Maharani Temple is also known as Rani Temple since it was established by Mohini Bai Sisodhia, the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh, the former monarch of Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of Kashmir, reigned from 1915 till his death. She is thought to have spent a lot of time worshipping Lord Shiva at the shrine. The Shiva Temple, also called as the ‘Rani Temple’ and ‘Maharani Temple,’ is located on a tiny hillock in Gulmarg’s town square, and is viewable from all areas of the town due to its high position. Ghulam Mohammad Shiekh, a solitary Muslim priest, has been performing priestly duties in this Hindu temple for the past 17 years, symbolising communal unity among Hindus as well as Muslims in the Kashmir Valley. Locals and visitors have graciously welcomed a Muslim conducting Hindu Temple traditions such as puja, aarti, and serving Prasad to devotees. He also does Namaz every day because he is a Muslim.
Rani Temple, also known as Shiva Temple, is one of Gulmarg’s most well-known holy sites. The Rani temple is thought to be one of the remaining remnants of the Dogra dynasty. The first princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by this dynasty. As the temple is situated at the hilltop so most of the locations of Gulmarg can witness the presence of temple in the valley. The view from the temple itself is remarkable and is extremely magnificent, with its snowcapped surroundings in the winter and grassy appearance in the summer.
This temple, also known as Mohineshwar Shivalaya, houses the idol of Lord Shiva, which attracts worshipers with its majestic beauty. Devotees can also worship to Goddess Parvati, who is represented by a statue. This mediaeval Shiva temple was the Dogra Kings’ royal temple in Jammu and Kashmir.
Maharaja Mohandev of Dharampur had a daughter named Mohini Bai Sisodhia. His princess sometimes used visit here to worship Lord Shiva when the last Dogra king was enjoying his life at Gulmarg in his royal castle, a few kilometres from the temple. In reality, she stayed for months in this temple, worshipping Lord Shiva. The temple is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Devotees are treated to Aarti twice a day.
The Army has opened the famed Shiv temple in Gulmarg, a ski resort in Jammu and Kashmir, to the public after renovating it. The 1915 temple is well known for appearing in Rajesh Khanna as well as Mumtaz’s classic song “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from the film “Aap Ki Kasam.”
“With the support of villagers, the Army unit in Gulmarg rebuilt the construction of the Shiv temple in Gulmarg. The temple’s grounds and pathways were also refurbished and rebuilt, according to an Army officer. Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia, wife of the erstwhile Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh, built the temple in 1915.
The temple needed major renovations because no maintenance work has been done in a long time, according to the official. He claimed that a huge number of locals and visitors visiting the well-known ski resort in north Kashmir’s Baramulla region had voiced their desire to see the temple restored to its former glory.
He remarked, “The Indian Army has always maintained a close connection with the awaam (people) and used it as an opportunity to contribute to Kashmir’s varied legacy.” The refurbished temple, according to the authority, has reopened to the public. Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, the temple’s guardian, said the event was a testament to Kashmir’s eclectic culture and rich heritage.
- AMRITA TIWARI