Forgotten Temples of Kashmir
Photo series Part-21
An effort to preserve and record Hindu cultural and religios heritage of Kashmir
Ragnya Asthapan, Raithan
Shri Shri Jagatamba Maha Ragnya Asthapan is situated about 20 kilometers West of Srinagar in Badgam Distt. of Jammu & Kashmir state. It is situated on the bank of Shali Ganga which forms a garland around the huge shila of Jagatamba. It is believed that Jagatamba resides at Raithan in the form of a single huge huge shila (rock) covering about 1800 square feet area and has volume of about 27,000 cubic feet above the ground. The front of this revered shila is in the form of a huge door believed to be entrance to Swarg.
It has reference in literature and as the legend goes: Bhagwan Mahadev created Lanka for Jagatabma to live there. For the greh pravesh ceremony, Mahadev invited Ravana as brahmin for performing the greh pravesh puja. After Ravana performed the puja Mahdev asked Ravana to ask for any dakshina for this puja. Ravana realized this was a golden opportunity and demanded entire Lanka alongwith all the devis and devtas who had assembled there to attend the ceremony. Bhagwan Mahadev willingly fulfilled his demand. As the legend goes, when Bhagwan Rama attacked Lanka, Ravana was told that so long as Jagatamba is in his custody, no one on the earth can defeat him not even Lord Rama himself. So Ravana asked his eldest son Meghnath to take Jagatamba away from Lanka. Since Meghnath’s wife Salochna belonged to Karnah, Kairan, J&K, he brought Her to this place and hence the name Ragnya Sathan, now called Raithan. From Raithan Jagatamba moved to Kher Bhawani and it is believed that Ragnya Mata resides in Raithan throughout the year and visits Tulmul on special occasions.
From the mountains The Ganga still flows at the feet of the Holy Shila. The Shila of Jagatamba is beautifully surrounded by holy Ganga which runs around the Shila as a garland around the neck of the Lordess.
Few centuries ago it is believed there was a huge temple of Jagatamba at this shrine. About 25 years back when the holy spring (Nag) was discovered and construction work was going on at the site a large number of statues of Hindu gods and goddesses were recovered by the Archaeological Survey of India. The existence of huge decorated Devri stones within the premises of the shrine is witness to the existence of a huge ancient temple here. This Holy Nag still exists and we can see crystal clear water in the spring.
For centuries this shrine was a revered place for all the Hindus of this region. Devotees would assemble on most religious occasions and perform puja and havans. On the occasion of Zestha Astmi the annual Maha Yagnya was being performed and devotees from every part of the state would participate in large numbers. Last such Yagnya was performed in the year 1989 and since then for last 20 years this shrine has remained unattended yet as pure, pious and revered as ever. With the blessings of Jagatamba and by devoting some of our time and money this effort is intended to bring back the glory of this pious and revered shrine.
Even the local non-hindu communities respect and regard this holy shrine as is even evident from the support we have been getting even now from them as ever.
Restoring the glory of The Revered Shrine of Raithan
With the blessings of Jagatamba Maha Ragnya Bhawani the pious and most revered shrine of Ragnya Asthapan, Raithan is being restored after two decades of destruction. Considering that the situation in the valley is returning to normalcy, it was realized by the disciples of Maha Ragnya that the shrine must be renovated and maintained to restore the glory of this highly revered shrine of the Hindu community in Kashmir.
It was decided that there was an immediate need to clean the premises and initiate all renovation and maintenance works in and around the premises and secure the place from unauthorized access. It was realized that most of the structures in the premises have got significantly deteriorated in last two decades for lack of maintenance and care. In order to carry out restoration work, securing the place from unauthorized access and providing adequate security at the premises and restoring the glory of this highly revered shrine there was a need to identify some key individuals who can devote time and get these jobs accomplished in right earnest. It was also realized that there will a significant financial help needed to get all these jobs accomplished and also for future maintenance and upkeep of the purity of this shrine. While some members offered to donate initial amount to get the basic cleaning and start restoration work, there is a need to reach out to all the community across the country and abroad and seek donations for this respectable and revered cause.
Some of the main activities that must be taken up in right earnest are listed as follows with the likely expenditure towards these.
Details for donating funds in USA:
Online donations at: http://www.kashmirhindufoundation.org/make-donations
Mail donations to:
Kashmir Hindu Foundation, Inc.
869 Sunny Brook Way
Pleasanton, CA 94566 (USA)
Please write "Shri Shri Jagatamba Maha Ragnya Asthapan " in the memo section of the check
Details for donating funds in India:
Remit proceeds through: J&K Bank account with Standard Chartered bank, New York
Bank Swift code: scblus33
Bank Account no: 3582021812001
For further credit to:
Shri Shri Jagatamba Maha Ragnya Asthapan
Account no: 0323010100006075
Branch: Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi, India.
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