Paddar is famously known for the Machail Yatra of Goddess Chandi. Maa chandi resides in the remotest corner of Paddar at an altitude of around 9500ft above sea level. It is a trek distance of around 30 kms on foot from the Gulabgarh Village. This is the last village connected by road. Every year thousands of devotees pay visit to the Holy Shrine with the faith undeterred and to receive the blessings of Mata machail waali. The number of pilgrims with each passing year has kept on increasing manifolds.
The Legend and The Start of Yatra
According to the ancient sources, Maa appeared in the form of Pindi, the same as it is in Vaishno Devi.The Goddess came here from Mindal Bhattas, a small village in Himachal Pradesh to bless the people of Paddar. The yatra was initially started by Thakur Kulbir Singh of Bhaderwah who was serving in J&K Police department and was posted in Machail. The yatra with Holymace, starts from Chinote(Bhaderwah) during the month of August with a lot of zeal and fervor amidst the chants of Maa Chandi. Devotees from Jammu start their journey from the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir (Pacca Danga) after taking the obeisance and join the yatra at Bhaderwah from where it takes off to Kishtwar and then to Atholi in Paddar. The Holymace is welcomed enroute by thousands of devotees at various villages with them offering free Langars at Gulabgarh, Massu, Kundhail, Chishoti, Hamori and Machail.
Impact of Yatra on Local Populace
The yatra has laid tremendous impact on the socio economic conditions of the people during the month long yatra. The locals get to showcase their scantily available food crops like Bajar Bhang, Phulan, Sivil which are used during fasting and the sale of these items boost them financially. Coupled with it the sale of shopkeepers, dhabawalas and tea stall owners surges considerably, earning them a good fortune; all this with the divine blessings of “Mata Chandi Machail Waali”.
The Government of J&K through District administration Kishtwar takes lot of initiatives to provide facilities to the ever increasing flow of the pilgrims in the areas of health, clean water, rationed items, security arrangements and transportation. Significant is the step arranging the Chopper services from the District Headquarter Kishtwar as also from the Block Headquarter (Gulab Garh) to Holy Temple Machail.
The whole yatra is Organised by Sarv Shakti Sevak Sanstha® Doda.