Ancient Mantalai Temple
Jammu and Kashmir attracts people from all over the world for its ancient temples and breathtaking scenic beauty. Sudh Mahadev Temple, Mantalai Temple and Gauri Kund in Chenani Tehsil of Udhampur district are some of them.
The Temple of Sudh Mahadev is about 50 kms away from District Headquarter of Udhampur Tourism. A few kilometres further you will find Mantalai Temple at an elevation of 1450 metres from the ground, surrounded by deodar trees. The surrounding area is peaceful and cries for maintenance.
During festivals and fairs people visit this temple to just listen to the songs sung by the sages and saints. These songs are dedicated to love shared between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
This temple is of great archaeological significance as red earthenware and terra cotta figures were discovered at this place.
An ancient temple of Lord Shiva, also known as Aparneswar is located near Mantalai Lake. This is the place where mother Parvati was born and got married to Lord Shiva. The main shrine is very small and having an idol of Parvati as kanya. Another set of idols of Shiva and Parvati together and Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha is also found. However, the shiva lingam is the main idol of the temple.
There are two idols of Nandi, the bull facing the shrine.
One divine rock (patthar) related to the wedding of Parvati and Shiva can also be spotted in this shrine.
This spot offers great views of the mountain landscape in the surroundings. The breathtaking views from the hill top make this place worthy of a visit.
Ever since Dhirendra Bramchari, the Yogic mentor of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was killed in air crash in June 1994 property worth hundreds of crore in Mantalai Aparna Asharam is gathering dust.
In the last two decades the state government has also failed to promote the tourist resort on the tourism map of the state.
Barring lip service the state government has failed to tap the tourism potential of the area and is still in the state of infancy with regard to developing/bringing the place on the tourism map of the state.
After his accidental death in a private plane crash on 9 June 1994 the yoga guru’s property was left untouched by the successive state governments in the state.
After a long wait and settling litigations the Mantalai ashram was taken over by the Patnitop Development Authority(PDA) on 19-12-2009 after the state government identified the place to develop a wellness centre to promote tourism in the region.
Swamiji’s residence (tower type) is also in bad shape.
Even his room which contained, idol of Ganesh, shankh, large wooden bed, yoga books, layout plan of Gole house,deer print shawls, scarfs, and other belongings have been kept intact while his white dhotis,towels have been eaten by rats. Books, mostly spiritual and yoga related, placed inside his library compartment are, however, intact.
Most of the items of daily use including fittings and furnishings of the ashram are unserviceable, damaged and broken.The store rooms contain mostly rotten and torn bed sheets, yoga suits, undergarments, blood pressure apparatus, dinner/tea sets, telephone apparatus, clothes, personnel belongings of yoga guru, utensils etc.
The big laboratory inside the ashram has been handed over/taken over without any inventory.
Apparently it contains big machines, apparatus, components which are not portable. After the death of yoga guru the ashram was closed own and the state government failed to recover its pending taxes.