Shrine of Peer Mitha

Dr Satinder Kaur
The State of Jammu and Kashmir, endowed with natural scenic splendour is dotted with different shrines which are held in high esteem by local people belonging to all faiths and communities. The sacred places are infact the symbol of unity and brotherhood.For years together, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have presented the glory of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Unity.
The great mystic gurus, saints and rishis preached the eternal message of universal humanism,compassion and peace. These spiritually uplifted places, have sustained with the times and have carved out spaces in the hearts of innumerable followers, belonging to the region. Among such is the Ziyarat Peer Mitha. The shrine has grown into symbol of harmony. People from different walks of life offer prayers and seek blessings of the Peer sahib. The place is thronged by people of varied faiths. The Ziyarat is about about six hundred and fifty years old.
The Dargah, popularly, known as Peer Mitha, is situated on the western slopes of river Tawi in the heart of Jammu city. The locality, post office and the police station is also named after the name of the Ziyarat “Peer Mitha”.
The Dargah of Peer Mitha, the sweet peer, reflects the architecture of ancient period . The main Dargah has a huge tomb, in the Center of which is the Darbar. On its western side are two smaller but similar structures.The main building has grave (Mazhar) of Peer Mitha Sahib. It is in the sanctorum.The Center is about 30 feet in circumference .The height of the tomb is about 30 feet . It is the one of its types in Asia. The walls are about five feet wide with one door facing south west. There is open space around the main building,where the successive Peers were put to rest. The entrance of the premises is a clear depiction of ancient times. The walls on both the sides are made of tiles, thin bricks and lime mortar. Later a huge mosque, madarsa,were built next to the Ziyarat.
The present caretaker Peer Zulfkar Ali is fourth generation of Peers. The history of Peer Mitha Ziyarat as narrated by the present Peer Sahib goes like this. That the Peer Mitha, the one who would accept one small Pattasha, small piece of sugary coin(designated with Laqab of Qutab -e-alam sabzwari, as he had come from the area falling between Afghanistan and India called Sabzwar) lived in 14th Century. He was having close association with Raja Ajaib Dev and Sadhu Garib Nath Jogi. Peer Sahib worshipped here and Sadhu Garib Nath in Peer Kho Cave about 300ft down hill, on the bank of River Tawi. Both of them were highly spiritual figures and often interacted with each other,which eventually made the area a sacred complex. The Temple down below is called Peer Kho (well of Peers) with an ancient cave and a Shiv temple.
Raja Ajaib Dev was son of Hamir Dev(1410-1437). Ajaib Dev held the throne during(1436-1459). According to the story narrated by the present Peer Sahib the tomb of Peer Mitha was made by Ajaib Dev as a thanksgiving for his wife,who was suffering from leprosy and was cured by the Peer Mitha Sahib. The site is protected under Archeological Survey of State and is notified on a board which has been installed by the Department of Archeology Survey in the premises.
People from different religions,communities, faiths throng the place especially on Thursdays. A congregation of Kashyap Rajput Baradari takes place on the Puranmashi of Chirri. The people from all over the states and neighbouring states visit the place to offer prayers and seek blessings from Peer Mitha. It is a huge festival which runs for two days.It is marked by singing of qawalis sung by qawals who visit from all over India.
According to one of the beliefs, the local bird breeders offer first bird chick and the first calf of cow and buffalo as a gift at the ziarat so as to seek the blessings of Peer Mitha for good and healthy generation of the offsprings of these farmers.
People come for fulfilment of their wishes and tie thread on the iron grill gate at entrance of the inner chamber or Darbar and ask for a wish. When the wish is fulfilled they make offerings in shape of gifts, bandaras and untie one of the knots of the thread.
The beautifully decorated tomb and Ziyarat, represents one of the rich architectural developments of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Amidst the picturesque landscape of Jammu and Kashmir, the artistically designed tomb and the mosque symbolize the zenith of architectural splendor of ancient times. The giant structure of the religious shrines add to the old glory and grandeur of the beautiful city of Jammu. Ziarat Peer Mitha is one such magnificent illustration of the religious fervor of the indigenous local inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir.The religious shrine of Ziarat Peer Mitha draws several devotees who are absolutely enthralled and enchanted with the divine sanctity of the place.