Forgotten Temples of Kashmir

Forgotten Temples of Kashmir
Photo series Part-1

An effort to preserve and record Hindu cultural and religious heritage of Kashmir

Exclusive images and report from a remote village in Kashmir provided for shehjar
by Chander M. Bhat

Wanpora popularly known as Thanther Wanpor is a small village in Pulwama District. This village forms the boundary between Pulwama and Badgam District on the West side. Kashmiri Pandits were also residing in the village up to 1990. Saikh Raza was the village diety of the Kashmiri Pandit families. No Pandit family is presently residing in this village. This village is famous for Thanther [blacksmith], a class who were making loya thaal, khias, Kanzi Khias, dul, gada, thoor etc for Kashmiri Pandits. Wanporek Thanther was very famous throughout the valley. Before 1990 one could hear the beating of louy from the shops situated on the bank of a small stream coming down from Saikh Raza temple.

This temple is situated in the north-west of the village at an isolated place surrounded by paddy fields and dense trees. A small stream is also flowing in front of this temple having muddy water [Gurei Woan in Kashmiri]. It remains muddy throughout the year.

Sh. Ajay Pandita of village Lajura [Pulwama], who is still residing in his native village along with his family, accompanied me to this temple. It was 8th August 2009 at about 3 p.m. After reaching the temple we started cutting the wild shrubs grown inside the burnt temple, collected idols, which were scattered in the premises of the temple, arranged them near the trunk of the Banyan Tree [Bren in Kashmiri], applied sandoor, fixed three red jindis on the bran tree, lighted doop etc and went to capture. About 18 village children were watching our actions with rapt attention.

It was learnt that some miscreants set the temple on fire in October 1990. However the land of the temple has not been encroached till date. It has become a barren land now.

Baniyan tree [Bren in Kashmiri] was burnt in the year 1990

A small stream flowing in from of the temple have muddy water [Gur Poein in Kashmiri]

Mutilated idols

A Close up of the main temple

A Close view of the sacred Banyan tree

A view of the room built for storing temple belongings

Inside the store room

Main temple

Scenic beauty tells the tale of its existence when Kashmiri Hindus were in the village

Steps to the main entrance

Symbols of faith were scatterd in the premises of the temple

The lost Bren...all errect with the hope of good days for Pandits

*Born on 20th March, 1960 in Murran a village in North Kashmir, Chander M. Bhat is presently working as an Assistant Supdt. Posts, in Department of Posts, Govt. of India. His articles regarding Posts and of non-political nature stand widely published in various papers and magazines of the country. A booklet “How to Collect Stamps” published by the Department of Posts, has earned him genuine accolades. He worked on the project of tracing the roots of his co-villagers and of the village Murran, resulting into the culmination of a widely acclaimed book “Murran …My Village”. Man with depth, Chander M. Bhat has also another book, “Ocean by Drops” (collection of poems) in his vase having colorful poems. His book “Ancient History of Jammu and Kashmir”, confirms his researching capability. Various research papers like “The Splendor that is Amarnath” and “Vitasta…The Sacred River of Kashmir” are valuable additions to his works that has proved very fruitful and guiding force in the exile period of Kashmiri Pandits community of which the author is also a member.

Presently the author is working on “OOL…THE NEST” a six volume project on all the 595 [each volume of about 2500 pages] Kashmiri Pandit villages of Kashmir.

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Dear All, I have visited this place many times during 1970-80. The temple ( of one form of Bhairava - Sokhi Raz) used to be on the banks of a small (kol) stream, and was surrounded by a kaccha wall. The villages on Vanpur and Khanda were adjacent near the temple. Most of the KP houses in Vanpur were torched after the Chrar incident. These pictures bring back fond memories. Thanks a lot for the article. Orzuv Raj Pandita Los Angeles, CA
Added By Raj Pandita
Chander Ji, You've done a great job. Our heart bleeds profusely remembering these places.There're thousands of such sacred spots in Kashmir, now neglected and unattended not to speak of the old grand temple complexes scattered in ruins here and there.
Added By JL Bhat
Thanks....Pls. share our history with the brethren lost, without a land to call their own. Pls. continue the good work & share our lost heritage with us. Orzuv & regards Rahul
Added By Rahul Fotedar
Simply 'GREAT WORK'.
Added By Ravinder Bhan
Namaskar...My name is Vikas Bhat i am from murran pulwama this temple is surrounded by Many chinar trees the water is so cool in the pond (naag). Sh.Badri Nath Bhat the care taker of this for so many years is my uncle.He still is the care taker of this temple (Brarimaaj). I love this place very much. When ever I visited there it gave me a satisfaction.I request everyone to visit there.
Added By vikas bhat