The temple of Budha Amarnath Chattani is believed to be older than Amarnathji. The pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave in Srinagar remains incomplete without a visit to the temple of Budha Amarnath Chattani. It is believed that the almighty Shiva grants wishes to everyone that makes a visit to Sri Budha Amarnath.
The holy temple of Sri Budha Amarnath Chattani is an ancient unique Shiva temple located in Rajpura Mandi, nearly 25 kilometers north-east of Poonch Town. It is situated in the Pir Panchal range of the mountains. The climate of this place is very cool and pleasant. The place is surrounded by two beautiful snow bound hills, lush green trees and is situated on the left side of River Pulasta. It is believed by the locals that Ravan’s grandfather ‘Pulasta Rishi’ performed his tapasya here and thus this river is called the ‘Pulasta River’. The temple of the Budha Amarnath has been made out of one big rock. There are four doors in the temple facing north, east, west and south which indicate that the doors are open for all varnas. A large number of old and new idols along with Shiv Lingam have been placed inside the temple premises.
In holy temple of the Baba Budha Amarnath, the devotees take a dip in a spring that flows at a position lower than that of the temple and then have darshan of immortal Lord Shiva. They make offerings by chanting the actual holy mantras and shouting slogans—bam bam bhole and bhookhay ko ana pyase ko pani jai Budha Amarnathji Chattani.
The legend of this temple is closely connected with Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is said that Lord Shiva, accompanied by Goddess Parvati halted at Budha Amarnath on his way to Amarnathji. The other story is connected with Rishi Pulatsya, grandfather of the Ravan. He had a darshan of Lord Shiva at Budha Amarnath. It is also believed that Budha Amarnath Chattani is older than Amarnathji and the pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave in Srinagar remains incomplete without a visit to Budha Amarnath Chattani. It is believed that the almighty Shiva grants wishes to everyone that makes a pilgrimage to Sri Budha Amarnath. Before Partition of Bharat, a large number of people used to visit Sri Budha Amarnath through areas now illegally occupied by Pakistan. This sacred place is regularly visited by thousands of people from different parts of the country during Raksha Bandhan and also on the eve of Shivratri. The route to reach the sacred place of the Budha Amarnath Chattani is from Jammu-via-Sunderbani, Lamberi, Nowshera, Rajouri, Bhimbergali, Surankote, Kalai than Poonch. There is also a route from Kalai-via Chandak to Mandi directly. But usually the yatris stay in Dashnami Akhara Poonch town where arrangements are made for them. Pilgrims to Budha Amarnath are treated as respectable guests by the organising committee and the district administration of Poonch. Irrespective of religion and region, all yatris are provided every possible help to facilitate in performing pilgrimage in a good atmosphere. The boarding, lodging facilities are also provided to yatris by the mandir committees of Dashnami Akhara Poonch and Budha Amarnath Mandi. The arrangements of this yatra are reviewed every year by the district administration as well as the security officials to prevent any untoward incident.
The yatra starts from Jammu to Poonch. Many stalls are put up by different organisations in yatra route to provide basic facilities, proper sanitation to yatris. The yatris stay at Poonch Town at night and leave for the Budha Amarnath Mandir for performing darshan of the Baba Budha Amarnath Chattani the next day. On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, a big festival, known as Budha Amarnath Mela is organised at the temple premises of the Budha Amarnath. Devotees in large number from different places visit the shrine of Sri Budha Amarnath on Shravan Poornima. The yatra of the Budha Amarnath Chattani starts in first week of the August every year and goes on till the Raksha Bandhan.
Two days before Raksha Bandhan a Chhari Yatra leaves from Dashnami Akhara Poonch Town to the holy sacred place of the Baba Budha Amarnath Chattani. A religious congregation gathers to perform the pooja of Chhari Mubarak on occasion of Shravan Poornima (Raksha Bandhan). A large number of pilgrims visit Sri Budha Amarnath Mandir every year to pay tributes to the Chhari Mubarak.
The worship comprises bhajans, satsangs and pravachans from the Swamiji of the Dashnami Akhara. Thousands of pilgrims from the different parts of the country join this annual Yatra of the Budha Amarnathji in Poonch District. The Chhari Mubarak for Sri Baba Budha Amarnathji Temple is usually flagged off at Poonch after a huge public satsang in which thousands of men, women, old and young participate, paying respect to Lord Shiva.
In the morning the puja of the Chhari Mubarak starts with a havan, chanting mantras and satsang in Dashnami Akhara Poonch, a guard of honour is also offered to Chhari Mubarak at the front gate of Dashnami Akhara.
The procession of Chhari Mubarak starts from Dashnami Akhara Poonch where Swamiji and Chhari Mubarak are carried on a Palki accompanied by thousands of devotees from all the communities.The procession finishes at the Sri Budha Amarnath Chattani Mandir. A large number of stalls are put up for the yatris during the Chhari Mubarak Yatra. Passing from various places nearly 25 km, the Yatra reaches the Budha Amarnath Chattani in the evening. En route to the Budha Amarnath Mandir, the actual procession halts at the Chandak. The procession is welcomed by local people, army personnel, district administration, leaders of the all political parties , Mandir committee etc. A guard of honour by the Security Forces is also given to Chhari Mubarak at the front gate of Sri Budha Amarnath Mandir. This marks the end of the actual Yatra and the Chhari Mubarak is taken inside the Mandir in a ceremonious manner followed by bam bam bhole and aarti of Lord Shiva.
During the period of Budha Amarnathji Yatra and the time of Chhari Mubarak Yatra various kinds of stalls are setup for the yatries. These booths are managed by local people of all the communities that clearly shows the communal tranquility in this pluralistic society.
Adv Ronik Sharma (The writer is an advocate based in Jammu and Kashmi