STATE TIMES NEWS
BHADARWAH: Nestled in the hilly region around 8,000 feet above sea level, Rehoshra is famous for its ancient namesake temple. It is believed to host the local deity of Goddess Sheetla.
The place with no population around 8 Km radius also hosts ancient Naga Cult which becomes alive during Navratras, especially on Ashtami (eight day of Navratra) as thousands of devotees converge at 1,000-year-old high altitude temple to seek the blessings of Goddess Sheetla.
The place is surrounded by lush greenery and rich biodiversity. The Shrine located in a mountain pass, situated in Doda District is 43 km away from Bhadarwah town. Legend has it that Rehoshra Temple is believed to have its origins in Mughal Emperor Babar’s era.
Continuing with their age old tradition depicting their unique ancient culture, thousands of devotees converged at high altitude meadow to celebrate Ashtami as a prelude to Dushera Festival, a symbol of Nag Culture in mountainous Bhadarwah Valley with full religious fervour and gaiety.
Record 10,000 devotees paid obeisance at ancient Rehoshra MataTemple located at a height of 8,000 feet from sea level, the doors (Kewaar) of which were opened on first Navratra.
The ancient festival which marks the beginning of autumn followed by harsh winters in this hilly region, symbolising the ancient Naga cult of Bhadarwah is considered the last festival of the year during harvest season.
The traditional celebrations started early in morning with the opening of the Kewaars of the historic Temple which was burnt during militancy, followed by sacrificing of rams. Hundreds of Nag devotees converged at hill top meadow surrounded with snow peaked mountains, after trekking 8 km steep hill to pay obeisance. On this occasion dozens of sheep were sacrificed as per ancient custom.
One of the visiting Priest Bhuddi Singh Manhas of Nalthi said, “this festival has not only the religious importance but this is also the most ancient festival of this area. Devotees from different parts of the State and elsewhere arrive here with holy mace to have blessings of Sheetla Mata at this 1000 years old temple on Ashtami.”
According to reports, a total of 10,000 devotees had Darshan at the ancient temple including 6,200 women and 3,800 men.
Holy mace (Charri Mubarak) from Chinta, Shourara , Nalthi, Chirala, Sunarthawa, Atalgarh, Rainda and Dalain reached the Temple at 12:00 PM after which people started celebrating Ashtami festival with traditional Dekhu dance. Community food(Langar) was served to all the devotees by the volunteers of Chinta village besides administration had made adequate security arrangements for the safety of devotees.
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