BUDGAM: Abhinavgupta, one of the most important philosophers and polymaths of India, wrote Tantraloka —an encyclopedia on Kashmir Shaivism in the 10th century. Known widely for non-dual awareness or consciousness, Abhinavgupta in his lifetime, wrote 35 books. His influence is so huge that his philosophy spread and flourished in south India as well.
Legend has that Abhinavgupta took with him 1,200 disciples and marched off to a cave (the Bairam Cave, an actual place known to this day), reciting his poem Bhairavastava, a devotional work. They were never to be seen again. Apparently, they passed away together into the spiritual world.
The cave is located in the foothills of the steep Bairam hill in the Beerwah area of Budgam district. Till 1947, Kashmiri Pandits used to climb to the entrance of the cave and perform their religious rituals every year on the 10th day of the full moon in the month of June.
The credit for the rediscovery of the Abhinavgupta caves goes to Javed Beigh, a Beerwah Muslim youth leader who has been working on the subject for the last few years and trying to draw the attention of the authorities to restore Kashmir’s heritage site.
On March 30th, 2022, The New Indian Editor-in-Chief Aarti Tikoo climbed the steep hill and stood against the rock cave of Abhinavgupta.