Jammu division is a place of temples, Kameshwar Temple located in Akhnoor is believed to be about 5500 year old and belongs to the era of the Pandavas.
There is a very fascinating story associated to this temple which is thronged by people especially on the VishvaKarma Day. The “ Pindis” present in the Temple date back to 5500 years and the records of these pindis are present even in Shiv Maha Puran.
During Mahabharata era, Barbareek was the king of the province where the Kameshwar Temple stands today in Akhnoor. Barbareek was Bhim’s grandson and Ghatotkaccha was his father. He was a great warrior and God had given him three ”Infallible arrows”. With these arrows he could destroy anything and anyone at will.
When the war between the Pandavas and Kaurvas started, Barbareek went to his mother and asked for her permission to go and witness the war and if need be participate in it. The mother knew that Pandavas were a weaker side with the forces of the world with the Kauravas. She did not directly tell him to fight for Pandavas instead she advised him to fight for the weaker party.
Barbareek went to Kurukshetra, the site of the Pandava war, and as soon as he reached the battlefield he went and stood still near a Peepal tree. Lord Krishna noticed him, approached him and asked about his purpose of coming to the battleground and not participating.
Barbareek told him that his will to watch the war brought him to the war zone. Lord Krishna knew that Barbareek’s arrows were special and to test their strength, Lord and asked him to tie all the leaves of the Peepal tree. Barbareek happily accepted the challenge and by reciting Lord Shiva’s name he released the arrow. Lord Krishna secretly plucked a leaf and put it under his feet. As soon as Barbareek released his first arrow, it marked all the leaves of the Peepal tree with a thread and the arrow started revolving around Lord Krishna’s leg.
Lord Krishna shrewdly asked him the reason for the same to which Barbareek said that there must be a leaf under his foot. He requested lord Krishna to lift his foot else the arrow will prick through his foot. Lord Krishna knew this man’s arrows could define the war’s end and asked, whose side do you want to fight on. Barbareek answered with, “The side which is losing. Lord Krishna knew that Kauravas were going to lose and knew that Barbareek’s arrows could defeat the Pandavas.
Seeing all this, Lord Krishna showed Barbareek his true form and asked for Barbareek’s head as an offering to the Lord. Barbareek agreed but he expressed his wish to witness the war. As soon as Barbareek gifted his head to Lord Krishna, he took it and kept it on the top of the hill so that is how Barbareek watched the whole battle.
Barbareek’s mother had given him a boon that if in the battle, his head is cut but his torso returns home to his mother avoiding everyone’s eyes he can be brought back to life.
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Such a thing never happened because while Barbareek’s torso was returning home few women saw and screamed out due to which his torso fell there lifeless. The woman who screamed at that time later saw a dream in which Barbareek narrated his story to her and told her to worship him else she will never have a child. The woman took all these things very leniently but her whole bloodline was lost.
The spot where the body fell has the Kameshwar Temple and people come their wishing for the birth of children in their families.
After the Mahabharata when everyone started taking credit for the victory, Krishna suggested to ask Barbareek’s head as his head had seen the whole battle. When they asked Barbareek’s head as to who was responsible for the victory, the head replied – I saw nothing but God’s Sudarshan chakra spinning in the battlefield. Lord Krishna was impressed by the answer and blessed him that he will be worshipped by everyone so now he is known as God Kamrunaag. The place where Barbareek’s head witnessed the whole battle is now known as Khatu Shyamji.