The Lolab Valley is home of many ancient springs, Temples, Shrines and Ziarat, which are the symbol of religious harmony, peace and tranquillity in Kashmir. Chandigam is a village with scenic natural beauty in Sogam Block in Kupwara District of Jammu & Kashmir, which is named after Hindu deity Chandi Mata.
The village had a very old temple dedicated to Chandi Mata in the village which was a major religious attraction for the locals till late 80’s, until the ill fated exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley.
In fact, Chandigam village itself boasted of about 114 Kashmiri Pandit families in those days.
During the exodus, the fleeing families uprooted the idol from the mandir and took it along with them, fearing desecration of the holy idol.
Ghulam Mohammed Dar, Sarpanch of Chandigam B, recollects local muslim families pleading pundits not to uproot the idol and promised to take care of the temple as they would, of their properties and fields. However, the same did not fructify. The temple over the years kept losing its sheen due to vagaries of weather and lack of maintenance as also its temporary nature of construction. This always remained like a thorn in the chest of locals of Chandigam. A one of its kind coincidence is also that there is a shrine of Peer Dastagir just adjacent to the temple site, a very rare occasion in this part of the country.
The local folk tales have it that a very reverend Peer with the name Dastgir used to offer prayers under the tree adjacent to the temple site. He is believed to be having some great powers with which he used to heal the locals. It’s said he passed away at the same site.
Somewhere, in the month of May 2022, a local delegation of Sarpanches of Chandigam A & Chandigam B along with few visiting Pandit families approached the local army unit i.e. 28 RR bn for renovation of the temple site to bring back its original sheen and aura. As always, the Army was prompt with an affirmative response and as a mark of respect for the perennial and much celebrated communal harmony of Kashmir, started the work for the renovation of not only the temple site but also the Ziarat of Peer Dastagir. Donations poured in from all the sections of the society besides the jawans of the local unit and few politicians as well. Those who were from weaker sections offered labour support in the construction and it was a sight to behold with the local Kashmiris working tirelessly to bring back the glory to the mandir and the Ziarat.
60 days of hard work, dedication and reverence has paid its dividends in the form of a mesmerising complex of the renovated Chandi Mata Mandir And Peer dastagir Ziarat, a live testimony of the ever prevailing religious harmony, inclusive society and effervescent culture of Kashmir, which makes it the true paradise on earth.
The Temple and Ziarat was inaugurated on 01 July 2022 in presence of a huge local gathering duly following grand religious festivities.