Monday, January 28, 2013



( A summer  view of river Jhelum near Pampore  Photo autar Mota. )

 We know   the Mesopotamians made rafts with wooden platforms resting on inflated animal skins  to cross rivers . The practice of Crossing rivers on inflated animal skins  was prevalent in Kashmir also   .As per kalhana’s Rajatarangini ,Inflated Animal Skins were also used in Kashmir for crossing rivers . I quote

 “The enemy made haste and with armed men and inflated skins , he drew out Jayapida from the midst of the river and took him prisoner and held a feast . ”

(Canto 544 page 167 Taranga IV Rajatarangini translated by R S Pandit )

“His officers, Kandraja and others , while crossing the sindhu without a bridge , went to the residence of the Leveler owing to the bursting of the inflated skins in the stream ”

(Canto 1129page 497 Taranga VIII Rajatarangini translated by R S Pandit )

Animal skins were used by ancient Greeks to cross rivers .

( Autar Mota  )
 Monnday , 28th January 2013.. Time 0.15 AM ... Good Night 

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Friday, January 25, 2013


 Photographs  Autar Mota 

I  have uploaded some photographs of Stone Cutters of Athwajan in kashmir . Right from Pandrethan in  the city outskirts , one finds the road side dotted with shops selling Vokhul , Nyaami , Kaajwath , Gravestones and Building stones .All cut and chiseled from Devri stone quarries located near PANDRETHAN Hill in the outskirts of srinagar city. These stones were also used in Bhudist  Chaitya  and Temples at  Parihaaspora kashmir  .There is sufficient evidence that elephants were also used to carry these heavy stone slabs from one place to another in Kashmir .Devri stones were extensively used  for  Temple construction in ancient Kashmir .These stones have been used for construction of Martand Sun Temple, Awantiswamin Temples of aantuipoea as well as Gaurisa And Sungadesh Temples of Pattan. Later the stones were also used for construction of Mosques and other Buildings . These stones were also  tastefully lined in the foundation of old  building in Kashmir.

 In one of the uploaded views you can see stones from the hill being carried in trucks to city for construction as well as to the stone cutting units located on national Highway near Athawajan in Kashmir .  This area has been famous for Devri stones since last two thousand years . These stones have also caught the attention of Lal Ded or Lalleshwari who was born in Sempore ( Near present day Pampore and proximal to Devri stone Area of Kashmir ).  A Devri stone pillar of AWANTISWAMIN TEMPLE Ruins at Awantipora has also been uploaded .

Deev vattaa divur vattaa
Peythha bvona chhuy ik-vaathh:
Pooz kas karakh hutt Bhattaa,
Kar manas ta pavanas sangaath.
( Lalleshwari )

The idol is  a stone,
The  temple too is  a stone,
From top to bottom it is nothing but just a stone and a stone only.
Whom shall  you worship , O stubborn  Pandit  ?
Attempt unification of your Pranna and the mind .

 ( Autar Mota )
24th january 2013.Thursday 11.55 PM .. Good Night 


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Sunday, January 20, 2013



photographs  Autar Mota
.Pulwama was carved out of Anantnag district of Kashmir  in 1979. It is about 40 Kms from srinagar city and  is surrounded by Srinagar in North , Poonch area of Jammu province and Budgam district of Kashmir  in west and Anantnag District in East .The District comprises of three Tehsils namely Traal , Pulwama and Pampore  and five developmental Blocks which are Traal, keller , Pulwama , Pampore and Kakapora .

Main crops of the area are Paddy , Mustard and Pulses . Fruits like apples , pears cherries  are   grown in plenty.  Delicious and lately the Kulu variety of this apple is grown all over the area. Almonds and walnuts are also grown in plenty in this district.  This district has brought white revolution in Kashmir and about 60% of the milk consumed in Kashmir valley comes from this district alone .

Payer and Narasthan Temples fall in this district .Payar temple   visited by Vigne and Cunningham is just three killometres from the Pulwama town. Remains of beautiful temples  built by  king Awantivarman in Awantipora town just on main Jammu -Srinagar  National Highway also fall in this district . 
The ziyarat of Dervesh Sheikh Sharif Ud Din wali popularly known as Shoag Baab Sahib  lies in  Pampore town. The Jwala Ji temple of khrew also falls in this district. The ziyarat of sufi saint Syed Mantaqi also lies on the main road near the Awantipora town. A Gurdwara in Awantipora trown has been built upon the resting place of     Guru Nanak Dev  during his visit to  Kashmir . It is also said that Guru Nanak Dev ji met  Sufi Dervesh Kamaal Sahib kamala sahib at Awantipora only.

Saffron and kashmiri Red Chillies are also grown in Pampore area this district Pampore also happens to be the birth place of Kashmir’s greatest saint poetess Laleshwari or Lal Ded.  There used to be a fresh water  spring  known as Lal-Traag which was  dedicated to this saint poetess . The spring has possibly dried up due to neglect and the place  is a  Public Park  now. Poetess Habba Khatoon or Zoonie the queen of King Yusuf Shah Chak also hailed from a village proximal  to present day Pampore town. Pampore is also famous for the special Kashmiri bread fondly called SHEERMAAL. 

A memorial of well known kashmiri poet late Gh Ahmed Mehjoor has also been set up at village Mitrigaam in this district.Famous  .Khankaah  at Traal built by Mir Syed Ali Hamdani  lies in this district . The district  is now covered by Railway Network laid by IRCON .  


so long so much about Pulwama .To this post on PULWAMA  , I add a  poem titled BOAT  by  Sherko Bekas well known Kurdish Poet

To me
My  heart is like a boat
With some holes in the bottom.
again and again
water  presses its way in,
and I bale it out.
Before I have baled out
a bucketful of old sorrow,
it is already replaced by new sorrow.
But neither does this restless boat sink
nor does it anchor
in the whirlwind of this night.
(  Sherko Bekas …….Translated from his original  Kurdish poem )

 (Autar Mota )

Sunday 20th January 2013 .... Time 11.40 PM ... Good Night

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Saturday, January 19, 2013



Photographs  by  Autar Mota                                                                       

 "Woh Idhar Nahin Miltaa hai jenab . Aap jammu Ki Kalaadi Dhoondtaa hai . Ye Roti wala Maeshkraari hai . Gujjar Log Laata hai "

“ That is not sold over here . Sir you are possibly trying to purchase Kalaadi of jammu .This is a Chapaati type of kalaadi. Gujjars make it over here .”

So said the shopkeeper at Shopian when i asked for Kulchaa type Kalaadi . I could only find Chapaati type Kalaadi at his shop. Kalaadi is specialty of jammu hills . It is as solid as Cheese .Gujjars make it from Milk. It tastes something in between Curd and Cheese. Just Fry it in  the Pan  and take it . It pours out Ghee or fat  of its own. I have relished it at Samroli on Jammu Srinagar Highway . I have also tasted it at Udhampur town in Singh Cafeteria .I have also bought the fresh Stock of Kalaadis from Pehalwaan's shop in Gandhi Nagar Jammu for friends in Srinagar . How tasty !

This was our visit to shopian in september2009 . I visited shopian again in 2010 ., 2011 and  2012. Shopian is a historical town about 52Kms from Srinagar city .It was in 1979 that Pandit Swaroop Nath saraf headed an all party action committee which started an agitation demanding that Shopian be made a District .Gh Nabi Azad’s  Government finally accorded a district status to this area in 2007. This district has two assembly segment  namely Wachi and shopian .

Mughals would enter kashmir through Shopian only, trekking through what is now known as Mughal Road by crossing the Sidau or Budil Pass ( 14000 feet  ).This road has  now  connected kashmir with Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu.Owing to shortness of this route , it was the most preferred route of kashmiris to move in and out of Kashmir valley. From this route one could go straight to Sialkot  via Akhnoor or to Lahore via Bhimber  .  Some Beautiful places in this area are Seadow , Forests range of Kungwattan, Lake Kounsernaag , River RembiAraa and Aharbal waterfalls . Apart from these places the area is full of stunningly beautiful forests , meadows and streamlets of water.

Mughals camped in this town  while visiting kashmir after crossing Pir Panjal Mountains. It is said that the imposing jamia Masjid in the heart of the town dates back to Mughal period .This mosque catches your attention once you move in the town.I have visited and stayed in the town many times previously as my sister's husband was posted over here for about three years .

"Come in . This is a place for offering Prayers to Allah Subhaan o Tallah . I am none to stop you. Please be comfortable ."

said the Muazinn when i sought permission to go inside Jamia Mosque located in Shah Mohalla , in the heart of the town . What a beautiful structure the mosque is ? Imposing entrance ,wooden Pillars , Spacious Halls for prayers , A spacious and clean courtyard inside and artistically decorated brickwork , the mosque reflects elegance of Mughal era.The famous Kapalmochan Teertha of Hindus is also located in this area .People speak Kashmiri , Gojri and  Pahaari over here .Horses are used as a mode of transport in this hilly area.


Shopian is also home to apples and walnut . Ambri variety of apple is grown in this area only. Walnuts are grown in Shopian and Kupwara area of kashmir . Delicious, American and kullu variety of apples is also now grown in plenty in this area . A fruit Mandi has also come up in the outskirts of the town. Trucks are directly loaded from this Market for Delhi and other fruit markets  of the country .

Maharaja Ranjit Sigh’s forces marched from lahore and   defeated Afghans  in a fierce battle in this town  in 1819 A D . This decisive battle ended the rule of Afghans in Kashmir  valley . The rule of Afghans  had given lot of pain and suffering in kashmir . The subsequent rule of sikhs did not bring the much needed  relief . Enjoy the views and permit me to quote some lines from Tawarikh e Hassan with regard to misrule of Pathans in kashmir .

"During the reign of KarimDad Khan( 1776-1783A D ) the entire country remained plunged in absolute misery and fear .During this period everybody high or low , poor or rich , was fleeced of all he possessed. He ruined the chastity of a thousand girls of both Hindu and muslim communities and ruined their lives for ever .Many people migrated out from the country .Heavy fruit Tax was imposed on people who could not meet this demand and they cut down fruit trees and sold the wood to meet the demand of the government . In this way the beautiful gardens laid by Mughals around Dal lake were denuded of all fruit trees."    

( Autar Mota )

 saturday ,19th January 2013.... Time 11.50 PM . Good Night .    

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013




Where is river Ganga ? Where is the yamuna ? The ocean does not know the difference . It is all water .

(Photo Autar Mota ..What you see close to Vivekananda Rock memorial is tall stone sculpture of the Tamil poet and philosopher Tiruvalluvar, author of the Thirukkural. It is about 133 feet in height.

To this photo i am adding a brief story titled " SOHAM , SUFI POETS OF KASHMIR


I am fortunate  enough  to have seen and heard  Shri Ranganathananda  ( 1908-2005 ) .   He was an authority on Vedas and  Upanishads , Scholar extraordinary  , Philosopher and Head Monk of  Belur Mutt or  swami Vivekananda’s  Rama Krishna Mission in India  . Swami ji  as he was fondly known never talked about narrow religious issues. His discourses touched issues facing humanity at large , cutting across all barriers  of color , race or religion. In fact  Belur Mutt or Temple  is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah  once listened to Ranganathananda's lecture on Islam and Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and  had remarked:

“Now I know how a true Muslim should be.”

Swami ji  declined the Padma Vibhushan as it was conferred on him in his individual capacity and not for the Mission. swami ji would often say ;-

 “ The endeavors and conclusions of the sense-bound intellect can not be the last word in man’s search for truth. An intellectual approach to truth will end only in agnosticism; and often in cynicism. But the whole being of man seeks to experience truth, to realize it. … This rising above rationalism to direct experience and realization, this growth of man from the sensate to the super-sensual dimension, is the special message of Indian spiritual tradition ”

Once Swami ji  explained the importance of word SOHAM  . I had heard the word  in   Hindu Bhakti  as well as in  Muslim  Sufi poetry of  kashmir. SOHAM- Soo  or SOHAM is reflected in the Shrukhs of  Nund Reshi  as also in the  poetry of Wahab Khaar , Soachh Kraal , Shamas Faqir,Ahad zargar ,Nyaam sahib , Ahmed Batwaari , Rehman Dar ,Rahim Sahib ,Shah Qalandhar  and many more  sufi poets of Kashmir. This concept emerged in sufi poetry due to a unique  blending of Mahayana  Budhism ,Vedanta and Islamic Tassavuf   in kashmiri thought   .  I quote  some other poets who used this concept :-

Yot  yithh  zanamuss kenh chhunaa Laarun
Daarnaai daarun Soham Soo
Brahma Vishnu  Maheshwar  Gaarun
Daarnaai daarun Soham Soo.
( shah Gafoor )
After being  born ,What is here to gain ;
  So hold SOHAM kriya for existence .
 Create  Brahma , Vishnu and  Maheshwara
 And own SOHAM kriya for existence .

Raahe badh Nishi kar Traahi Bhagwaan
Puniyee Paap Traavithh kar Yaksaan.
Voan samad Miran Shastra heyoo
Paru OM  Soo  Om SOHAM Soo
( Samad Mir )
Be away from the misleading path
Think not of  evil or Good but be unvarying  ,
Samad Mir speaks  the message of shastras
And recite OM  and SOHAM  soo .

Tosas Om ki Punn Khaaer Massaai
Baa Rasaa rasaai Kornuss Tayaar
SOHAM Soo Yaar Vuchha Novanussaai
Baa Rasaa rasaai Kornuss Tayaar 
( Assad Parray )
I spun Omkar in shahtoos and offered it to the lord
And he  completed  me slowly and steadily .
He made me to befriend SOHAM soo
And he  completed  me slowly and steadily .

Mar Zinda par SOHAM  soo
Hamas Damas  Saeit  zaan
( Ahmed  Raah )
Die while existing and recite SOHAM soo
Know linkage of breath control with HAMAS..

As per swami Ranghanathananda  SOHAM  originated from VEDAS .Soham is Paramount when  a person  tries to identify himself with the universe or ultimate reality .Swami ji explained that when a child is born  the first cry that the universe hears from his  Mouth is
“ Koham ? Koham ? ”
“ Who am I ?  Who Am I ? ’
The universe in turn responds  with words
“ Your are what I am ! You are What I am !”
Added swami ji that  the word is also a MANTRA  in Tantrism  that  comes from Ajapa Japa  or a meditation that is done without uttering a word. Swami ji explained that SOHAM  consists of two words . Soooooo…. And  Hummm. While sooo means  the tender  sound of inhalation and Humm implies the exhalation.
 The Pranayaama  Kriya  (Breathing  Technique  for the vital Pranaa or life.  Prana enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system. Prana creates life by allowing the heart to beat  )   that was performed extensively in kashmiri pandit households was   nothing but Ajapa japa or SOHAM ( sooo  plus  hummm… ). It is a Kriya Yoga and also  an essential  ingredient of Kashmir’s luminous Shaiva thought  which is primarily aimed at realization of  existing identity with universal consciousness     .
SOHAM when reversed becomes HAMSA OR HAMSO  which means  ‘I AM THAT  ’ . HAMSA  OR  HAMSO  also refers to  SWAN . kashmiri poets have used word  RAAZHANS  for the word  HAMSA  or  HAMSO .  And in kashmir’s  shaivism  HAMSO  or HAMSO  is nothing but Atman .
kashmir’s   shaivism  refers to the Phenomenal world as real  and calls it shakti while the Advaita sidhanta holds it as Maya or illusion. In this way  kashmir’s shaivism  is a contrast  to Adi Shankara’s  Advaita .Another aspect peculiar to TRIKA  DARSHANA  or   kashmir’s  shaivism is that it accepts no restrictions  between caste , race or sex.  TRIKA  never accepted the supremacy  of VEDIC  CASTE SYSTEM.

(Autar Mota )
Tuesday 15th January 2013..... Time 11.45 PM ... Good Night .

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Sunday, January 13, 2013


PHOTO Autar Mota  

If you visit Bijbehara and cross Jhelum to go to Pahalgham via SriGufwara , you notice a beautiful garden just on the right side immediately after crossing the bridge . This garden with lofty chinars, Green turf , beautiful flower beds , Fruit trees and Central water canal makes you to believe as if you are in Shalimar garden of srinagar. The garden at Bijbihara was laid sometime in middle of 17th centuary . Infact Shah Jahan wanted  to build two gardens on each sides of  river Jhelum. Accordingly ,extensive plantation of chinars was done in the area  the  opposite to this Dara shikoh Garden by Mughals . In layout , this garden resembles Shalimar Garden of srinagar Yes the Garden is not terraced and the paucity of water in the Central Canal is noticeable . Some people call this Garden as Wazir Bagh .Perhaps many in kashmir do not know details about this well maintained Garden . Kudos to Dr Haseeb Drabu Ex. CMD J&K Bank Limited for taking over the maintenance of this Garden from Floriculture Department . Men like him have revived the glory of some of the forgotten parks and gardens of the state .Walk way on Jammu canal is a shining example .

Dara Shikoh( 1615-1659 AD ) , the unfortunate Mughal prince , son of Shah Jahan and his queen Mumtaz Mahal ,built some memorable gardens and buildings in kashmir . Dara was gifted builder , thinker and patron of fine Arts .Dara Shikoh is also credited with building some of the most impressive buildings and parks with unique Mughal architecture - among them the tomb of his wife Nadir Banu in Lahore, the tomb of Hazrat Mian Mir also in Lahore,the Dara Shikoh Library in Delhi, the Akhun Mullah Shah Mosque in Srinagar, Pari Mahal garden in Srinagar and the beautiful garden in Bijbihara in Kashmir are worth mentioning . Dara was a follower of Hazrat Mian Mir a Qadiri sufi saint of Punjab . It is pertinent to add that Mian Mir was invited by sikhs to lay the foundation stone of Golden Temple at Amritsar.

Dara was a personal friend of sixth sikh Guru. He got 50 Upnishads translated into persian in an effort to find common ground between Islam and Hinduism , the two great religions of India. Dara was defeated by Aurangzeb and Murad at a battle field near Agra some time in 1658. Subsequently Aurangzeb took over Agra fort and deposed emperor Shah Jahan . Dara was brought to Delhi, placed on a filthy elephant and paraded through the streets of the capital in chains. Kept in dark cell for some time ,He was beheaded on the night of August 30, 1659. How Painful! . No less painful is the history of kashmir .I conclude this post with lines from a poem of Bulgarian poet  Nikola  Vaptsarov…….

‘History, will you mention us
    In your faded scroll?’……….

For the hardship and affliction
    We do not seek rewards,
    Nor do we want our pictures
    In the calendar of years.

    Just tell our story simply
    To those we shall not see,
    Tell those who will replace us –
    We fought courageously.
( Autar Mota )

13th January 2013… Time 11.40 PM  Good Night                                                                         

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Riding on seven Horses, The Sun is about to Enter this part of the world…..And to Welcome it , the morning breeze started its joyous dance on the river surface…To this Photo i Add Lines from the poem “SIFAARAT KHAAN  E  JAAN “ By Ali Sardar jafri

Hamaare Dil Mein Ek Shahr e sifaarat khaana e jaan hai.
Yahaan aane ka rastaa Koocha e chaak e girebaan hai
Yahaan hai Roshini Tanhaa Chiraag e chashm e Purnumm Ki
Yahaan Aao to Khul Jaayeingi raahein Saare Aalum ki
Zameen ka Husn Bhi aur jalwaa e Arsh e Mualaa Bhi

( Ali Sardar Jafri )

Within this heart of ours lies the embassy of life,
The lane of the marginalized shall lead you to this place.
A lone lamp, agonized but burning , lights up this world ..
Should you visit this world , all paths shall open for you.
Yes the path of the beauty of this world and
 the path leading to glimpse of the LORD ABOVE………                                                             

( Autar Mota )
Sunday 13th January 2013… Time 9.40 PM … Good Night                                                                  

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And that day the sun looked like a Tantric painting of noted painter  G R Santosh. I just clicked and clicked.. And some one sitting close by kept singing …

Tche yi-vaan roshe Chukh Naa taa
Hoshe dallayo Madno…….
Baa rivaan Harnaa  cheshmunn
Sormaa chhallayo madno.( Rasul Mir ) 

You stay away,
My angry love,
and here I sink from senses dear;
 My tears flow from these Gazelle eyes 
 And wash  away all  the kohl …

( Autar Mota )
Sunday 13th January 2013.. Time 9 PM... Good Night                                                   
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