Before India was partitioned along the lines of hate and religion, pilgrims from parts of India, even those of present day Pakistan too, used to visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
More than a century ago, they used to visit the holy shrine passing through Pangoli village of Nagrota consituency. Pangoli has a number of wells and bowlis, though ignored, telling the tales of days gone by.Devotees used to enter Jammu through Sialkot back then. From Jammu, they passed through Pangoli and Bamiyal before reaching the holy town of Katra.
Being a kandi area, the villages here were short of drinking water. So, locals used to fetch water from Nagrota and sell each pitcher for an anna’s price. Pilgrims then carried these pitchers all along due to lack of water on the way.
According to news report of Dainik Jagran, it was one Srijan Arora and his wife Shiv Devi, of Lahore, who funded construction of 40 bowlis, or water bodies for the benefit of the pilgrims.
While some things haven’t changed since then; the village still has shortage of drinking water others have changed beyond recovery. Pilgrims from Lahore and Karachi are a thing of the past now.
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It is a shame that these bowlis, though filled with water are in ruins and in need of cleaning. If only the local administration restores these bowlis, they may serve the villagers and also help keeping alive a piece of history.
Sourced from Dainik Jagran