Yatri Bhavan, Haridwar A glowing example of public initiative

O P Sharma
A glowing example of what the public initiative can achieve is presented by construction of a magnificent Jammu Yatri Bhavan in Haridwar by a group of religious-minded and socially committed prominent persons from Jammu. This Bhavan is now fast emerging as a spiritual, social and cultural centre at Haridwar, the most holy pilgrimage place on the bank of sacred Ganga.
The President, Jammu Yatri Bhavan, Pawan Shastri, in an interview told me that mainly on public donations; a spacious and decent 6-storey building has been built up on the bank of holy Ganga at Haridwar for yatris.
Giving details, Mr Shastri informed that the people from Jammu and Kashmir going to Haridwar have now a unique facility of boarding, lodging and spiritual solace in this magnificent building complex at Bhupatbala locality in Haridwar city. The initiative for a Yatri Bhavan at holy Haridwar was taken by a group of dedicated persons, mostly from Jammu with a firm resolve to raise infrastructure for stay of pilgrims there.
Long Felt Need
Haridwar, one of the most sacred cities of India situated on the banks of river Ganga, is literally the Gateway to the Lord (Hari-Dwar), as it leads to the famed Char Dham (four abodes of God situated in the upper Himalayas: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri).
It is one of the four places where the drops of the elixir of immortality, Amrita accidentally spilled over from the pitcher or Kumbha, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu. These four spots have today become places where the Kumbha Mela is celebrated every 12 years cyclically-Ujjain, Haridwar, Nasik, and Allahabad. Millions of pilgrims, devotees and tourists congregate from all over the world to celebrate this celestial event and perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganga.
Lot many people periodically go on pilgrimage to this sacred place for holy dip with a belief to wash off their sins and also for immersion of mortal remains of their relatives. Yatris also congregate in Haridwar on many auspicious occasions like Mahakumbh mela, Baisakhi Fair, Sakranti, Makarsakranti and many other fairs and festivals.
Unique Public Initiative
To overcome the problem of their stay there, the Jammu Yatri Bhavan, Haridwar is playing a pivotal role. The daily Aarti of Goddess Ganga in the evening, at Hari-Ki-Pauri is an enchanting experience for any visitor. Amidst spectacle of sound and colour, the pilgrims often float Diyas on the river and experience a great mental peace with the blessings of Ganga Maa.
There used to be spacious Sarais (suitable accommodation for pilgrims) built by Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir at Har Ki Pouri (the most sacred spot on bank of holy Ganga), but the Sarais have now been dismantled for development and beautification of this site. So the pilgrims visiting Haridwar were facing acute difficulty of suitable accommodation. Some dedicated persons in Jammu planned for a spacious and suitable accommodation and a spiritual Bhavan at Haridwar through public donations. And this dream has now come true.
On May 3, 1995, dedicated devotees with Sat Pal Langar as president and a committee of Jammu Yatri Bhawan was nominated for making laws and by-laws for formation of a Trust to undertake the project. Pt Pawan Kumar Shastri became vice-president while L.D. Aggarwal was Cashier; Mangat Ram Gupta was general secretary. Land was purchased in Haridwar and on May 30, 1995 the idols of Rahda Krishna were installed with rituals by renowned Baldev Dassji, Mahant of Kadhwana temple and disciple of Shri 1008 Lachman Dassji Maharaj. On June 30, 1997 the Bhoomi Poojan of the land was performed.
Jammu Yatri Bhavan at Haridwar has 150 rooms, with modern facilities. A unique feature is the Panj Mandir consisting of Shiv Parivar (Paras Shiv Ling), Ram Darbar, Mata Durga Mandir and Shri. Dharam Raj Darbar. It is a picturesque place with spiritual ambience.
Magnificent Complex
It may be mentioned that the Jammu Yatri Bhavan at Haridwar is meant for pilgrims without consideration of caste, creed, colour or gender. It was stated that besides devotees from Jammu region and any other parts of India or Hindu pilgrims from foreign countries do stay at Jammu Yatri Bhavan at Haridwar. Some time back, 60 members of Sikh families from Pakistan’s Sindh province stayed at the Jammu Yatri Bhavan, Pawan Shastriji added.
Jammu Yatri Bhawan Trust organizes periodic medical camps at Jammu in which renowned Dr. Ashok Vaid, chairman, Institute of Oncology Medanta – The Medicity, Gurgaon, provides free check up and consultation to Cancer patients.
Numerous philanthropists, prominent persons, leading institutions and even common citizens from Jammu have also liberally donated money for this prestigious project.
Proud Project
It is worth mentioning that on some occasions, top religious scholars like Pt. Moolraj Shastri, Dr. Dwarika Nath Shastri, Somdutt Shastri and others have organized programmes like Vishnu Yagya, Maha Vishnu Yagya and Ati Maha Vishnu Yagya for spiritual enlightenment.
The people from Jammu and Kashmir going to Haridwar have now suitable facilities of boarding, lodging, medicines, telephonic communication, lift, television in this magnificent building complex. Jammu Yatri Bhavan has Gokal Dham, Varindaban Dham, Mathura Dham, Dwarika Dham, Shri Krishan Dham, Jammu Darshan Dham, Kashmir Darshan Dham, Ladakh Darshan Dham, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Dham and Shri Baba Amarnath Dham giving glimpses of various spiritual places. Amidst chanting of hymns in the early morning, the yatris take dip in the nearby holy Ganga and then perform various rituals. On the occasion of Somvati Fagun Amavas on March 11, 2013, is expected a very large congregation of devotees at Haridwar. The Jammu Yatri Bhavan is making special arrangements for it.
This is a proud project serving the pilgrims and it has to be further expanded and amenities upgraded at Haridwar keeping in view future need and requirements.
(Starline Syndicate Service)