Hidden Heritage Treasure of Jammu_-Dr C M Seth IFS
Before the construction of Highway from Jammu to Kashmir, historically and traditionally the Vaishno Devi Yatra was performed from Nagrota Temple to Jagti, Marh, Sheeba, Bamial, Drabi, Gondla, Jhelen. Devi Mai cross over to Nomain and then Katra covering a distance of about 30 kms. Along this route every after two to five Kms beautiful Temples with stepped wells, ponds and Sarais for Yatris were constructed. These are beautiful architectural structures preserving ancient technology and culture. This route came to disuse after the Yatra started from the Highway to Katra. At present all these structures are being vandalized and not being maintained. We have appealed several times to the Government, Tourism department and Shrine Board to revive this route which has great historical and heritage value. Even the local MLAs and MPs also never bothered to revive this route. INTACH Jammu jointly with Professors and research scholars of Environment Science Jammu university recently surveyed this area for its heritage structures and water quality of wells, Bowlis and Ponds. I also accompanied the team. The Traditional Vaishno Devi Yatra Heritage route project is being developed by the INTACH Jammu with the support of local MLA Sh. Devinder Rana. Hopefully he will be able to project the demand to Government and send proposal to GOI for development of this heritage route. This area besides being of Heritage value also has the potential of Eco-tourism and Farm Homestays because of hilly terrain and thick forests. This Heritage Vaishno Devi Trail can be developed on the pattern of Jesus and Abraham pilgrim Trail in Israel which attracts millions of tourists.
Dr C M Seth IFS