Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir State thronged Nagbal Shopian Wednesday to participate in annual Kapal Mochan Shradh- a festival observed “to seek liberation of souls of deceased, especially for those who die young”.
The village is around one and a half kilometers from Shopian district situated on the banks of nallah Rambiara.
A Havan was organized on the eve of the main Puja that is celebrated each year on 27th of August or on 12th of full moon night of Shravana.
“The Puja was revived three years ago and since then it is going on peacefully,” said Bansi Lal Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit, adding that prior 90’s they used to celebrate the festival each year but had to discontinue the custom when militancy broke out in Kashmir.
He said on this day they offer prayers at the Shiva Temple here at Nagbal for salvation of souls of such people who have died a “premature death”.
“There are no prevalent rituals for Shradh for young boys or girls who pass away before thread ceremony. Our religious belief is that their souls remain wandering as formless entities. We have a faith that these souls attain salvation only after a Shradh at Kapal Mochan,” Kaul said.
The temple which is named as Kapleshwar Shiva houses a Shiva Lingam and remains surrounded by three fresh water springs.
The community was assisted by State government to revive its lost glory. A fence was errected around the temple and a building was constructed by the department of Tourism for staying of devotees.
Many people from Muslim Community were seen visiting the site and greeting the Pandits.
“We respect their religion in accordance with teachings of Islam. We lived as neighbors for so many years and I feel good to see them here,” said Mohammad Rafiq, a resident of Shopian who had came to the temple to meet his childhood friend after five years.
Ravi Kumar Bhat, a Pandit from Chodrigund Shopian said he had been paying obeisance at the temple for last two years.
“I prayed for peace and prosperity of all the people of the State and for mutual brotherhood,” he said.