Piarray Lal Raina
While travelling from Anantnag to the South on Duru-Verinag road at a distance of 8 km, on the right side, is a famous village called Larkipora and from this village at a very little distance is situated Lokbhawan, famous for a ‘Sparkling Spring’ taking its course from the foot of a hill spread all around the village. The very famous ‘Lokbhawan Shrine’ popularly called the ‘Sedh Laxhmi Peeth’ is around this Holy Spring. At the top of the hill is the place of ‘Mahakal Barave’ and in the North direction of the spring is ‘Narayan Nag’. The Shrine comprises temples, Daramshalla, Havan kund etc but the sorry state of affairs is that the temples are without deities.
HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE OF LOKBHAWAN
Once the township, Lokbhawan derives its name from the name of the then the local ruler ‘Loknatha’. It was also called the ‘Rudrabhawan’. It was also called the ‘Loka-Punya’ in the books of history, however the present history is altogether silent about this village. ‘Kalhana’s Rajtarangni’, a famous historical book on Kashmir mentions Lokbhawan in it. Mr. M.A Stein’s translated version of ‘Raj-Tarangni’ (Vol-II) Page No. 468 under column 113 records existence and importance of Lokbhawan and the presence of the Holy Spring. Sometimes it is referred to as the second part of ‘Martand'(Mattan). It is also said that Lalitaditya had laid the foundation of this famous village in the name of ‘Lok-Punya’ which is today’s Lokbhawan. This village in the latter years of this King’s Rule had emerged as an important centre of landlords called ‘Damras’. There is also mention of the village in the ‘Tuzki-Jahangiri’. It appears that the village started from ‘Sadura’ (a separate another village now) and ended in ‘Shankarpora’ (a separate and another village now). From both the villages on excavation even today monumental things of ancient civilization are dug out. The area had been so immensely populated that a goat once climbed a house in the South end and finally came down in the North end of the township. On the upper side of the Holy Spring are the ruins of ancient monument which carries a cave under it. On entering the cave, which is now almost closed because of slit, mud etc coming down from the upper reaches, the deities of Gods and Goddesses are seen. It would have been a ‘Worship Place’ of the ancient kings.
It is said during the reign of powerful ruler of Kashmir, ‘Lalitaditya’ (7th- 8th Century) a dumb Hindu woman named ‘Dayamal’ lived in the township. There was no drinking water available in the township. Dayamal used to be very poor and earned her livelihood by serving water in peoples’ houses. She was a deeply religious and a pious woman. Once it so happened that she could not get water for a family because of heavy snowing and in the darkness she, somehow, moved to ‘Hartal’ wherefrom she usually used to go and get water. A ferocious lion with its mouth wide open counters her. Without any fear the Spiritual Woman pleads, “Allow me to fulfil promise to a deserving family. I shall be returning soon to satisfy your hunger”. The Lion closed its mouth and disappeared in darkness. ‘Dayamal’ after delivering water to the family returns to the same place but alas! The Lion is not seen there instead a heavenly voice is just heard, “your devotion to duty has been tested. Tomorrow you shall go to the place (the present Spring). A group of crows just led by a white one will dig the earth there. Water will come out. Thus making an end of the worries of the people of the township”. It is also said that this pious lady on this very day transformed herself into a crow and flew along them.
Sheikh Noor-Ud-Din Wali, revered saint of Kashmir eulogises ‘Dayamal’ in his verse as:
Swami Merzakak (Hangalgund) a revered Saint remembers this great lady in the following way :
“Lokbhawanch Kajay-chothdovun tai lazanpajay
HARBAH (A FESTIVAL)
Is celebrated here every year on Ashad Shakulpaksh Duadashi, when a yagna is solemnised. The shrine was burnt down by the social elements in February 1986 and then renovated and constructed by the then Governor of J&K Jagmohan.
S.N Veer has written a lot about the shrine and its history. It was by virtue of his efforts and a revered saint of Kashmir PushkaraSwamiji that the shrine came to the centre stage age.
Piarray Lal Raina