District Poonch - The Hub of J&K's Religious Tourism

Poonch is not only a place for adventure lovers, it is also the hub for Religious Tourism. People of different faiths and beliefs have been living peacefully in the region since time immemorial. Even the government of Jammu and Kashmir has recognized this and has proposed Poonch as a hub of religious tourism in the state.Here is a list with details of the famous religious places situated in Poonch district....

Mandir Buddha Amarnath Ji Swami Budha Amarnath Ji mandir is situated in between the main belt of Pir Panchal Range at Rajpura Mandi which is 25 kms on the North East of Poonch city. This sacred place is located on the confluence of two gushing streams namely Nallah Gagri and Pulsta Nadi. This place is surrounded by snow bounded lofty peaks, thick belt of fur forests (in the Eastern side), lush green pastures and crystal clear streams. The climate of this attractive and charming spot is very pleasant and cool. At present Swami Budha Amarnath Ji mandir is connected with motorable road and it is 244 kms. from Jammu.

Shivlingam @ Mandir Buddha Amarnath Ji

The original mandir has been constructed out of one big stone. There are four doors in the mandir on the northern, southern, eastern and western sides which indicates that the doors of this shrine are open for all the four varnas. There is a natural Shivlinga of white stone ( chakmak) inside the mandir. Number of ancient idols collected there from nearby villages are also installed in the premises of the mandir, where there were four holy springs near the mandir in the past. At present the water of three springs has been diverted to fourth one which is on the southern side of the mandir. The water of these springs is considered holy from religious point of view. The pilgrims first take bath in this spring and then enter in the mandir for prayers.

The main religious function held on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan which is known as MELA SWAMI BUDHA AMARNATH JI FESTIVAL. Three days before the mela, a religious congregation is held at Dashnami Akhara Poonch for performing Havan and Pooja of Chhari Mubarak. In this congregation people from all walks of life come and pay tributes to the sacred mace after bhajan, kirtan and prevachans (speech) of the Mahant of the Akhara. The procession of Chhari Mubarak starts from Akhara. A guard is offered to Chhari Mubarak at the gate of the Akhara. The Mahant Ji is being carried in a palki by the devotees alongwith the sacred mace. Thousands of devotees and Sadhus accompany the procession which leads towards Swami Budha Amarnath Ji mandir at Mandi on foot.

Ziarat Chotte Shah Sahib

This Ziarat of Saint Sakhi Peer Chhota Shah is 58 kilometers from Poonch and is situated in the village Sakhi Maidan which is at 4 kms from Mendhar town. It is proposed that at least two tourist bunglows and a tourist sarai may be constructed near the Ziarat for the convenience of the pilgrims. The Ziarat is held in high esteem by Hindus & Muslims alike in the area. Barely few hundred yards from Ziarat lies the ruins of ancient architecture popularly believed to be of the Pandvas.

Shri Dashnami Akhara This mandir is situated in southern part of the poonch town. Swami Jawahar Giri Ji came to this place in the year 1760 A.D. and started his meditation. When the king of Poonch Rustam Khan came to know, he visited this place paid his obeisance to Swami Ji and attached land to this place.

Gurudwara Nangali Sahib Gurudwara Nangali Sahib is situated in the lap of a picturesque hill and on the banks of Drungali Nallah about 5 kms from Poonch City.The gurudwara was established by Thakur Bhai Mela Singh ji (Fourth successor of Sant Bhai Feru Singh ji) in the 1803 AD. Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited Gurudwara Nangali Sahib in 1814 and was impressed very much. He attached an estate with the Gurudwara sahib. He again attached four villages with the Gurudwara sahib in the year 1823. It is approximately 240 Kms from General Bus Stand, Jammu and is connected to it (Jammu) through road network. Pilgrims outside state may use railways or air services upto Jammu. It is one of the oldest Shrine of the Sikhs in Northern India. Presently the Gurudwara complex consists of about 70 rooms, Langar Hall and gurudwara building. Large number of devotees belonging to all faiths visit this shrine from all over the Country every year. A gigantic function is held in the Gurudwara Sahib on the eve of Baisakhi every year. A large no of devotees from Jammu and Kashmir in particular and globe in general participate in the day-long function of the Basakhi-the Birth (establishment) day of Khalsa.

Ramkund Temple This is the oldest temple in the Poonch Region. Ramkund is 68 kilometers away from Poonch city. This ancient temple is situated in the village Narol which is 11 kilometers on the south of Mendhar town. As per Raj Tringani, this temple was constructed by Raja Lalita Ditya (between 724 and 761 AD). This mandir has three springs namely Ram Kund, Sita Kund and Lakshman Kund. People take bath there on first bright half of chaitra on the ocassion of 'Mela Chetar Chodas'.

Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib This Ziarat is located in village Guntrian near the line of actual control with Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The place is frequently visited by devotees of different religious faiths who have firm belief that whatever is wished before the holy seat does never go unfulfilled. Every year, the Urs (anniversary) of Sainji is celebrated on November 26 and 27. A road to link to this Ziarat has been constructed facilitating the pilgrims to visit this place. Before its construction arduous climbing was required to reach the Ziarat.

Credits - The pictures and information is complied from the facebook Page of Poonch Calling.