Anantnag district General information
Anantnag is a district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The district headquarter is Anantnag.
Anantnag is one of the six districts of the Kashmir Valley situated in its south and south western direction. Geographically the district lies between 33o-20' to 34o-15' north latitude and 74o-30' to 75o-35' east longitude, bounded in the north and north-west by Srinagar and Pulwama districts respectively and in the north east by Kargil district. It is also bounded by Doda and Kishtwar tehsil of Doda district in the east and south east and bordered by tehsil Gool Gulab Garh of Udhampur district, Ramban Tehsil of Doda district and tehsil Budhal of Rajauri district in the south and south-west. However, its western portion is contigous with Mendhar tehsil. Its entire southern sector and major part of the eastern region is strewn with thick forests and mountains. The height of these mountains in the east, south and west of the district ranges between 2438 meters to 3048 meters and in some areas, the peaks even soar to a height of 4572 meters. On the west the district is bounded by mighty Pir Panchal range mountains, through which passes the world famous Jawahar Tunnel.
Situated at a distance of 55 Kms. of the south east of Srinagar, Anantnag is spread over an area of 3984 Sq. Kms. with a population of 11.70 lacs as it stood in 2001. The Anantnag is gateway of the Kashmir Valley and is called the granary of the Kashmir Valley as it is agriculturally very fertile. The district is predominantly rural and situated at an average height of 1700 meters above sea level. The people of the district are mostly engaged in agriculture, principal crops being Rice and Maize. The districts comprises of 5 Tehsils and 12 community development blocks.
Kashmiri is the most popular language of the district. Though the official language is Urdu, but Kashmiri is mostly spoken. Gojri is another language which is used by the Jujjar and Bakerwal tribes who are mostly living in the rural and upper reaches of the district. Pahari is also used by a small population. Most of the people can speak Kashmiri and Urdu languages. English is spoken by educated section of the society.
Anantnag has for long enjoyed the status of the second largest city of the Valley. The name of Anantnag District according to a well known archaeologist, Sir A.Stein from the great spring Ananta Naga issuing at the southern end of the town. This is also corroborated by almost all local historians including Kalhana according to whom the town has taken the name of this great spring of Cesha or Ananta Naga land of countless springs. The spring is mentioned in the Neelmat Purana as a sacred place for the Hindus and Koshur Encyclopedia testifies it.
The district as well as its headquarter town are also called Islamabad. Regarding this second name no mention is to be found in the old chronicles of Kashmir. It is however, said that the name of Islamabad was assigned to the town by one Islam Khan who was the Governor of Kashmir during the Mughal rule in 1663 A.D., but the change in its nomenclature proved temporary and during the reign of Gulab Singh the town as well as district again resumed their old name, Anantnag, but stillbut still the name Islamabad is Popular among common masses, though officially the name Anantnag is used
Anantnag District possesses all the typical characteristics of the climate of Kashmir Valley as a whole. In his introduction to the Rajtarangini Kulan or Kakhana Pundit says about the climate of Valley: 'It is a country where the son shines mildly, being the place created by Kashayapa as if for his glory. High school-houses, the saffron, iced water and grapes, which are rare even in heaven, are common here. Kailasa is the best place in the three worlds, Himalaya the best part of Kailasa, and Kashmir the best place in Himalaya'.
Sir Walter Lawrence writes in his book 'The Valley of Kashmir' that in latitude Kashmir corresponds with Peshawar, Baghdad and Damascus in Asia: with Fez in Morocco: and South Carolina in America, but it presents none of the characteristics of those countries. People have linked the climate of Kashmir to that of Switzerland until the end of may, and of Southern France in July and August. But is is impossible to speak of Kashmir as possessing any one climate or group of characteristics. Every hundred feet of elevation brings some new phase of climate and of vegetation.
Of all the districts of the state, Anantnag claims the largest number of streams (nallahs) like Veshow,Veth-vethroo, Sandran, Brengi, Arpath and Lidder. The most important among these nallahs are Veshow and Lidder which take off from Kounsenagh and Sheshnagh lakes respectively and irrigate maximum area of the district. Famous Verinag spring is the source of the River Jehlum or Veth. Above Khanabal the mountain streams from south, the Sandran, the Brengi, the Arpat from Kothar, the Kokernag and Achabal streams join the river and just below Khanabal on its right bank the Jhelum receives one of its most important tributaries, the Liddar or Lambodari, which comes down from the ever lasting snows which overhang the head of the Lidder Valley and from the lake of Tarsar
PLACES OF INTEREST
Kheer Bhawani Temple: The Goddess Ragnya Devi is symbolised as a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, 27 kms from Srinagar. Within the spring is a small marble temple. The devotees of the goddess fast and gather here on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May when, according to belief, the goddess changes the colour of the spring's waters. The temple-spring complex is affectionately known as Kheer Bhawani because of the thousands of devotees who offer milk and 'kheer' to the sacred spring, which magically turns black to warn of disaster.
Devibal - Khir Bhawani Asthapan: Devibal temple is situated in Anantnag near nagbal.It is dedicated to the holy spring of Khir Bhawani which issues here and is now enshrined in a small stone-built one storey temple. It attracts a good number of devotees and is considered a holy place by the entire kashmiri pandit community.
Nagbal: The entire complex is known popularly as Nagabal and is famous Hindu religious center in Anantnag District. It is situated in the east corner of the town. The holy spring which originates from here and the formation of which is attributed to Vishno or Narayana is said to be a Vedic ‘tirath’. The spring rises beautifully from the foot of a small hill-lock and is dedicated to the worship of Ananta or Vishno.
Gautam Nag: Sri Ramakrishra Maha sammelan managed by Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee Kanyakumari, is situated here. An ancient spring and a few idols of some ancient temple are found here. Annual festival is held here on the day Chhari (Amarnath Yatra) starts. It is 3 km. away from Achhabal.Gautam Nag is just 2 Kilometers away from Anantnag. It is said that Gautam Rishi had his penance here.
Verinag Nila Nag: Verinag (Nila Nag) spring is of great importance and beauty, with deep blue water which issues from the bottom of a high scrap of a mountain spur and here also Emperor Jehangir built a garden and pleasure house. The Verinag spring is about 26 kilometers away from Anantnag and is considered as the original source of river Jehlum. The spring is situated at the bottom of hill covered by pine trees and evergreen plants.
VETHA - VATUR (Vetastha) :It is situated one kilo meter from Verinag, Anantnag. It is source of river Vitasta (Jhelum). It has about 23 Kanals in shape of orchards. (Vitasta) Here is the source of river Vitasta. Annual pilgrimage to this place is performed on the thirteenth day of the dark half of the Bhadra month.
Mattan (Bawan) :The Valley of Kashmir is the 'Holy Land' of the Hindus and there is hardly any village which can not show some relic of antiquity. In Anantnag District there are several temples of historical as well as religious importance. Bawan temple is one among them. Some 8 Kms. from Anantnag town, on the north side is to be seen a spring, a very sacred spring, near a small village called Bawan, a name derived from the water, which gushes out from a fissure in the limestone rock.
Ziarat Baba Hyder Reshi(Reshi Maloo): The tomb of Baba Hyder Reshi popularly known as Harda Reshi or Reshi Molu, the saint at whose anniversary local people of the area abstain from flesh eating for one week, is visited by both Muslims and Hindus alike. The shrine is one of the famous places frequented by people from all over the valley. It is Situated in Mohalla Reshi Sahib in Anantnag Town.
Uma Devi of Uma Nagri: Goddess Uma is said to have selected Her abode in the lap of great Himalayas in Kashmir in Umanagri, Uttersoo in Anantnag Tehsil. She is believed to have manifested herself in in the form of a stream and appeared in the shape on “Omkar” in five springs.
Nagdandi: About two kilometres away from the historical and picturesque town of Achabal, on the right side of the road to Uma Devi (Brari-Aangan), there is the Ramakrishnan Mahasammelan Ashram, which was founded by late Swami Ashokananda, more than forty years ago. It is a fairy big Ashram now, a compact complex of some buildings and a small temple dedicated to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, at the foot of wooded Achabal hills. The Samadhi of Swami Ashokananda is within the precincts of the Ashram.
Domtabal Asthapan :It is just 2 Kilometers from Kokernag and 16 Kilometers away from Anantnag. Ancient murties have been stolen which are priceless.
Khana Barnain Triporsundari Asthapan Devsar: :Dedicated to Divine mother This Devi Asthapan of Khana Barnayan is situated about 18 kilometers from Anantnag, about 2 kilometers from Devsar town. It had a murti of Tripore Sundari, a temple, a Dharmshalla and Havan Kund construced by Swami Ram Das. All of these were reduced to ashes after December, 1992.
Amarnath Ji :One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud."
Goswami Gund Ashram :An attractive neat and clean Ashram is found here. During Amarnath Yatra a number of devotees visit this Ashrama and stay and mediate for a few days. This beautiful Ashram is situated just 12 kilometers from town Anantnag. It has land measuring about 200 Kanals (irrigated by tenants) and has self cultivable 18 Kanals as Orchard. It has beautiful lotus spring.
Guddar Asthapan :This Asthapan is just 3 Kilometers from Tom Kulgam. This is now in ruins and desecrated.The temples which were burnt during riote of 1986 and 1992 are annexed herewith.
Ganesh Bal Hakura: Ganesh Bal is situated at village Hakura Badasgam near Bony Baag (China garden) on the main road.It is dedicated to lord Ganesh.According to Raj Tarangni is believed that at this place there was a huge Golden Temple of lord Ganesh which was visted by poplle from all the sides on Ganesh Chuterdeshi. At this place a Idol Murti of Lord Ganesh was installed by Late Shri Darshan Nath Pandita in the year 1984 of Hakura.kashmiri Pandits form this village used to visit this place and offer Thari and ladoo to the lord Ganesh.
Lok Bhawan :This is called Tirth Raj Asthapan just 8 kilometers from Anantnag town. It has a big spring and temples and Dharmshalla. All temples were burnt, including Dharmshalla in February, 1986. They were rebuilt but again damaged in December, 1992 `Har Bagh' is celebrated on each year and person gets rid of all sins, if he takes a bath in spring on auspicious day.
Mirza Kak Asthapan :Mirza Kak Asthapan at Hangalgund, Kokernag, Anantnag. He was known for prophetic verses and a JAG is performed every year; now Mirza Kak Trust has been formed. They have constructed a temple at Nagrota, Jammu. Kashmir has been a sacred land where tirthas, sacred springs and places of worship are found in abundance. One such tirtha is dedicated to goddess Hingla Devi in Brang Pargana. According to Brangesh Samhita, the Brang Pargana has been named after Brangesh Muni, the author of this Samhita. The Brangi river, which runs through this pargana, also bears his name. The village has thus got the name of Hingalagund which later got abridged to Hangalgund. In this village near Kokernag lived a pious Brahmin named Lassa Pandit. He had two sons - Bhulla Pandit and Mirza Pandit.
Durga Temple at Kakran :It was completely burnt after 1992 riots and was maintained by Dharmarth Trust.
Shiva Bhagwati At Akingam :This small village is still called in revenue records as "Maqan Shiva Bhagwati". It had a beautiful temple, with two storey, Dharamshalla and large chunk of forest land attached to it. This temple was burnt along with Dharmshalla in December, 1992 and confirmed by Govt. and F.I.R. No. 86/92 lodged.
Kulwagishiri Asthapan Kulgam :This ancient Asthapan is situated in heart of town Kulgam about 16 Kilometers from Anantnag town. The Asthapan had beautiful spring, one temple, Dharmshalla and Geeta Bhawan. All have been burnt during December, 1992 riots in presence of Police.
Liddar Syandhai Asthapan :This Asthapan is situated about 24 kilometers from Anantnag on hill top near Kaprun. The place is desecrated and is under occupation of Muslim community.
Trisandhia Asthapan :It is situated about 23 kilometers from Anantnag and 3 kilometers from Kokernag. During Chitra month water used to come after intervals and pilgrims used to take dip when water would come out. Sometimes water would come six times a day sometimes nothing for two days. It is now desecrated.
Gauri Temple at Pahalgam :This temple, which was completely burnt during December 1992, Asthapan at Maugam, A Devi Temple and Dharmshalla were completely burnt. There are more ancient Asthapans and temples but to narrate them all is not possible.
Shillagram Temple :This temple is situated at Shillagram on Anantnag Pahalgam Road, about 13 Kilometers from Anantnag. It was ancient temple and Amar Nath Charre Mubarak used to offer Puja on Shivlingam (Sahastri Mukhi Shiva). This temple was destroyed in 1998 and Shivlingam is still missing. It had thousand eyes.