The Aap Shambhu Temple at Sathrian (Roop Nagar), is a rare temple in Jammu where Lord Shiva is believed to be present in a natural Shiva Linga form. The temple has changed a lot since last six years, the present structure of the temple is visually appealing because of the fine architecture. The Aap Shambu temple has become a famous landmark in the geography of Jammu.
The preparation for the temple can be judged from the decoration done in the temple- muticolored buntings, flowers, pandals etc which are engaging. Thousands of devotees visit this temple and wait for hours in order to get a turn for darshan of Shiva Linga.
The management committee of the temple have made arrangements for water and Prasad. The view of the Shiva Temple on the pious day of Maha Shivratri is really mesmerising.
Earlier people had to face difficulties to reach up to the temple like they had to complete an uphill journey and travel through thorny bushes while carrying a jug of water for Shiva’s abhishek. But as of now, several arrangements have been done so that people can easily visit the place.
The unique fact about the location of the temple is the scenic beauty of the place which is located near Roopnagar Colony and Channore basti. The whole complex of the temple is constructed of terraces and the main centre of attraction is the “pindi”. According to the popular belief, the Svayambhu Linga is not covered any kind of roof rather it has a very old bush of ‘Akk’ and ‘Garna’ tree on the other side. Various other trees like old Borh, Mango, Krengal, and Billva trees are in the temple premises.
From last few decades the open air shrine is maintained by the management committee which includes Manhas Rajput biradari. Besides the idol of sitting Nandi facing the ‘pindi’, there are small temples where idols of gods and goddess like Durga, Kali, Ganesh, Hanuman, Shani, Ram, Sita and Lakshman, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Yama are kept.
According to the old legend as recorded in the book published by Pujari Dwarka Nath Jogi, the place where the Syamabhu Linga is present used to be a dense jungle during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh. It is said that a Gujjar who was living nearby Sathrian, observed that there was no milk in the udder of his buffalo which along with other animals went for grazing in the nearby jungle. Due to which he became suspicious that someone must be milking her secretly. So, he followed the buffalo and was surprised to find that while other buffaloes and cows were grazing, his buffalo stood still near a specific stone and started releasing milk on the it (pindi).
He thought that some evil forces might have overpowered his animal so he made an attempt to break the stone with an axe. To his surprise, the stone started bleeding. The Gujjar was frightened and later he realised that he has turned blind. Further, his house was also burnt down. As per the old legend, his entire family suffered badly and in the end everybody died.
When Maharaja Pratap Singh heard about this story he came to inspect the place and was very happy to see Lord Shiva in the form of a ‘pindi’. He wanted to shift the Svayambhu Linga in a big temple so he ordered to dig out the ‘linga’ from that place.
But what happened later surprised everyone as the area around the ‘pindi’ was dug out but the very next day; it was found to be filled up. This process continued for some days and when the matter was reported to Maharaja, he understood the whole concept and decided to make a temple at the same place. One day in a dream, Lord Shiva told him that the jungle is the natural home of the Lord so the king decided to keep the ‘pindi’ as it is.
From that time, the Aap Shambhu linga is being worshipped in its original form at Sathrian.
Presently, the devotees flock to the temple during Navratras when havan is organised on Naumi and also on every Sunday when an all-night long pujas are held.
According to Deep Singh Manhas, a 25-year old devotee, who has been religiously visting the temple since childhood, “I never miss coming here to have darshans of the Baba that is Lord Shiva. Kashmiri Pandits come here daily in large numbers for worship but they assemble here in appreciable number on the day of Shivaratri and many devotees even come and camp here a day before the festival”.
The Aap Shambu temple is a living example of our heritage which is constructed and maintained without the help of the State Authorities or any other Religious.