The revered Rig Veda echoes, "Give sight to our eyes, sight to our bodies so that we may see, may we see the world as a whole and may we see it in detail".Our country particularly, the greater snowy Himalaya is prominent for the abodes of Gods and Goddesses as a whole apart from a land of temples, shrines, sanctum sanctorum and, of course, a treasure trove of pilgrimages, varied ramification which occupy their unique and enchanting existence. Having their spiritual and prodigious reverence, people from India and abroad throng in huge number, pay obeisance and obtain blessings from the supreme Gods and deities.
It is, unambiguously, no denying the fact that 'Purmandal' occupies its own placement, prominence and as far as its provenience is concerned it equates in status with that of Kashi in Utter Pradesh (U.P.). Purmandal is a small village barely 30 kms from Jammu to its South-East. There are twin routes to the sanctum sanctorum; one from Sidhra Kunjwani bye-pass road and the other from NH-1 from Kaluchak through Birpur-Utterbehni through various twists and turns en route.
The prominence of the temples of Purmandal is a testimony of the Valley of Kashmir which in other words round is the fountain head of 'Shaivism' of which the first building of the temple is, de facto, ascribed to the ruler of time by Raja Veni Dutt. In other words round he has been as well named as 'Vinanayaditya' or 'Avantivarman' who ruled those times some eleven and a quarter hundreds years back. i.e. (855 to 883 A.D.)
Situated alongside river 'Devak', it further meanders down and join Utterbehni another tirthsthan and thence downwards flows near Vijaypur, situated alongside a small town on Jammu Pathankote road and the bridge over the river is probably longest one in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is commonly believed that most of Shiv-Lingam's have spiritually originated in the close vicinity of Purmandal alongside 'Devak's' proximity and is further reported that "Shiva-Umapati"(Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati) are those of Indreshwar, Bhuteshwar, Gyaneshwar, Kasheshwar and Bilkeshwar. The sanctum sanction is of ample importance as a prominent 'tirthsthan' around the years, preferably during 'Shivaratri' and 'Chaitra Chaudish' like that of Airwan in Kathua district. The place is having its prominence that saint Kabir and Ustad Bismla Khan took birth here.
The sanctum sanctorum of purmandal bears relevance to "Kashi" Devsthan in U.P where centuries old temple of Mighty 'Vishwanath' till date exists but historically it is known that 'Raja Vishwa Chand' usurped him and confined him to 'Manika Ghat' after having some tribal confrontation and as such King 'Vishwanath' relinquished the Kingdom and confined himself to "Manika Ghat'' in later stages of his life. Here at 'Purmandal' multi-Shiv Lingams have originated spiritually called in local parlance as 'Aap Shumbo' lingam which as per legends described that a famous Raja by name King Veni Dutt as mentioned earlier ruled in those ancient times in between eight to the close of Ninth Century had also visited Purmandal as it was a part of his kingdom.
But, whatsoever legends are affiliated to this sacred spot, the fact remains that it was hoary past. The spot is of utmost prominence and shakti in the Northern part of India where devotees in lakhs assemble over here to have holy Darshan, pay obeisance and obtain blessing. Even great Guru Nanak had visited the spot and general Man Singh after he had conquered Kabul, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab had unutterable regards for this sacred spot who most frequently visited here.
The village Purmandal is populated on either side of "Devaka River" which with revolving wheel of time many more temples were constructed during Maharaja's regime. But with the exploding population and heavy biotic pressure , the areas surrounding the spot have turned barren despite the fact that the govt. deptts. of all hues have put in all out efforts to rehabilitate and bring back to its pristine grandeur and glory of the area but all in vain. Even the historically old religious structures which form an important part of our national heritage stand neglected and are decertifying impending dooms day. Apart from historic temples, there are old 'Sarais' and 'Havelis' having the same status. During Maharaja's regime ( Dogra rulers) , it was earmarked to construct, cluster of sequential temples from 'Utterbehni' to Purmandal where the remnant material (Iron Girders and their allieds) stand spanning the two sacred spots, and after dogra rulers all remained silent. Here the Govt. needs to take up the matter to save and invigorate this sacred spot of our national heritage. Restoration of dilapidated temples, Havelis, Sarais to its pristine grandeur is the call of the hour and glory as devotees/tourists from far and wide areas come here for holy darshan, pay obeisance and obtain blessing and if they desire good accommodation is most imperative. (Photos as captured by the author are depicted in the write up) as the pilgrims visit this sacred spot round the year, particularly on every "Amavasya' and big colourful melas are held on 'Chaitre-Choudes' like of 'Airwan' ( Nagri- Parole) Kathua.
The area is just like that of 'Kashi' (U.P) and as such dead bodies of locality around are cremated and one need not to go "Haridwar" for immersion of ashes and as per local parlance assured a place in heaven (Gati Locally spoken). Miraculous are the ways of God that the remnances of ashes are nowhere visible and disappear in the sandy ' Devak'.
The Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust Council under the aegis of its Chairman, the world renowned Vedantic Scholar, Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh Ji and supervision of the Trust President, Th. Divakar Singh has affected a number of the improvements particularly during his presidency period.