population of around 5,000 people. Town was set up by Mustafa Khan in 1903, Jagirdhar of RakhDhok which is around 5 to 6 km north of Jourian. Shani Dham temple is a major attraction in Jourian for devotees of Lord Shani.
The Dham is located in the heart of the town on Shahid Commandant Shamsher Singh Marg near Community Health Centre and Post Office. It is known for its world’s biggest idol of LordShani. Lord Shani is the chief deity of this temple besides Shri Hanuman Pratimaand Mahakaaleshvar Shiv Lingam. It is pertinent to mention here that the lingam is natural in origin, called as Narmadeshwar Shiva Lingam and is found only in one place on the entire planet, the Narmada River. The Lingam is composed of cryptocrystalline quartz and is said to have the highest frequency or vibration than any other stone on the planet. Narmadeshwar Shiva lingam is the holy symbol of union of Lord Shiva and Shakti.
The Dham has no priest or a sage or a pandit. All the devotees perform various Poojas by themselves. Each devotee is his own priest and the true feelings of him are the true mantras to invoke the blessings of Lord Shani.The major attraction of the Dham, of course, remains the massive statue of Lord Shani which is the world’s tallest Shani Statue, 39 ft (11.88 mt) tall, including its 6 ft (1.82mt) base. It weighs around 2,100kg. It has the distinction of the tallest statue of Lord Shani existing anywhere in the world.
The idol of ShaniDev was recorded as a tallest idol of Lord Shani in India Book of Records on December 23, 2017 and published the same in India Book of Records 2018. It is also recorded as the tallest idol of Lord Shani in the Limca Book of Records in December, 2018 and published the same in Limca Book of Records 2019. Shani Dev Sewa Samiti is putting its best efforts to record the idol in Guinness World Records.
The construction of idol of Lord Shani was started in June 2016 and completed in June 2017. Special architects from West Bengal constructed the idol by working day and night. The idol of Shnai Dev was formally unveiled by the Shani Dev Sewa Samiti on June 11, 2017. Since then, it has become an attraction for the devotees of Lord Shani. It is believed that with the holy chanting of the names of the Lord Shanithe Dham as well as the surrounding places has become sacred. Hence, by visiting the Dham and by offering prayers at the feet of the Lord devotees get rid of the problems.
Lord Shani is known as the greatest teacher. Shanidev is said to be very harmful to those who follow the path of betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge. He is known in Hindu scriptures as the greatest trouble giver as well as the greatest well-wisher. He is depicted dark in colour, clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and variously mounted on a black vulture or a raven. Shani Dham Jourian has become so alive that people take refuge in Lord Shani to reduce their sufferings by offering prayers to the Lord.
Shani Dev Sewa Samiti is the governing and controlling body of the Dham. No donation is demanded by the Samiti from the devotees to offer prayers in the Dham. Devotees offer money in the Dham as per their own shraddha. The money collected is used for the development of the Dham and in various charitable/social works.
Significance of the Shani Dham
*An unexpected honey bee shower (Madhusnan) by honey bees while laying the foundation stone of Shani Shila was an unusual event which is considered as direct blessings of Lord Shani in itself.
*When the idol of God Shani was unveiled, the learned Pandits from Haridwar and Katra performed chanting of Shani Mantras for seven days.
*Since then, it is believed that most of the problems of the devotees of Lord Shani are automatically solved when pray at this Dham.
*It is believed that the devotees’ problems would be solved when the ShaniShilais worshiped by offering oil (Tel abhishek) by them.
*The presence of the Peepal tree in the Dham makes it even more venerated. The Peepal tree is generally worshipped to please lord Shani.Putting a little oil at the root of the tree and lighting a lamp near it on Saturday helps get rid of a variety of problems. To reduce the malefic effect of the Shani Sadesati, it is customary to offer prayers and circumambulate the Peepal tree. The shadow of Shani resides in the tree. It is also a source of energy and eradicates negative vibes. All lords have place in its branches and leaves. Lord Brahma lives in roots, lord Vishnu in middle and lord Shiva on leaves. It is the tree that sheltered Mata Sita. Upon it Lord Hanuman sat and saw all the miseries of Mata Sita. Hence, this tree has a special place in the heart of Lord Hanumana as well.
*There are no priests or sages in this temple. All the devotees, both men and women, perform their own poojas to the Lord Shani.
*Every Saturday ShaniAarti is performed with full devotion and tradition.
*Every Saturday a Langar/ Bhandara in the form of Urad dal khichdi (Black grams with rice khichdi) is served in the Dham. Urad is considred as a favorite food of Shani Dev.
The Dham is usually rather quiet on weekdays but comes to life every Saturday – Saturday being the day of Lord Shani – with people thronging the Dhamfrom different areas. Devotees perform aartis and offer prayers all through the day to please the lord. The whole atmosphere and the environment of the Dham gets purified through the vibration of recitation of mantras and through the rays of spiritual accomplishments. The doors of Shani Dham are open to everybody. Each and every devotee of Lord Shani is welcomed here without any favouritism or discrimination.