Myths and local legends about river Devika

The river Devika is one of the holiest rivers of Duggar formed by rills and other small water channels cascading from springs in Shivgarh range about a hundred kilometer north of Jammu city. Just above Sudhmahadev, at about 1600 meter altitude which is vast mountain shelf, Devika takes its final shape. devika river about

Large number of tirthas dot banks of the river right from its source of origin and along its subsequent sub-terrain journey, (Gupta Ganga) up to the point of Uttarbehni, where from it starts flowing towards north. Devak continues to attract on special days, thousands of devotees who consider the river is as sacred as Ganges.

According to the myths and local legends, the river is believed to have appeared on Phaggan (February-March) Chaturdashi i.e., Shivaratri at the end of Dwapar Yug when Rishi Kashyap prayed to Lord Shiva to resort something for the purification of the sinners of Madra Desh. Lord Shiva asked his consort Uma (Parvati) to flow through the land of Duggar as Devika and said that whosoever bathed in this river would be purified from sins.

Lord Shiva himself manifested as lingas at a number of places on the bank of river Devika of which Sudhmahadev, Udhampur, Purmandal and Uttarbehni are the most famous. The places where the Gupt Ganga had emerged above ground, like Sudhmahadev, Udhampur, Purmandal and Uttarbehni, pilgrimage centres stand established. Other pilgrimage centres on Devika are Chenaini, Jandrah, Sakon and Siddh Swankha near Vijaypur.

Read also: Bowlis of Udhampur: Our Heritage

Vedas mention the sanctity of Devika and consider it as a powerful source to attain divinity. The river Devika is called the elder sister of the holy river Ganga. In Padma Purana, Lord Krishna once said to Yudhishtra, ‘Even river Ganga, when becomes overburdened by the sins of the evil-doers bathing for purification, herself comes to bathe in the Devika to get rid of that weight.’

Since the Lord Shiva himself manifested on the banks of the Devika in the form of Shiv Lingam, so a great importance is attached to a bath in its water on festivals or on special sacred days for the purpose of obtaining moral cleansing.

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