Site Name: Kol Kandoli Temple
Site Type: Temple, Hindu pilgrimage
Location: Nagrota, Near Jammu, Jammu region, Jammu and Kashmir state, India
Highlights: The gateway to the pilgrimage of Vaishno Devi
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Jammu
How to reach: Easily reachable from Jammu
Hotel: A lot of hotels are available in Jammu
Restaurants: Vegetarian options are abundant in Jammu
Vaishno Devi Yatra is one of the most popular pilgrimages in India. Thousands of devotees visit Vaishno Devi shrine everyday throughout the year. Kol Kandoli Temple, which is located very near to Jammu city, is considered as the gateway to Vaishno Devi yatra. Let us explore about this temple in this article.
Nagrota is a small locality and it is located at a distance of around 13 KMs from Jammu city. Vaishno Devi is present in this village and her temple is called as Kol Kandoli temple. It is considered as the gateway to Vaishno Devi yatra. Most of the devotees who travel to Vaishno Devi start their journey by visiting the temple in Nagrota first.
As per the legend, the Pandavas of Mahabharat epic were blessed by Vaishno Devi during their exile. This temple was built by the Pandavas.
Another popular legend that is associated with the sacred tree in this temple complex gives details on why this temple is called as Kol Kandoli. There was a poor Brahmin named Sridhar. He was asked by Vaishno Devi to feed the villagers. He told the Goddess his inability to feed them. Maa Vaishno Devi appeared as a twelve year old girl and had a bowl in her hand. With this bowl, she could provide food to the entire village. Hence the site was called as Kol Kandoli. The word 'Kol' means bowl and 'kandoli' means gathering.
There is another version of the above legend which states that Maa Vaishno Devi appeared as twelve year old girl and was playing with the other girls. When one of the girls got thirsty, water gushed out from the divine bowl in the hand of Maa.
When the temple was being constructed by the Pandavas, Bheem, one of the five Pandava brothers, got thirsty. Maa quenched his thirst by giving him water carried in her silver bowl. When the bowl was moved out from its original site, a Shiva Linga appeared there. Even today, Shiva Linga in the named Ghandeshwari Mahadev is present in the complex.
Maa Vaishno Devi is believed to have appeared as salt pindi in the shrine. A red colored holy stone is enshrined in the main shrine today. The shrine appears to be 200-300 years old from its style.
There is another shrine which enshrines the eight armed Vaishno Devi.
The sacred tree is found near these two shrines where the red colored relief image of Hanuman and a small marble idol of eight armed Vaishno Devi are found.
Ghanteshwari Mahadev Temple
A separate section of the temple complex enshrines Ghanteshwari Mahadev Shiva Linga in a separate shrine. Near his shrine the sub-shrines of Shaneeswar, Bhairav, Kali, Puri Jagannath and Navagraha are also located.
Another sacred peepul tree is situated in the temple complex. It is believed that Maa appeared as small girl and fed the villagers under this holy tree. The sacred well which is believed to have medicinal value is also located in the temple complex.
Another section of the temple complex houses a lot of sub-shrines. All of them enshrine various deities made of marble stone and they all belong to the current age.
The list of deities that are found in this section of the temple:
- Shiva Linga and Nandi facing towards Linga
- Ram, Sita and Lakshman
- Tirupati Balaji
- Nava Kanyas
- Ram Panchayat - Ram, Sita and Lakshman and a big idol of Hanuman
- Tirupati Balaji
- Eight armed Vaishno Devi
- Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali
- Puri Jagannath along with Baladev and Subhadra
- Sai Baba
- Radha and Krishna
- Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Kartikeya