The Legend

Zeshta's origin relates to an important event which took place during the churning of great ocean kshirasagra. Devtas and Asuras both desirous of attaining morality were yearning for getting the nectar from Ksirasagara. At the same time they were conscious that this nectar would become available to them only if Lord Shiva, who is holder and controller of Ksirasagara, permitted them to churn it. So both the parties, with great reverence, adored, the Lord. Pleased with their adoration and devotion, Lord Shiva agreed with the condition that whatever substance came out there from would be shared by both Devtas and Asuras equally. Unaware of the nature of the substance that would come out after churning of the ocean, they gladly accepted the condition.

Having possessed Ksirasagara, no doubt, for a specific purpose of getting nectar, both the parties were puzzled, as they had no idea about the methodology that was to be used for its churning. So disappointed they again approached Lord Shiva for bestowing them with divine power which would make churning of the ocean possible. Lord Shiva, the bestower of boons, gave them one more boon by revealing to approach:-

i) Mandara Parvata, ( the biggest mountain that alone could be used as a churner for ksirasagra).

ii) Lord Narayana, for taking incarnation of Kurmadevta, a giant crocodile. He alone can hold this great mountain on his back and

iii) Vasukinagaa for offering his body to be used as a rope around Mandara Parvata, that alone has the power to make the Parvata the churner of Ksirasagra.

Feeling delighted and getting the help of Mandara parvata, Narayana and Vasukinaga, the Devtas and Asuras started the process of churning. Although initially they got fourteen gems of which one gem was in the form of Goddess Lakshmi but suddenly it started evaporating poison in the form of Kalakuta or Halahala-- the terrible poison having its lethal effect to destroy whole universe instantaneously. The Devtas who were given the control over thirteen gems, too were frightened about Kalakuta. Being of a very virulent character, the moment it appeared after churning, it started engulfing everything and burn it up. It was beyond their power to control it. They were desparate and adored Lord Shiva to come to their rescue. The Lord, who is Trilokinatha, protector of the Universe, was pleased and bestowed his Anugraha to his creation by consuming the poison. But in order to protect Parvati (Lord Shiva's energy), he stored it in his throat. That is the reason why Lord Shiva's throat is bluish in appearance. The Devtas and Asuras were delighted and they again adored Lord Shiva by addressing him Nilkantha.

The Devtas bestowed Goddess Lakshmi to Lord Visnu. This furiated the Asuras. In their anger they snatched her from Lord Vishnu and kept her in captivity in a cave called "Guptagara" (now Gupkar). This action of Asuras gave rise to wrath of Lord Shiva and with his divine force he created Goddess Zeashta and Vira Vaitala with powers to annihilate all the Asuras and free goddess Lakshmi from their clutches. Upon accomplishment of the task, Lord Shiva by his grace bestowed both of them with the power of protection and upliftment of mankind. The abode of Mata Zeashtais at a stones throw from the place called "Gupkar" in the Srinagar city. All the devotees worshipping Goddess Zeashtaare fully protected and receive Mother's grace uninterruptedly . It has been a tradition to offer 'cooked yellowish rice" (in kashmiri "tehar") on all thursdays during the month of Zyesth.

This famous ancient shrine of Kashmir for worldly people is a place for attaining Siddi, Riddhi and Buddhi in all fields.

****************************************Jai Mata Di***************************************