|A hidden Bridge is the only connection between Kishtwar and Dachhan Valley|
|Hudh Mata Bhawan|
|On our way to World famous – Brahma Peaks|
From Kaikoot, we headed to ‘Nanth Nala’ of Dachhan, our final destination. There is a cave at Nanth Nala, which has three naturally formed ice lingams; the devotees believe them to be Lord Shiva, Parvati and their son Ganesh. From the ceiling of the cave, milky limewater oozes out drop by drop and falls on the three lingams. Elderly locals say that there used to be a kund (pool) inside the cave earlier in which, if you were a true believer, darshan of Lord Shiva’s family could be had with the help of a torch light!
Devotees throng to the cave and the Hud Mata Temple annually on ‘Haar Shudi Ashtmi’ (eighth day of the bright lunar fortnight in the month of Haar in the local calendar). Initially, only the people of Dachhan participated in this yatra, but now it has gained popularity and people from other areas of Kishtwar district are joining in as well. As part of the ritual, pilgrims of Kishtwar and its adjoining area assemble at Gori Shanker Mandir in Sarkoot and travel by buses up to Patimhala and then on light vehicles to Ikhala, 40 km from Kishtwar. From Ikhala, they reach Sounder on foot.
After a night’s halt at Sounder, the pilgrims, along with the holy mace of ‘Hud Mata’, start their onward journey from Radha Krishan Temple in Sounder to Viraat Mata Mandir in Dilgoot, travelling a distance of about 6 kms. Many more devotees join the yatra in this leg. After the night’s stay at Dilgoot, the picturesque journey towards Nanth Nala begins. Travelling a distance of about 20 kms, pilgrims reach Gugath, a picturesque ‘summer resort’ for the shepherds of Dachhan. The next day, which is Haar Shudi Ashtami, the yatra concludes at a shrine which is 8 kms from Gugath. The pilgrims then head to Tri Sandhya, another 2 kms ahead, for a holy bath to complete their yatra.
|Yatries waiting for mysterious Tri-Sandhya Stream|
It was on the morning of the fifth day of our ‘yatra’ that we sighted the Brahma Peaks. It was here, where we stood, that the magical stream appears thrice a day. The Tri Sandhya stream is like any other stream we had seen, except that it flows only thrice a day, every day. We watched as the stream magically appeared at 5 pm and then, slowly receded and disappeared without any trace by sunset. Devotees consider the waters sacred and it is considered auspicious to take a bath in the water for cleansing of the soul. The name ‘Tri Sandhya’ has been attributed to this stream in the belief that prayers should performed thrice a day by this stream to Lord Shiva, Parvati and Lord Brahma, who are believed to reside in the region. The stream is situated opposite the Brahma Peaks with the river ‘Nanthnala’ flowing in between. Locals believe that the stream always appears thrice a day, except in the presence of a wicked person. The presence of such person is considered a bad omen for the region and the waterfall would not appear, they say.
With the myths in our mind and magic in our hearts on the morning of the sixth day, we headed back and were able to reach Panjhdhara by 5 pm. The next day we were at Kishtwar before noon, physically going back to our homes but mentally still at Nanth Nala.
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