Tourism potential of Yugdhar

Radha Krishan Sharma

Yugdhar is one of the ranges of Himalayan mountain which is about 2080 metres from sea level . It is one metre high than Nathatop .Yugdhar range comprises of upper reaches of villages/Panchayats Satyalta, Tandhar, Nagulta, Dhanas, Gharian, Pattangarh, Charat, Pakhlai, Malad Satyalta, Barmeen, etc of Tehsils Chenani, Udhampur and Ramnagar of District Udhampur .lt connects all these villages/Panchayats together .lt is about 18 kms from Tehsil headquarters Chenani and about 45 kms from District Headquarters Udhampur . White layer of snow during winters and carpet of green grass during summers makes Yugdhar very charming, attractive and beautiful . The complete mountainous belt of Yugdhar ranges from Dhar Gadian to Pattangarh is covered with large trees of Chir, Kail, Fur, Banj, Teldu, local natural flowers, herbs,etc .
Yugdhar is most famous for Baba Yug Maharaj ji. There is an ancient temple of Baba Yug .As per belief , Baba Yug is the grandson of Bhagwan Inder Dev.
In the temple, there are Pindees and idol of Baba Yug Maharaj ji, Nagdevta and Mahamaya mata .All the devotees serve “Rot” (thick chapati made of atta, gud and ghee) and”Jaggery” (Gud) as offering to Baba Yug . Now a days people also offer “Halwa” and “Phulian” as prasad to Baba Yug Maharaj . Baba Yug Maharaj ji fullfills the desires of its devotees .
Before 1947 the Raja of Chenani state and Raja of Ramnagar state used to visit there every year to offer prayers and to obtain the blessings of Baba Yug Maharaj .They also did bhandaras (Yagya) . They prayed for the peace, prosperity, development and good health of the people of their respective states . On few occassions even Maharaja of Jammu and Kadhmir Pradesh used to visit to obtain the blessings of Baba Yug Maharaj ji.

Baba Yug Mela
May 31

There are several other devsthans of gods and godesses in the surroundings of Baba Yug temple . These include Pathara mata, Marada mata, Kalika mata, Siya Devi, Mahamaya mata, Pakkaan Devi, Malpa mata, Dadi Baskaar, Nagon ka pani, etc.
PATHARA MATA- The temple of Pathara mata is situated about 2.5 km towards west of Baba Yug temple .The mata is present in the temple as a Chandi mata and she fullfills the desires of her devotees . Many people visit the temple of Pathara mata to offer prayers and to obtain her blessings.
MARADA MATA- The temple of Marada mata is situated at Malad Satyalta about four kms from Baba Yug temple . The mata is present in the temple as a Chandi mata . Every year many people offer prayers and obtain her blessings .
DADI BASKAAR- The temple of godess Dadi Baskaar is about 1.5 km from south east of Baba Yug temple . The people pay obeisance at the temple and obtain her blessings for the prosperity .
KALIKA MATA AND SIYA DEVI- The godesses Kalika mata and Siya Devi temples are situated in village Satyalta about 2 kms below southward of Yugdhar . Many people offer prayers and obtain their blessings .
PAKKAAN DEVI- The temple of Pakkaan Devi is situated at Pattidhar below Badansoo which is about 2.5 kms towards southwest of Baba Yug temple .The godess fullfills the desires of her devotees .
NAGON KA PANI- Nagon Ka Pani famous for Nagdevta is located at Kolasar in village Gharian about 3kms southwest of Baba Yug temple . There is natural source of water which completes the irrigation as well as drinking water needs of the surrounding villages.
MAHAMAYA MATA- The temple of Mahamaya mata is situated at Mohra Manaal of Sewna village about 7 kms below of Baba Yug temple . Many people visit there on Tuesday and offer “Jaggery” as prasad to the mata and obtain her blessings .
MALPA MATA- The temple of Malpa Mata is situated at mohra Terthiyal of village Satyalta which is about 10 kms below of Baba Yug temple . Many people pay obeisance at Malpa mata temple and obtain her blessings .The local people also arrange bhandaras .
NARSINGH DEV MANDIR- The Narsinghdev temple is situated at Mohra Sid of village Charat . The people offer prayers at the temple and obtain his blessings . On the occassio of Janmashtmi, a mega function is held at Bhagwan Narsinghdev mandir . The devotees sing aarti’s, bhajans and patriotic songs, puja havans also held .
DADI THER- The temple of Dadi Ther, a local godess is situated at village Karrian. The people arrange Yagya at Dadi Ther temple twice in a year .
BUDDA KEDAR- The ancient temple of Budda Keddar is situated at Panchayat Gharrian , Kulassar . Every year a Mela is organised at Budda Keddar.
TRADITIONAL YATRA- The traditional yatra to Baba Yug temple and other holy places goes every year since time immemorial . The farmers after the cultivation of new crops; i.e; maize, wheat and paddy (rice); offer put the prasad to these devsthans . There is a belief that due to this the production increases and rains will be on time . The blessings of Baba Yug Maharaj ji are also on the bovine animals. Before consuming, the people offer the prasad of milk and desi ghee to Baba Yug Maharaj ji.
The yatra to Baba Yug starts from Sewna, Karian, Satyalta, Charat, Tandhar, Nagulta, Gharian Dhanas, Pattangarh, Malad Satyalta . After paying obeisance at Nagon ka Pani Nagdevta mandir, Malpa mata, Narsinghdev mandir, Mahamaya mata mandir, Dadi Ther mandir, Siya Devi, Pakkaan devi temple, Dadi Bhaskaar temple, Kalika mata temple, the yatra reached and at Yugdhar temple. They pay obeisance to Baba Yug Maharaj ji and obtain his blessings . The people arrange bhandaras for the pilgrims . They pray to Baba Yug Maharaj ji for the peace, prosperity, good health, happiness, development, growth, common brothethood of the people, country and world .
The mela of Baba Yug is held on May 31 every year in which thousands of people participate. On this day, the’ PUJA ‘ of Baba Yug takes place in the premises of Baba Yug . After puja the bhajans, havan and aarti are held . After aarti and havan, every devotee pays homage to ‘Baba Yug ‘. A bhandara is also arranged by the local people of the surrounding villages. Different stalls of eatable articles like sweets, pakodas, tea, etc are also arranged in the mela .
A colourful cultural programme is also held in which children, students, youths, and senior citizens also participate and it comprises of Dogri songs, bhajans, bhangada, lambi-Bhakh etc .
No Development
Less or no attention has been paid to the development of Yugdhar and its surrounding villages . Despite having rich religious importance and charming and attractive beauty, Yugdhar lacks in every sphere of development since Independence . Many local people have approached the administration as well as the local leadership on this issue but every time they ignored this beautiful tourist spot. Due to negligible or no attention, the people suffer in every aspects of growth and development , The beauty of Yugdhar is not being advertised by the Government agencies. The forest cover of the Yugdhar and surroundings are also in danger but no attention is being paid by the department to protect the natural environment of the Yugdhar .
There are mainly two ways to proceed to Yugdhar.
First is from Chenani town and the second way is from Samroli( Aarsian) National Highway:–
The first path to Yugdhar is from Chenani town and it is 20 Kms long .From Chenani town to Badansoo about 16 kms belt , there is road connectivity and the remaining four kms is on foot . On the way path one can have the blessings of Pakkaan Devi, a goddess which is situated at Pattidhar .There are several other ancient holy temples which includes Shivji mandir at Tandhar near Chenani bridge etc.
The second way to Yugdhar is from Samroli (Aarsian) National Highway which is about 15 kms long; about 5kms from Arsian (Samroli) to Sewna by road and from Sewna to Yugdhar whole path is on foot .The advantage is that one can have the blessings of goddesses present in the path . Between Samroli to Sewna, there is Malpa mata temple at Terthiyal, Shivji temple at Sewna . From Sewna to Panchayat Ghar Satyalta, there is Mahamaya temple and Yug devta temple . The Kalika mata and Siya Devi temple come in this way.
No doubt Yugdhar is the highest peak of District Udhampur and have religious and historical importance also . But it’s unexplored tourism potential cannot be ignored and underestimated in the prevailing situation in our state . Yugdhar plateau has three main grounds spread over several hundred acres of land with white carpet of snow during winters and cover of different colour flowers during summer added charm to it’s natural beauty . It also have the potential to be promoted for adventures . Yugdhar is the safest place close to natural beauty for the tourists . It may has the potential to attract tourists and provide relief to them from tensions , depressions , anxieties ,etc and other psychological or health abnormalities naturally because of its pleasant climatic conditions . It’s natural herbs also have the potential to attract the researchers in this field . Meditation, Pranayam in the open environment at Yugdhar added significant effects in less time .
In nutshell , Yugdhar is the heaven on the earth and beautiful creation by the creator for the lovers of nature . It have religious and historical importance also because of holy land of Baba YUG .
(The author is General Secretary Yugdhar Devsthan Development Trust Chenani (J&K).