Billawar is Tehsil HQ. It is also known as BALAUR. Billawar was founded by Raja Bhopat Pal in 1598-1614 and it remained capital of Basohli Rajas. The descendants of the Royal family are known as “BILLAWARIAS”. The town has some ancient monuments. One of these is Mahabilvakeshwar Temple, one of the most revered Shiva temples of the area. It was known as Hari Hara Temple. The Billawar Town is situated on the Bank of NAAZ and BHINNI Nallahs.
According to one belief, Pandavas visited Billawar in the last year of their exile and were attracted by “BILL” trees in which Billawar abounds. The Temple MAHABILVAKESHWAR was built where Pandavas had worshipped. The Name BILL lateron turned into BILLAWAR. In Billawar there is a an ancient Hanuman’s statue built on a rock in the river Naaz.According to Dr Sukhdev Singh Charak, Billawar-Bashli was one of the three parent/ original states of the DUGGAR Group alongwith Jammu and Poonch.
It is situated at a height of 5000 ft. It is a beautiful Hill Station. It is a ridge blanked with thick CHIR, DEODHAR and SHRUBS. It experiences temperate type of climate. It receives winter rainfall from wetern disturbances and summer rainfall from mansoons. Cold winter and pleasant summer are the main attractinns of this place The water of this place can be compared with that of Cheshma Sahi (Kashmir). It is 30 Kms from Billawar (Tehsil HQ). Regular bus service plies from Billawar.
A prominent town of Billawar Tehsil, was also once the seat of Imperial Power. It was very small state comprising 36 villages. Bhaddu town is situated on Bhinni Naalah, a tributary of Ujh river. The descendants of the Royal family are called BHADWAL RAJPUTS.
MANKOTE (PRESENTLY CALLED RAMKOTE)
It is an importat town in Billawar tehsil. It is situated on a hillock on the bank of BASANTER STREAM on Dhar-Udhampur Road. It used to be a small state spread over an area of 24 Kms in length and 15 Kms in breadth. Mankote was founded by Raja Manak Dev, a contemporary of Raja Narsingh Dev of Jammu (1272-1314 AD). It was renamed by Raja Suchet Singh (1822-43 AD) as RAMKOTE.
The Most famous shrine dedicated to mother goddess is Sukrala Devi Shrine at a distance of 9.60 Kms from Billawar and about 75 Kms from Kathua. The Shrine is located at a height of 3500 ft on a hillock amidst sylevan surroundings. The white line coated imposing edifice of the temple stands erect majestically. The pilgrims have to scale flights of many steps to reach venerated temple. The holy shrine is the abode of goddess Mal Devi, the re-incarnation of Sharda Devi. The goddess has manifested herself here in the shape of a Shilla (Stone Slab) seated on a Brass Lion with a silver mounted head. Behind it is also an image of Mahishasur Murdini (re-incarnation of Maha-Luxmi) standing on the body of Mahishasur, the Demon King. The Goddess is four Armed with a sword in one of her hands. Many legends are associated with the Shrine. The Holy Shrine is believed to have been built by Madho Singh and exiled Prince of Chamba (Himachal Pardesh). The Pilgrimage to the Shrine is increasing every year. During the Navratras the Number goes upto over 50 thousand.
SHIV TEMPLE BILLAWAR (MAHABILVA KESHWAR TEMPLE)
This most famous Shiva Shrine dates back to antiquity. Formerly known as the Hari-Hara Temple, it has Shiv Trimurti. Located in the Heart of Billawar Town, the temple is called Mahabilvaveshwar in view of abundance of Bilva trees in the area. It is believed that God Shiva is highly pleased when Bilva leaves, known as Bil-patri in local parlance, are offered to him. The temple spire is about 60 Ft high over a square sanctum,. The temple has a number of other images like that of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (5-headed), Ganesh and Bhairav. The temple edifice has been built with a chiselled and dressed stones which have been crumbling of late.
Also, this temple is very much related to the Maharaja Hari Singh’s (Dr Karan Singh’s father) family. There is an old saying that, if there is a mishappening/casuality in this royal family, A brick/stone having a spot of blood falls from the temple.
SHIV TEMPLE, MOONI (BILLAWAR)
It is situated on the Bank of river BHINNI. The Temple was built by Swamy Sh Purangiri ji Maharaj
HOW TO REACH
Regular Bus service plies from Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Pathankote, Basohli.
WHERE TO STAY
Govt Guest House, Govt Dak Bunglow and private Hotels are available at reasonable rates.
PWD Dak Bunglow, Billawar.