Sharada Temple along LoC to be rebuilt
200 kilometers away from Muzaffarabad, the capital and largest city of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir – also known as Azad Kashmir – the Sharda Peeth is of historical and cultural importance to Hindus and Buddhists. It is the oldest living civilization, the ancient learning center considered among the most prominent temple universities in the world.
By the 11th century, it was among the most revered places of worship in the Indian subcontinent. Significantly, it featured not in his description of Kashmir, but in his list of the most famous Hindu temples in the Indian subcontinent
Sikander Butshikhan, who used brute force to establish Islam in Kashmir had destroyed the temple. For nearly decade and a half, struggles have been made to start pilgrimage to the revered Sharda Peeth.
Since the India–Pakistan partition, it has been a long-standing desire of the Kashmiri Hindus to visit the temple. The Save Sharada Committee (SSC) has been demanding for a while that pilgrim be allowed to visit the shrine across the LoC.
The Save Sharda Committee (SSC) is taking the lead in campaigning to start the pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth Temple. The SSC laid the foundation stone of Mata Sharda Devi Temple along with a research centre at Teetwal village near LoC on the 3rd December last year. The event saw a large number of gathering for bhumi pujan. It rekindled their hope that sooner or later Hindus will be able to visit this temple and worship the Goddess Saraswati.
Founder of the SSC, Ravinder Pandita said that unlike Kartarpur, where one could travel with visas in the past as well, Sharada Peeth lies in PoK which is the reason of primary dispute between the two nations.
“There is a document called LoC permit in force since 2007, under a treaty between India and Pakistan after Musharraf-Vajpayee meet, for people to travel across LoC and meet their relatives. The LoC permit is only for the residents of J&K who wish to visit their relatives on the other side. We are also J&K state subjects but we don’t have relatives there. So, we are not allowed to go. We want to travel on the same LoC permit, but with some amendments to allow us to go and visit Sharada peeth,” said Pandita.
On the Sharda Divas is the day when the auspicious yatra commences, face-to-face discussions were held with the Indian Army and Revenue Department. Following which, a Sharda Yatra Temple Committee comprising of 9 members from different faiths was formed under the aegis of the parent Trust, Save Sharda Committee. They have decided to construct a Sharda Centre and Sharda Temple in the area.
Though the Sharda Centre may take time, the construction of the Mandir will soon start for which they have been receiving donations from various people and organizations. The committee has also demanded similar infrastructure like that of Integrated Check Post at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurudaspur district of Punjab on the Indian side of Kartarpur corridor for pilgrimage to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, in Pakistan
Namastey Sharada Devi Kashmir Pur Vasini Tvam Ham Prartheye Nityam Vidya Danam Che De hi Mahi. (Salutations to you, O Sharada, O Goddess, O one who resides in Kashmir. I pray to you daily, please give me the charity of knowledge).”
This is a prayer that Kashmiri Hindus say as a part of their worship to pay obeisance to Goddess Sharada, commonly known as Saraswati.
The retrieval of the lost glory of the ancient Sharda Peeth, the construction of the temple is a ray of hope for the Kashmiri Hindus.
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