Saturday, September 22, 2012



I love the picturesque  Sindh vally in kashmir. Sindh stream  originates from upper reaches of Drass area and  flows  down to join  river Vitasta ( Jhelum ) at Prayag or shadipora. The lofty snow clad mountain peaks , Alpine forests and grasslands (frequented by Gujjars and Bakerwals )are just bewitching and serene. At one end ,this valley happens to be a gateway to LADAKH or the land of LAMAS . The other end touches Sumbal near vitasta . Remains of Anderkot fort are just 2 kms away from village sumbal. Yes Anderkot that happened to be the capital of king Jayapida grandson of king lalitaditya . Queen Kota committed suicide( in 14th centuary ) inside this fort only .
The ancient shrine of Kheer Bhawani at village Tulamula lies in this area only.So does the Jamia Mosque of Dodderhaama , considered to be the camping place of large group of Syeds from Central Asia headed by Shah e Hamdaan on their Journey to Kashmir .Ancient Sodar Tirthaa ( present day Naran Naag temple ruins ) near Kangan also falls in this area.The sacred lakes of Kishen sar ( 3819 metres from sea level ) , Vishensar ( 4080 metres from sea level ) Gaad sar ( 3962 metres from sea level ) and Gangabal ( approx 13000 feet from sea level ) are also located in this area only.

Naran Naag in Neelmata Purana and Rajtarangini of kalhana

Neelmata repeatedly makes mention of Bhuteshwara Teertha or Sodar Naag or sodar Teertha . Bhuteshawara Teertha or Sodar Teertha is the present day Naran Naag Temple ruins and Sodar Naag is the spring of this temple complex.That is how present-day Naraan nag was called in ancient times . I have verified this fact at page 293 and 294 apart II of Neelmata Purana ( verse  1154 to 59 , 1160to 1162 , 1163 to 1164 and 1167 )translated by eminent Sanskrit scholar Dr Ved kumari Ghai. Neelmata also explains the spiritual merits of taking a bath in Sodar naag or Naran Naag as equivalent to performing Ashavmedha .

Kalhana too makes repeated mention of Sodar Naag or Naran Naag in Rajtaringini . To quote Taranga I Canto 107 and 347, Taranga II canto 123 and 139 and Taranga IV canto 189 .He too calls it Bhuteshwara or Bhutesha and Sodar Teertha . Again the spring inside this temple complex is referred to as Sodar Naag by him. In fact Kalhana makes it clear that this temple complex was patronized by various kings of Kashmir . King Jaluka ( 137 BC ) erected a stone temple at this site dedicated to shiva Bhutesha. Kalhana adds that King jayendra ( 61 BC ) would come to worship shiva Bhutesha at this temple complex. King lalitaditya ( 713-755 AD )donated a good sum of money to this shrine after one of his victory expeditions. King Avantivarman ( 855-883 AD ) built a stone pedestal with silver conduit at this shrine for bathing of sacred images.Kalhan’s family was also devoted to this Teertha . His father Canpaka paid frequent visits to this shrine . Kalhana’s uncle Kanka also happened to be a frequent visitor to this shrine . The Teertha had a large number of Purohits who were paid handsome salaries from the endowments created for the shrine .As per kalhana , the treasury of this shrine was plundered by king Sangramraja of Kashmir ( 1003-28 AD).

Location of the Shrine Bhuteshwara or Naran Naag and Present Status

The shrine can be reached presently by travelling to Kangan (about 40 Kms )from Srinagar . From kangan one has to go up a trekking a distance of about 17 Kms through Alpine forests and grasslands where Bakerwals can be seen moving with their livestock. A motorable road also is in use at present to reach this ancient shrine . Ruins of many temples can be seen and some of the structure erected in stone are still erect. . As per records and various books , there used to be about 17 temples Dedicated to Shiva Bhuteshwara , Shiva Ugresa and Bhairava built by different kings of ancient Kashmir from time to time .Some more temples appear to be hidden under thick vegetation around this complex. Water from Gangbal lake located at an altitude of about 13000 feet from sea leval comes to this area . Sodar Naag or the water spring still exists at this site . This spring is an oblong rectangular structure lined with stone slabs with proper steps . Some Shiiva lingas carved on stones around the spring are still visible to naked eye. Kanakvahini or present day Kreink Nadi flows to the south of this temple complex of Naran Naag. Kanak Vahini or Krein Nadi is formed by two tributaries flowing out from two lakes above this tiratha known as NundKol and Gangbal.Kreink nadi finally joins Sindh stream below the Temple complex near Kangan. This place has now become the base camp for trekking to Gangabal lake . People now take a shorter route to go to gangabal which is about 8 hour trek from Naran naag . kashmiri pandits have been visiting this area since many centuries for performing Shradha after immersing the ashes of their dead relatives in sacred Gangabal lake which lies below the Harmukh mountain peak ( 17000 feet in height from sea level ).Presently also trekkers to Gangabal lake use this short route . A night stay at Naran Naag and early morning steep uphill trekking of about 17 Kms ( Done in 8 hours )takes you to Harmukh peak below which lies the sacred Gangbal lake .Naran Naag is otherwise a halting camp on return journey to Gangbal . The old and traditional Route to Gangabal is through Sonamarg _ Nichnai _vishensar and kishensar lakes _Gaad sar lake _ Gangbal lake and finally the return via Narran Nag.This is a five days trek wherein one comes across deep blue lakes with trout fish , wild flowers ,Grassy Plains and Morain ( debris deposited by glaciers ), Steep valleys with hanging glaciers feeding small rivers and lakes and tumbling streams pouring out of lakes .Europeans and foreigners trekking to Gangabal prefer this route only.A distance of about 95 Kms is covered through this trek in total upto Kangan beginning from Sonamarg.

Presently lodges are available at Naran Naag for night stay at Rs500/= Per room with clean beddings. Government accommodation is also available on competitive rates. To conclude i add “ comparison “ a poem by noted Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas….

(comparison )

History came
and compared its greatness
to the magnitude of your sufferings.
your sufferings surpassed it by a few fingerbreadths.
When the ocean wanted to compare
Its depth to that of your wounds,
It screamed for fear of
Being drowned in them.

( Sherko Bekas noted Kurdish Poet )

So long so much for Naraan Naag
( Avtar Mota )

Saturday , September 22, 2012.. Time 11.05 PM … Good Night

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