When I visited Gulmarg, I was looking for places to visit there. So I asked some local people and they told me about Maharani temple which is located in the midst of Gulmarg. The locals told me some facts about the temple and what I found interesting about the temple was that temple was managed by a Muslim priest for many decades. So I decided to visit Maharani Temple and to meet the priest myself. When I visited the temple, the priest was very welcoming and performed every ritual by heart. When I talked to him, he shared with me the story of the temple and why he started looking care of the temple. He also told me “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from “Aap ki Kasam” was shot here at the temple and many other interesting things. So I have provided every bit of information that will help you visit the temple and some interesting facts about the temple so that you can enjoy to the fullest.
All About Maharani Temple (Mohineshwara Shivalaya)
Maharani temple or Mohineshwara Shivalaya is situated on a small hill in the middle of Gulmarg surrounded by the magnificent Pir Pinjal Range of Western Himalayas. The temple was constructed by queen Mohini Sisodia, who was the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh of the Dogra Dynasty. Maharaja Hari Singh was the last king of the Dogra dynasty and ruled Jammu and Kashmir.
Maharani Temple has been made by architectures in such a way that is visible from any elevation in Gulmarg and looks striking with its red roof against the green fields of Gulmarg. It is a royal temple of the Dogra Dynasty and visited by devotees and tourists visiting Gulmarg extensively.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati as it is believed that the queen was a devotee of Lord Shiva. When the king used to visit Gulmarg with her queen, the queen often spent her time in the temple while the King rested in his royal palace.
The most interesting thing about the temple is that a Muslim priest performs rituals and taking care of the temple for a long time. He has gained knowledge of both Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta and the Quran. He himself performs the puja twice a day and also offers the namaz as well.
Tourists and Devotees can even meditate there as the surroundings are very peaceful and calm. The fresh air makes it a perfect place for meditators and to relax for some time. You will notice many tourists and devotees meditating near the temple.
The Maharani Temple (Mohineshwara Shivalaya) is renovated and maintained from time to time by Jammu & Kashmir Dharmarth Trust. The Aarti is performed twice every day in the temple and the temple usually remains open from 6 AM to 9 PM but timings can sometimes vary.
The temple attracts a huge number of devotees during the festival of Shivaratri in the month of February and at that time the place is usually covered by snow dunes. At that time, the temple is decorated and proper cleaning of the temple is done.
There are certain things which are not allowed inside the premises of the temple which include Weapons, Cameras, Leather Items such as wallet of belts and Alcohol. Although you can take pictures and shoot videos from outside the premises.
History of Maharani Temple (Mohineshwara Shivalaya)
Maharani Temple or Mohineshwara Shivalaya was constructed by Mohini Sisodia, wife of Maharaja Hari Singh in the year 1915. According to some people, the first Muslim caretaker was Ahmad Bhat when the queen constructed the temple. Now Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh performs rituals and is taking care of the temple for the past 30 years. Before him, his father Ghulam Rasool Sheikh took care of the temple for nearly 40 years.
In the 1980s, Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh started performing rituals and taking care of the temple and he does it by heart. Sheikh arrived at Gulmarg at the age when he was a teenager and worked as a part-time tourist guide and sometimes worked as a laborer in the Tourism Department of Gulmarg.
Maharani Temple is maintained and renovated from time to time by the Dharma Trust which is run and funded by his son Hari Singh.
Many Bollywood Songs have been shot near the temple and at the temple. Rajesh Khanna’s famous song “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from his movie “Aap ki Kasam” was shot here at the temple. Other movies have also been shot near the temple such as Ek Phool Do Mali, Jab Tak Hai Jann, and some more.
JAI JAI SHIV SHANKAR SHOT AT MAHARANI TEMPLE
MAHARANI TEMPLE AT GULMARG