Durga Temple at Kuldabi (Sunderbani) is an ancient temple. It is situated at a distance of about 15 Km from Sunderbani town. One has to travel in a Mini Bus via Baja Bain to cover 12 Km and to walk on foot about 2 to 3 Km from Dhok Banyar to reach the temple. However, now a 5 km new road is being constructed under PMGSY from Kalideh to Kuldabi. With the result, the distance from Sunderbani to Kuldabi will be shortened to only 9 Km. On foot journey will hardly be one (1) km.
It is believed that this temple was constructed in the sixteenth century. But there is no evidence about it. It was built with stones and its height was only 12 feet. Now it has been reconstructed and renovated without displacing the original idols of Maa Durga. It has three idols carved on flat stones and have been fixed on the uplifted base. These were built by an expert architect with great care. There three are the idols of Mahakali, Mahaluxmi and Maharaswati. While reconstructing the temple, these idols were not disturbed including the base. These are in the original position, shape and size. The temple has been erected to a significant height with Parikarma attached to it. These carved idols are now painted with different colours making them more attractive. These were painted by a Sadhu with suitable colours, he came here and stayed for few months. He was a good painter as well. He may be a painter turned sadhu. He also painted the pictures of Mahalaxmi and the lion of Maa Durga on the walls of the temple in addition to other paintings.
There is also an idol of Baba Bhairo Nath installed in small temple type housing on the south side of the Temple. The devotees have darshan of Baba Bhairo Nath after worshiping Maa Durga.
It is a holy place of Hindus. The people throng this temple on every Sunday and Tuesday. The devotees are blessed by Maa Durga. The devotees pray for their wishes and these are fulfilled. Many of them are graced with blessings and have turned prosperous. They pray for getting job, for success of their children in various exams and for getting seats in different technical and medical colleges for their wards. Childless couples pray to get issues. Many devotees are get benefitted in one way or the other with the blessings of Maa Durga.
This temple was reconstructed and renovated in 2002-03. It was reopened in 2003 for Darshan on Jyashat Shukla Ashtami (Month of May) after performing Havan and Puja amidst Vedic Mantras followed by Bhandara. Now a Bhandara is being organised every year on Jyashat Shukla Ashtami. This year it was performed on 29th of May 2012. The devotees from Sunderbani, Akhnoor, Nowshera, Rajouri and Jammu attend the function every year.
In Navratras the people of surrounding villages throng this temple and pray for peace, prosperity and satisfaction. Havan is performed and Bhandara is organised on Ram Navmi, the last day of Navratras.
A kitchen has been constructed for this purpose in the premises of the temple. The temple has some kanals of land attached to it. It can be developed as a religious and tourist spot of Tourism Deptt comes to help.
At present the maintenance of the temple is being looked after by a Khajuria (Brahmin) family of Dhok-Banyad whose head of the family performs the puja and acts as Pujari (the Priest). This family is looking after the temple from the ancient times. But family members could not tell the exact year of its construction. Only some elders of this locality narrate the sixteenth century as the period of its construction.
This temple is a symbol of communal-harmony and brotherhood.
By Madan Mohan Sharma