|The town of CHANHANI, located in the western
part of the Jammu holds special significance as it houses a
great piece of art - the Sacred Temple of Sudhmahadev. Chaudhari
Ramdas of Chanhani and his son Chaudhari Parag Mahajan constructed
the temple about 80 years ago. Shri Masu Shahane of Sudhmahadev
did the construction of the entrance door of the temple of Sudhmahadev.
This holy spot near Patnitop is situated at an altitude of 1225
mtrs., about 120 kms. from Jammu. The shrine is visited pilgrims
on the full moon night of 'Sawan' (July-August) to worship the
"Trishul' (trident) and a mace which is said to belong
to Lord Shiva. The Devak stream originates at Sudh Mahadev and
disappears among the rocks a few kilometres down strean. This
is a small temple of Lord Shiva. During July - August a fair
is held here with 3 days of music, singing and dancing. It is
situated at a distance of 8 kms. from Khud or Patni Top.
The trident housed within the temple,belonged to the asctic
God who killed demon there.The temple has a black marble self
made 'lingam' and Goddess parvati mounted on Nandi. It has a
'Dhooni'(sacred fire) to commemmorate the spiritual attainments
of Baba Roop Nath who is said to have attained Samadhi there.
It is said that the Dhooni has been kept burning constantly
ever since Baba Roop Nath is said to be residing in the temple.
Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple especially during 3-day
fair held on the occasion of Jestha Purnima. Before entering
the temple the pilgrims take bath in the holy Devika which flows
nearby. A popular legend is associated with the Shrine. It is
believed that Lord Shiva who was in his samadhi shot his big
trishul to protect his consort Uma whose loud cry shook Shiva
out of his meditation. Infact Shiva's devotee, Sudheet approached
Uma to pay his respectful obeisance. Since he was a demon in
his previous birth according to the legend, his demonaic looks
frightened her and she made a loud shriek. The trident which
Lord Shiva had flung hit Sudheet. Shiva realised his mistake
and he offered to resuscitate him. But Sudheet felt that there
could be no better life than death given by Lord Shiva Himself.
Lord Shiva then gave his command that Sudheet's name will be
prefixed to his name at that place. Since then it is called
Sudh Mahadev. The broken trident in three pieces, is installed
in the temple.
The Asad Purnima Festival
The Shiva temple here attracts many pilgrims during the festival,
which takes place in mid June each year. The Asad Purnima
festival features three days of music, singing and dancing.
The main shrine has a black marble carved figure of Lord Shiva
and Goddess Parvati and there is also an interesting inscribed
iron trident known as the "Shiva Trishul"; it is
believed to have been used by a Mahadeva to kill a demon.
Man Talai, 5-km from Sudh Mahadev is of archaeological interest
due to the red earthenware and terra cotta figures discovered
Gauri Kund, also 5-km distant, is a small cave associated
with Goddess Parvati. Sculptures from Hindu Mythology can
be seen at the Pap Nashni Bauli springs. Shiv Garh is the
highest mountains in the area. In the month of June, the time
between the ‘Full moon and Chaudash’ is considered to be the
most auspicious for this pilgrimage. As per the ancient religious
faith, this pilgrimage is known to be the most sacred when
undertaken between the ‘Punya jayeshth purnima and vayas purnima’.
Though, pilgrims come all the year round, but a special fair
(mela) is held during the full moon i.e jayeshth purnima to
mark the auspicious time. The fair goes on for three days.
During Chaudash, the pilgrimage to Gauri Kund, situated 2.5
kms from Sudhmahadev on the banks of Dewak Nadi, is considered
to be most sacred. Here in the lap of the mountains, lies
the Temple of Uma & Shankar. After taking a bath in the
Dewak Nadi, the pilgrims worship Lord Shiva and Parvati in
the Temple. After worshipping Gauri Kund, the pilgrims go
to Gaukaran, about 0.5Kms from Sudhmahadev. Then they climb
up another 2 Kms of mountaineous area to reach another sacred
place ‘Nada’. In Sudhmahadev, there is a small stream called
‘Mitra vavli’ or ‘Papnashi Vavli’. The huge Shiv Temple houses
the three faced idol of God Shulpaneshwar Mahadev, Uma and
Ganesh riding ‘Nandi’- their Bull. The idol also has the sacred
Swayambhu Shivalinga. It is said that Ma Parvati in order
to attain Lord Shiva use to worship this Swayambhu Shivalinga
after bathing in the Gauri Kund. Tones of water originating
from an unknown source fall on this sacred Swayambhu Shivalinga.
This Temple is built on the same lines as the series of other
Uttarakhand temples in this area.
In the temple premises, there is a Trident (Trishul) that
in the local dialect is called ‘Gaja’. The sacred Trident
has inscriptions in the ancient manuscript that form a major
topic of research for the archeological department. According
to Roopnath, the first religious head of the temple of Sudhmahadev,
“Amardhuni’, ‘Gorakh Nath temple’, the huge idol of ‘Bhairava’
and the ‘Garbha Jun below the Nandi gan’ are considered to
be great places of worship for the pilgrims. In the entire
belt of Chanhani and Sudhmahadev, the great saints and sages
sing poems of the romantic tale of the marriage of Lord Shiva
and Parvati in Mantalai. During the annual fair held at Sudhmahadev,
religious saints and pilgrim groups sing in the praise of
Sudhmahadev. As per religious traditions, these ancient temples
were managed by the religious heads also called as ‘Pirs or
Mahants’ who were in turn appointed on the directions of the
Kings of Chanhani. After the downfall of the kings, the hold
of the ‘Pirs’ over the management became weak. In 1959-60,
the last religious head Pir Dhuni Nath instituted a committee
to manage the working of the temple. Shri Salig Ram Shah of
Sudhmahadev was appointed the manager of the committee and
Shri Shiv Lal Sadathia was made the head. Finally, the management
of the temple was handed over to the Dharmarth Trust under
the guidance of its sole trustee Dr. Karan Singh. Though one
can undertake this pilgrimage to Sudhmahadev all the year
round, but as per religious traditions, the days that are
considered most auspicious are Maghar Chaudash, Chaitra Chaudash,
Rath Yatra, Baisakhi and Shivaratri.