The legendary Sudh Mahadev Temple is situated at a distance of about 120 KMs from Jammu towards the Southeast of the capital of erstwhile state of Chenani that was presumably founded in 770 AD by Raja Gambhir Chand the 37th descendent of Raja Shishpal Chand of Chanderi (who finds mention in the epic Mahabharata).
The temple is near nucleus of Mantalai where Raja Himachal held the marriage ceremony of his daughter Parvati to Lord Shiva.
It is believed that in olden times a Rakshas (demon) named ‘Sudh’, used to trouble Devtas and the residents of this place. They all worshiped Lord Shiva to save them from the demon. Hearing the genuine prayers of the devotees Lord Shiva hurled His trident at the demon with such a power that it not only killed him but pierced the earth through and through down to patala.
It is said that in his dying moments after being hit by the trident, the demon expressed repentance for his misdeeds and begged for pardon as he himself was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva pardoned him and ordained that the demon’s name would be taken before His and this is how the name Sudhmahadev came in to being. The iron Trident of Lord Shiva still exists in the temple complex, standing six feet above the ground with a diameter of six inches.
In 1600 AD Raja Ram Chand, the 32nd Raja of Chenani, while camping at Sudhmahadev, wanted to test the truth of this legend. He asked his men to dig up the area.
The digging continued for two days and on third night Raja had a vision that on the following morning a piece of iron would fall from the top of the Trident and a Saligrama would appear. Of this piece of iron, he was commanded to make a sword and he was also enjoined to worship the Saligrama which would appear daily.
He was also told that the sword would possess a special property of foretelling victory or defeat in time of war.
Raja Ram Chand was also ordained to build a temple for an image of Lord Shiva, which would appear the following day.
Next morning as foretold in the vision, a piece of iron fell from the top of the Trident and an idol emerged which is known as Lakshmi Damodar. Raja Ram Chand had a sword made from the iron and also erected a temple for the idol and the Sudhmahadev Temple was then built by Raja Ram Chand for an image of Lord Shiva, which appeared on the following day.
Every year on Pooranmashi of Ashad month, a Mela is held which last for three days. In front of the temple there is a Gadda, which is believed to be of Bhimsen’s. A flame in the temple first kindled by Jogi Sarup Nath is an Akhand Jyoti and the ashes of the dhooni are never removed.