In Kashmir’s Shopian district, the annual three-day Tirath Raj Kapal Mochan yatra is bringing a festive spirit. The Tirth Raj Kapal Mochan at Devgam Shopian in Kashmir has a significant history. The Shrine can be traced to the Puranic period, and has reference to Lord Shiva.This pilgrimage site is one of the three main places in the country, after Ujjain and Chennai, where people who have died prematurely get salvation. The historic Kapal Mochan shrine was closed at the peak of militancy in the Valley in the 90`s. It remained shut for almost two decades.
The temple is surrounded by springs. It is believed that the water coming out of these springs has a curative power. Kashmiri Pandits from all over the country come to this temple every year. Yatris also visit the temple for Upanaya (thread ceremony) and Shradh for children and those who die in accidents or as bachelors.
Some beliefs associated with the temple. It is believed that once the head of Lord Brahma got separated from the hands of Lord Shiva. But this skull stuck with the hand of Shiva. Lord Shiva went to Himalayas and Nashik to get rid of it, but he could not get rid of it. When he reached Digam village in Shopian, suddenly the skull fell out of his hands. At that time something untoward happened and many people died prematurely. It is said that Lord Shiva was very hurt at that time and gave a boon that whoever dies of premature death, if his Shradh is performed here, he will get salvation.
A local visitor at the temple said, the whole Kashmiri fraternity is coming here, our brothers, sisters and daughters. The place has invoked a happy environment. I am glad to see that Muslims are also taking part in the event and helping the yatris by providing eatables. We have been like flowers of a single bouquet, standing up for each other in happiness and sorrow. Today, we feel sad the Kashmiri Pandits are separated from us. We would want to see them settled in their homes here. We will embrace them with our hearts. The priest performing the ‘havan’ is also praying that brotherhood stays on forever. The district of Shopian has been setting an example for the last many years for Hindu-Muslim unity and this brotherhood must last long, said the local temple visitor. The Tirath Raj Kapal Mochanyatra yatra began on August 17 and is culminating on August 19, 2022.