Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Raghunath Temple, with seven shrines each with its own Sikhara, is one of the largest temple complex of north India, and is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple was built during the period 1835-1860 by Maharaja Gulab Singh and his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The temple has many gods, but the presiding deity is Rama, an avatar of Vishnu.
Raghunath Temple is a well-known holy shrine of the Hindus. Located in Jammu, Raghunath Mandir is one of the largest temple complexes of the Northern part of India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In 1835, the construction of this temple was started by the founder of Jammu & Kashmir, Maharaja Gulab Singh. After the death of Gulab Singh, it was completed by his son, Maharaja Rambir Singh in 1860. One can easily reach this temple from Srinagar/ Jammu Airport by hiring taxis or by taking regular buses from the cities.
The huge temple has seven shikhars (spires), where every shrine has its own shikhar. On the very entrance of the Temple, a portrait of Maharana Ranbir Singh and an image of Lord Hanuman embellish the site. The central shrine is dedicated to Lord Raghunath/ Rama, who is the presiding deity. Apart from the main shrine, the other shrines encompass various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There is a shrine of Lord Surya (Sun God), which is another striking shrine. There are many idols of different forms of the God.
Inside the temple, there are other shrines that house huge statues of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It is noteworthy to mention that gold sheets cloak the interior walls on three sides of this temple. It also has a gallery, where various 'Lingams' (phallic form of Lord Shiva) and 'Saligrams' are placed. Raghunath Temple comprises almost all the images of the Hindu Pantheon, which is quite uncommon. The sermons and rituals of the temple include both morning and evening Aarti.
A glimpse of Mughal artistry can be seen in the architecture of Raghunath Temple. The carvings and arches are really beautiful and grasp the major attention. There is a library in the temple complex, where rare Sanskrit manuscripts are kept. People visit this temple in large numbers to pay their homage to the deity and get the blessings from the God.
On 30 March 2002 when two suicide bombers attacked the temple. Seven persons including three security forces personnel were killed and 20 were injured. While the Hindus were performing puja in the temple complex on 24 November 2002, fidayeen attack by terrorists took place, when two suicide bombers stormed the temple which resulted in the deaths of 13 devotees and injuries to several devotees.