Famous Moungri Mela
G L Khajuria
Moungri Mela is celebrated in the month of May in the remote area of ‘Kainth Gali around 26 Km falling in Panchari, district Udhampur. The Mela is, defacto, of sanctity of the beholder of Supreme ‘Lord Shiva’ and ‘Shakti’ (Mata Parvati) his consort. The Mela is celebrated for three days every year at ‘Sar Dabhar’. Sar is a Hindi word nomenclarized as water and so the wetlands and the lakes are annexed with Sar like Sanasar, Mansar, Surinsar, etc and in this particular case ‘Sar Dabbar’, which in the times immortal was a lake which by the wishes of Almighty dried and now ‘Dabbar’ is a dense forest giving a vibrant and salubrious look. This is a sanctimonious spot where a huge Mela is annually held in which devotees from far flung areas of Delhi, Haryana, HP and Punjab throng in thousands.
Ganesha’s Cave: The local legend is that the cave is of over millions years and none could ever tell exactly how old is it? Small statues of Nandigan, Counch, Nagdevs exist here. The length of the cave is too narrow with watery carpet and is around twenty feet where one can have holy Darshan of Lord Ganesh, pay obeisance and obtain blessings.
Lord Shiv-Parvati Cave: The cave is also locally spoken as Shin Parvar’ and front- lo a very had rack devoid of every single drop of water and is 29 feet Standing height where there are engravings of Lord Shiva, Parvati Serpents, counch, a pigeon.
KANCER RIVULET: Alongside cave’s complex flows a nectar clear nallah by name as Kancer having gracious water at purity and most of the devotees at occasion have holy darshan of “Nags” and ‘Nagins’. The gushing water fall of the pious water still adds to the enchanting beauty. This river or to say rivulet is the confluence of two perennial rivulets viz ‘Moungri’ and ‘Kalsote’.
Sunny Reflection of Holy Caves: It is wonder of wonders that on each clear day the Sun salutes these caves between 10 AM to 11 AM and rays which reflect over the pious and honey-dewed waters of Kancer stream. This is also locally spoken as ‘Surya Shanan’ to these Daves.
Gajraj Spiritual View: Here again, one encounters still more and more wonders of nature when one climbs barely 300 metres atop the caves and becomes wonder struck after glimpsing Gajraj an elephantine image with tusks and drinking water through his Proboscis from Kancer and still it is wonder struking that the entire chirpine forest seems like body hair of Gajraj.
‘Moungri’ is a small hamlet with two caves of magnanimity which are none the less than other spiritual shrines spread over the hilly terrain e of Himalayas (outer and inner).
As narrated by Swatantra Dev Kotwal of Panchari, these caves came to lime light on 14th September, 1998 in the realm of dream when the local gathered and it was to their utmost astonishment on glimpsing these miraculous caves of ‘Lord Ganesha’ and ‘Shiv Parvati’ and till date an annual mela is held on Ist of Jeth (Adeshi month) and people of all hues gather here. Though, unbelievable but fact is that ‘duo caves’ are of their sanctified reverence which speak silently in divine tones.
The insides of caves also accommodate Nandigam, Nagrajs, Counch, Narsinghdev and many of their pious ilk of sanctity which are of abysmal reverence. Chairman of ‘Shiv Parvati Cave Shrine Moungri who looks after the entire arrangements is of the view that ‘Baradari should be utilized for development of caves complex.
Trishul Shanan: Just on the very onset a splendor Trishul is given holy dip by the local Chhari (Holy mace) and thence attuned by wide, varied music of drums, flutes with bequantial songs in the reverence of Shiv Parvati – Har Har Mahadev echo the skies towards atop of caves and a Puja is held devotionally by all and one who accompany the holy mace which after fulfilling all rituals descends down with the same tradition and first pay obeisance to lord ‘Ganesha’. The holy mace, then have holy Darshan of ‘Lord Shiva and Shakti – Mata Parvati’.
Suggestive measure for enhancing beauty:
The road is ‘Kachha one’ linking Moungri from ‘Kainth Gali’ arounding 20 Km and upto ‘Sar Dabbar’. The road warrants to be upgraded by proper black-toping for the convenience of pilgrims in particular and the public in general who have to encounter long distances to the far-flung areas of inhabitations.
More number of buses should ply over the entire track which, as presently the number is inadequate and the numbers of buses/other conveniences need to be enchanced. Since the devotees accompanied by little kids go for holy darshan and there are every apprehension of them to be drifted. In order, therefore to avert such eventualities, it is pertinent to accomplish this task of chain-linking path-ways. Shelter-belts with oxygen top plastic sheets will not only provide shelter to the locals but as well add beauty to the spots, boosting tourism. There is no such provision and this warrants to be introduced on the analogy of ‘Vaishno Devi Mata’ shrine. This is most pertinent and its construction shall facilitate locals, apart from making the sacred shrine a pilgrimage spot around the year. The introduction of Nerium, Bouganivillea, bottle-bru alongside the path shall enhance beauty and glorify the areas.
Deptts of Forests, Floriculture, Horticulture, Seri-Culture shall have to make all things in bringing a green revolution, apart from enhancing fruit cultivation this is the best zone for cultural apple (Ramphal, Silaphal, Laxmanphal). Keeping in view the sanctity of spot, when a number of pilgrims will visit the spot the same will also improve local economy. On the pattern of Sarthal Yatra and Machail Yatra, a Gazetted holiday needs to be incorporated in the annual calendar for the Mela and the shrine should be brought under control of Shrine Board for better upkeep and maintenance, which unfortunately is missing at present.
(The author is former
Deputy Conservator of Forests).