J-K locals find antique idols inside caves

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Kathua (Jammu and Kashmir), May 6 (ANI): Locals in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua District have found several antique idols, including that of Lord Shiva (Hindu god) and Lord Sheshnag (Hindu serpent deity), insides the caves of Billawar town.

The villagers claimed that a shepherd once dreamt of Lord Shiva, who informed him about the presence of idols in the caves.

They said that the shepherd once took a woman suffering from pain in her back to the site, and after taking a dip in the water in the cave she was relieved of her backache.

"A shepherd dreamt of Lord Shiva telling him about the caves. He took the woman near the caves and she got rid of her pain after bathing in the holy water inside the caves. The yatra (journey) is on from the fifth day of Navratra (nine days and nights sacred to the Goddess) and is still continuing. First time in 18 years in this place, I have seen that Lord Shiva Himself is showering his blessings," said Babu Singh, a devotee.

"Lord Sheshnag and Lord Shiva reside here. We have come to visit the place. A Shivling and idols of Lord Radha Krishna, and looking at the idols, you will see, water is flowing from Lord Shiva's hair. People, who will bathe in the holy water would get rid of various diseases and Lord Shiva will grant them their wishes," he added.

The Cave Committee formed by locals is making arrangements to make it easier for the devotees to visit the caves. Though the terrain is rough, as there is no direct path to the caves, hundreds of devotees throng the place daily to offer prayers. Devotees had to cross the Ujh River, which comes on the way.

"It has Lord Sheshnag and Lord Shiva. It is a bit difficult to walk on the path. The committee has already started working to improve the path. Money is coming and the development work is on," said Cave Committee President Satpal Gupta.

"The problem is that the water level of the Ujh River has increased, so people are not able to walk across. Donations are being raised for the development," he added.

The regular visits of the devotees here has come as a blessing in disguise for the local people, as it has increased the scope of employment for them following the setting up of small shops outside the caves. (ANI)

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