Wednesday, November 17, 2021






Durga Nag  Temple once formed a part of the grand Gopadri or Gopa Agrahara in Kashmir . Gopadri was the ancient name of the present day Shankaracharya hill. Gopaditya was a king of Kashmir and the hill was named after him. Kalhana mentions that Gopatidtya built a temple on the top of the hill as the shrine of Shiva Jyeshtrudra in 371 BC. Some historians believe that a superstructure was built on an existing temple base by king Gopaditya during his rule.  In fact two grand Agraharas existed just below the Gopadri hill. The  Gopadri  or Gopa Agrahara that extended from present day Polo View Road right up to Zeethyar shrine . It also included areas falling under present day Sonawar and Drugjan ( Known as Durga Galika during ancient period ) localities. Another Agrahara known as Bhukisirvatika Agrahara existed at present day Buchhwara locality on the other side of the Gopadri hill.  Buchhwara is the corrupted name of Bhukisirvatika.This Agrahara had areas falling on present day Boulevard Road. In both the Agraharas , expert   Brahmins ,  who had been brought from outside Kashmir were settled . These Brahmins had their  dwelling units at the foothill.

Agrahara was a grant of land and royal income from it, typically by a king or a noble family in India, for religious purposes, particularly to Brahmins to maintain temples in that land or a pilgrimage site and to sustain their families.

Durganag temple finds a mention  in the Agama literature of Kashmir as also in Kalahana’s Rajatarangini. The Durganag Temple was  Sharada Math ( Durga temple )  . It is believed that  Great  Shankaracharya stayed at the shrine and penned Soundarya-Lahiri when he visited Kashmir in 8th century A.D. Sri Shankaracharya also visited the temple of Shiva Jyeshtrudra atop the Gopadri hill. The temple came to be known as Shankracharya Temple after this  visit. Sri Shankaracharya   popularized the Bhakti cult and Shakti worship in Kashmir. 

The Sharada  Math existed right up to 14th century . It was during the rule of Shahmiri Sultans that the Math ,like other grand temples of Kashmir ,was raised to the ground .The nearby Drugjan locality , known as Durga Galika was also a part of the Math. So was the nearby area known as Atri Galika ( dedicated to Rishi Atri ) presently known as Ata Gaej. According to Rajatarangini ,King Sandhiman of Kashmir used to have long yogic penance at this  place.

It was only in 1861 after the Dogra rulers arrived on the scene , Swami Bhaktananda with his disciples arrived in Kashmir and made serious efforts for retrieving some part of the encroached land and rebuilt the ancient Math and the temple structure inside it. During this process of rebuilding, a broken idol of goddess Durga was traced and a new temple to house the same was constructed. The ancient Sharada Math thus, got renamed as Durga Nag. Thereafter  Mahant Swami Shivaratnand Saraswati did great job for reconstruction and revival of the past glory of this ancient Shrine. An organization,  "Shri 1108 Adi Shankracharya Sidha Peetha, Shri Durga Nag Trust (J&K) was founded by Swami Shivratnanand Saraswati" in the year 1939.

This ancient shrine is the first halt of annual Amarnath pilgrims who carry the  Holy Mace  or the Charri Mubarak to the sacred cave of Lord Shiva.

At present , the major part of the land belonging to the shrine has been sold out or leased to commercial  establishments and the  shrine has shrunk to a few Kanals of land .The temple premises  houses   (1)The  Devi Temple (2) Holy Spring (3) Shiva Temple (4) Mathra Devi Ashram (6) Havan Shala, (6) Langer (7) Samadhi of Swami Shivaratnananda Saraswati, (8) Two Chinar Trees with base and (9) One Memorial in the form of stmbh. Adjacent to the temple complex are two Yatri Bhavans with dormitories .


 ( Avtar Mota )

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