BHARMOUR - THE LAND OF LORD SHIVA
Bharmour, anciently known as Brahmpura, was the ancient capital ofChamba, Himachal Pradesh (India) till 920 AD. Bharmour is situated in Budhil and Ravi valley between North latitude 32° 15' 36? and 32.26° and East longitude 76° 19' 12? and 76.32°at altitude of 2195 meters from sea level forty miles to the south-east of Chamba.
Bharmour is also popular because of its proximity with Manimahesh Lake, Manimahesh Kailash and Chaurasi (84) ancient temples, which are reflecting the glorious past of this hidden town. Bharmour is also known as the Abode of Shiva as there are numerous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in and nearby regions The whole region around Bharmour is considered to be under the control of Lord Shiva, hence is also known as the Shiv Bhumi..This place besides being an aesthetic and scenic beauty is also spiritual in essence.
The old archaeological remains are said to be the temples in and around the area. Bharmour is inhabited by Gaddies (Shepherd) who reside exclusively on the snowy ranges and mountains which divide Chamba from Kangra and Lauhal & Spiti district.
Gaddis are semi-nomadic and partial pastoral tribes. Being the home of an interesting Gaddi tribe Bharmour is also known as Gadheran in Kangra district. The place is also known for its red delicious apples, medicinal herbs, hidden treasures and warm woolen blankets.
Location of Bharmour
Bharmour is situated at an elevation of 2,195 meters above from sea level between the North latitude 32° 15′ 36″ and 32.26° and East longitude 76° 19′ 12″ and 76.32° between Budhil and Ravi valley of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh (India) and is surrounded on all sides by lofty hill ranges.
The territory is wholly mountainous with altitude ranging from 2,000 to 21,000 feet.
DISTANCES FROM NEAREST CITIES:
- Chamba (District Headquarter) 64 km
- Kangra 140 km
- Dharmashala 145 km
- Mcleodganj 160 km
- Manali 220 km
- Shimla 350 km
- Pathankot 150 km
- Delhi 650 km
- Chandigarh 350km
NEAREST RAIL HEAD - Railway station Pathankot (150 km)
NEAREST AIRPOTS - 1. Kangra airport at Gaggal (130 km
2. Kullu airport at Bhuntar (185 km)
3. Shimla airport at Ganhatti (350 km)
HISTORY OF BHARMOUR
Emperor Meru Varman, the father of the prince Jaystambh in theChamba state was the first to settle in Bharmour. He belonged to the ruling family of Ayodhya. Meru found access to the upper mountainous region through the Ravi valley. In the middle of 6th century he wins the many battles from Ranas holding their territory and founded the town Brahmpura and he made it the capital of a new state.According to one legend, the name Brahmpura was in use at a still earlier period for the more ancient kingdom of Bharmour which existed in the territories of Garhwal and Kamaun, and that Meru Varman gave the same name of Brahmpura to the state that he founded with present Bharmour as his capital. After Meru, several Rajas ruled in succession until Sahil Varman. After about four hundred years Sahil Varman who conquered the lower Ravi valley and transferred the capital from Brahmpura to the new capital he founded at Chamba.
According to a another local legend, the place Brahmpura was older than Meru's time and as per common belief this is used to be the garden of goddess Brahmani who used to reside Brahmani Devi was having a son who was very fond of his pet chakor (birds). One day the chakor was killed by a peasant and the son was shocked to death by this loose, Grief-stricken Brahmani Devi also sacrificed by burying herself alive. The spirits of these trios dead souls started haunting the people awfully who raised Brahmani Devi to the status of deity and built her a temple. The people believe that the place was called Brahmpura after Brahmani Devi.
THE ANCIENT CHAURASI TEMPLES
There is only one legend regarding Chaurasi temples. In ancient time when this beautiful place Brahmpura present Bharmour was used to reside by goddess Brahmani Devi one shrine three kilometer on the ridge from Brahmpura with a scenic garden present Chaurasi. One day when goddess Brahmani Devi went to somewhere then Lord Shiva reached their with 84 Sidhas while visiting to Manimahesh Kailash. God Shiva want to leave 84 Sidhas, perhaps they choose this place to leave them. When in evening Goddess Brahmani Devi, the presiding deity of the place seen the smoke of fires lit by the Sidhas, she felt very angry at this trespass. She came down to the garden and ordered Shiva and the Sidhas to get out of the place. Shiva importuned in all his humility for allowing them to spend a night in their beautiful garden as they are tiered, and promised to leave early in the morning.
Goddess Brahmani condescended to their wishes and went away to Dughashaar (a place on ridge) from where she cannot see the smoke of fires lit by the Sidhas. In morning God Shiva left slept 84 Sidhas and went to Manimahesh Kailash, but the 84 Sidhas transformed themselves in to 84 Shivlingas because they did not want to go anywhere and wished to settle there. After that the Lord Shiva granted a boon to goddess Brahmani Devi that all persons intending to go on pilgrimage to Manimahesh must have a dip in their holy pool. Failing this, their pilgrimage would not be acceptable to Lord Shiva. That’s by every visitor firstly take bath in Brahmani’s holy pool before Manimahesh Lake.
Brahmani holy pool is about 20 square meter below Brahmani’s cave.. Goddess Brahmani had stolen this holy water from Lord Sandhola Naag which is another side of the ridge. An interesting story in this event is that one day when Goddess Brahmani Devi and Goddess Jhakani Devi both went to stole water from Sandhola Nag’s water. Both the Goddess stole the water in their pot and ran away at the same time Sandhola Naag saw them immediately he took the bow arrow and ran after them. But the shrine of Goddess Brahmani Devi was another side of the ridge, so she thrown their pot filled with water from the top of the ridge toward their shrine which reached at their cave. But the knee of goddess Jhakani Devi was hit by arrow, so goddess Jhakani Devi could not reach up to their destination and the water fell at village Badie and kardouta so a temple was executed at their. Seven water streams are coming from the bottom of cave which are presently serving water supply facility to Bharmour and running many flourmills.
Chaurasi was the level area on which these eighty four temples were standing and the name was attributed to the 84 Sidhas who are believed to have meditated in Bharmour over 100 years who supposed to come from Kurukshetra while visiting to Manimahesh Kailash. The Chaurasi Temple Complex offers you a delightful, clean and a scenic view. The complex is surrounded by numerous schools. The most extraordinary site of the complex is the tallest temple of Manimahesh, which is built in the Shikhara style of architecture. Another temple built in the same style is that of Lord Vishnu cast in his Nar Singh Avatar. Bharmour, once known as Brahmpura, was between the 6th and 10th centuries, the capital of the princely state of Chamba. It is renowned for its cluster of temples collectively known as the ‘Chaurasi’. Though of varying architectural design, these temples are noted for their fine workmanship.
Legend has it that in the 10th century, 84 Sidhas (holy men) visited Bharmour; they blessed the ruler Raja Sahil Varman with ten sons and a daughter Champavati whom the town of Chamba is said to be named. And while some shrines were already in existence, the Raja had the remainder built to commemorate their sojourn. These include the Lakhna Devi Temple, the Ganesh Temple and the Nar Singh Temple. Installed in the sanctum of the Lakhna Devi Temple is an exquisite brass image of the goddess, The temple of Lord Dharamraj is also in the Chaurasi and only one in the whole world.
THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF CHAURASI ARE :
- Ganesha Temple(belongs to Lord Ganesh)
- Manimahesh temple (belongs to Lord Shiva)
- Nar Singh temple (belongs to Lord Vishnu)
- Maa Lakhna Devi (belongs to Goddess Mahisasurvardni)
- Maa Shitla Temple(belongs to Goddess Shitla)
- Maa Chamunda Temple(belongs to Goddess Chamunda)
- Hanuman Temple belongs to Lord Hanuman/ Bajrangbali)
- Kartik Temple (belongs to Lord Kartik)
- Dharameshwar Mahadev temple (belongs to Lord Dharamraj only one in the whole world)
- Nandi temple (belongs to Lord Nandi)
- Jai krishan Giriji temple (belongs to Saint Jai krishan Giriji Maharaj)
- Trameshwar Mahadev, Bijleshwar Mahadev, Moniling Mahadev, Suryaling Mahadev, Gyarahrudhra Mahadev (all temples belongs to Lord Shiva)
- Ard Ganga holy Pond (used for holy bath on the occasion of Janamastmi)
⇒GADDI'S OF BHARMOUR
The word Gaddi means ‘seat’ and since Bharmour was the seat of the emperor of Chamba, all the people of the Gadheran called themselves Gaddies. The "Gaddi" are a tribe living mainly in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir. The Gaddies are Hindus and belong to several castes including Brahmin, Rajputs, Dhangar, Khatri, Rana and Thakur. Gaddies are widely respected for their honesty, friendliness and peaceful lifestyle. They have great faith in Gods and Goddesses especially Lord Shiva. The language spoken within the tribe is Gaddi.
Old people used the Taakri script. Crime is almost unknown in Gaddi villages. Gaddi is a generic term used for all of the indigenous population of the Bharmour area of Chamba district and some regions of Jammu and Kashmir. The Gaddis include the Savarnas such as Brahman, Rajputs, Khatri, Thakur Rathi and the non–Savarnas like Hali, Rihare and Dom. Although all are categorized as scheduled tribe by virtue of their living in a scheduled area, the non-Savarnas are also included separately as scheduled caste.
Traditionally domiciled on both sides of the Dhauladhar Range in Himachal Pradesh. They reside mostly in the Bharmour region of Chamba District, in the upper reaches of the Ravi River and the valleys of the Budhil River. They are also found in the Kangra district, particularly in the villages like Palampur, Draman, Nurpur, Shahpur and Dharmashala. The Gaddis are not fully nomadic, since they have homes in villages; Gaddies are shepherd and generally travel with their flocks to higher reaches in the summer and lower areas in winter. Mainly they travel Lauhal & Spiti in summer, Kangra and other lower district of Himachal even in Punjab in winter with their folks. Over a period of time they have settled down and practice agriculture. Horticulture in the area has been quite successful in the recent years. Red Royal Apple, golden apple and Chestnut grown in the area is one of the best varieties in the world.
HISTORY OF GADDIES
In regard to the history of Gaddies as per their own traditions, the Gaddis descended from migrants who fled the plains of India for the relative security of the hills during times of trouble. It is thought that the Chauhans Rajputs Gaddies and Brahman Gaddies emigrated to Bharmour from Rajasthan. Most of the other castes of Gaddis are thought to be descended from people who fled to the hills to escape from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's persecutions in the 17th century. The history confirms that Gaddi Rajputs migrated from Lahore (Pakistan) to this place in order to avoid religious persecution. One of the most dominant Rajputs 'Lalhal’ migrated from a city named Lalhal near Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Presently the bulk of the population lives in Bharmour of Chamba district, but a scattered population of this tribe is also found in the adjoining districts of Kangra and Mandi of Himachal Pradesh even in Jammu and Kashmir. The community occupies the inaccessible, inhospitable terrain in between the Pir-Panjal and Dhauladhar range, between Ravi and Chenab valley. It is a high altitude area and remains cut off most of the time because of heavy snowfall. The language spoken within the community is Bharmouri Gaddi. Taakri was the script used by the ancestors. The Gaddi man is identified by typical dress which consists of a chola, Dora and white turban (Saffa).
The majority of the Gaddies are landowners and practice agriculture and horticulture as their primary means of livelihood. They are also pastorals and own large flocks of sheep and goats, as a subsidiary occupation. This has also resulted in their bartandari (customary) rights on forest land which are government owned. Today, many of them have also taken up many high ranking jobs in government and private organizations and other white collar jobs. Most of Gaddi shepherd spent their whole life with their flock. They travel with their flocks to high riches of Himalaya, generally the goes to Lauhal valley in summer through Chobia, Kalicho and Kugti Passes and in winter they goes to Kangra valley, Una and even in Punjab.
The majority of Gaddies are landowner, the wheat and maize are main grains and mah and rajmah are main pulses of Bharmour. Gaddies also practice in horticulture and developed world famous variety of red royal and golden delicious apple, chestnut and almond trees.
The majority of community is non-vegetarian and they mostly eat the meat of sheep, chickens Families, who keep poultry, also eat their eggs. The staple food of Gaddis consists of cakes of maize and wheat with mah and rajmah. They also make moderate use of vegetables, including roots and tubers, and fruits. Mustard oil is the usual cooking medium. People are very fond of sur which is taken on religious functions. Their special dish madra along with a sweet preparation is a must on all social and festive occasions. Gaddi stock their eatables and fire woods in the month of October for winter session.
FAIR AND FESTIVALES
The Gaddi community celebrates all the national festivals. But they also celebrate local festive like Manimahesh Jatra, lohri, Bhaishaki, Patrodu, Dolru, etc. Manimahesh fair is best occasion to see and study the custom and rituals of Gaddies.
⇒HIDDEN TREASURES OF BHARMOUR
Bharmour is totally unexplored to whole world so full of hidden treasures like Holy places, hidden sanctuaries, wild life and medicinal plants etc. Many visitors come to Bharmour for meditation, traveling, trekking, researches of wild life, medicinal herbs, to study the tradition and custom of local peoples of Bharmour.
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