The entire structure of ‘Aap Shambhu’ Shrine at Roop Nagar is built upon a naturally formed lingam and it is the main highlight of this shrine. This ancient temple holds an important position among the local residents and thus, huge numbers of devotees throng the place to offer homage to Lord Shiva.
It is one of the few shrines in Jammu city where Lord Shiva appears as self-manifested Shiva Linga.
According to local belief and legend, in ancient days, this place was an uninhabited jungle and cows and buffaloes shed entire milk on the lingam. But in the last 60 years, the shrine has transformed from a remote, obscure and humble shrine to its present day elaborate architectural presence. It has gained immense popularity amongst local population. and emerged as an important landmark of sacred geography of the winter capital.
Its main attraction is the sacred spot where the ‘pindi’ is manifested. The Svaymbhu Linga which according to the popular belief is not to be covered with any kind of roof has on its one side a veryold bush of ‘Akk’ and on the other ‘Garna’ tree.
Apart from the idol of sitting Nandi facing the ‘pindi’, the small temples contain idols of gods and goddess like Durga, Kali, Ganesh, Hanuman, Shani, Ram, Sita and Lakshman, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Yama and Amar Jot which keeps on burning 24X7.
HISTORY OF THE SHRINE
As per the legend recorded in the book published by pujari Dwarka Nath Jogi, the place where the Syambhu Linga is situated was a dense jungle during the times of Maharaja Pratap Singh. It is said that a Gujjar who was living nearby Sathrian, noticed that there was no milk in the udder of his buffalo which along with other animals went for grazing in the nearby jungle. Having become suspicious that someone was milking her stealthily, he followed the buffalo and was shocked when he found that while others buffalos and cows were grazing, his buffalo came to the particular stone, stood still, and started releasing milk on the it (pindi).
Taking this to be a curious act of evil forces, overpowering the animal, he tried to break the stone with an axe. Due to blows of the axe, the stone started bleeding. The terrified Gujjar also found that he had turned blind. A further calamity awaited him as his home was mysteriously burnt down. According to folk lore, the Gujjar and his entire family suffered a lot and ultimately died.
After hearing this story, Maharaja Pratap Singh came here and was very happy to see Lord Shiva in the form of a ‘pindi’. With an intention of shifting the Svaymbhu Linga from the desolate spot to Jammu, where it could be installed in a grand temple, he ordered the ‘linga’ to be excavated.
But to the surprise of every one, the area which was dug around the ‘pindi’ in the day was found to be filled up on the next day. This went on for some days and when the matter was reported to Maharaja, he taking it as wish of the Lord decided to making a temple at the same spot. But in a dream, Lord Shiva told him that the jungle is the natural abode of the Lord, the king decided not to build any structure and let the ‘pindi’ remain as it is. Since then the Aap Shambhu linga is being worshipped in its original form at Sathrian.