In a historic first for the Kashmir Valley, the revered Hanuman Rath Yatra, led by Swami Govinand Saraswati Maharaja, made its way into Srinagar on Wednesday, marking a significant moment of spiritual unity and devotion.
This monumental pilgrimage, which commenced three years ago, embarked on a mission to cultivate Bhakti awareness, instilling a sense of unity and magnificence in this ancient land. The Yatra seeks to ignite the flame of devotion, drawing inspiration from Hanuman ji’s selfless service to Lord Ram, serving as a guiding light for a society free from malevolence.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this Yatra is the profound message it carries for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, assuring them that the valley is now a safer place for them to return to their homeland. Kashmiri Pandit K.K. Raina articulated this sentiment, stating, "Bhagwan Ram sent Hanuman to a place before visiting it, signifying the divine assurance of safety." This, he believes, is a universal message, urging everyone to return without trepidation.
Swami Govinand Saraswati Maharaja, speaking to reporters, recalled that the Jammu and Kashmir administration initially expressed concerns about the Yatra. However, the pilgrimage remained unstoppable, and he expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome extended by people from all walks of life. The Rath Yatra, now reaching the Kashmir Valley, is planned to continue for a total of twelve years, culminating in Kishkindha, Karnataka, where a grand temple will be erected.
This historic event also casts light on Sharda Mata, the embodiment of spirituality and learning. Efforts are underway to rebuild the Sharda temple at Teetwal, Kashmir, a feat made possible through the determined endeavors of Ravinder Pandita and appeals from local residents to the Government of India. They seek negotiations with Pakistan to establish a corridor to the original Mata Sharda temple, which currently lies in ruins in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
Another significant announcement is the construction of a Lord Hanuman temple in Kishkindha, Karnataka, designed after the illustrious Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The Yatra, which spans three years already, is set to continue for an additional nine years. It commenced its journey into the Kashmir Valley on October 12, with a grand reception at the Durganag temple. On October 13, 2023, the Hanuman Rath Yatra passed through the Kheer Bhawani Mata temple in Tiker, Kupwara, before arriving at the remote border area of Teetwal on October 14, 2023.
The Yatra returned to Srinagar on October 16 and stops along the way included Hanuman temple in Srinagar, Zesta Devi Temple, and the Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal before proceeding to Vaishno Devi in Katra.
The arrival of the All-India Janambhumi Rath Yatra in Kashmir is a momentous occasion not only for the devotees but for the entire region, as it disseminates messages of unity, devotion, and hope, rekindling the spiritual and cultural heritage of this ancient land.
Swami Govinand Saraswati Maharaja emphasized that the Yatra's mission is to promote Bhakti awareness in society, spreading the message of Ramayana to foster unity and glory in this ancient land. He also extended an invitation to the people of Kashmir to support the construction of the Hanuman Janambhumi temple in Kishkindha, Karnataka, akin to the renowned Ram temple at Ram Janambhoomi.