A year after the effective abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the administrative reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, the government has decided to restore the lost glory of the centuries-old heritage shrine- Raghunath Temple situated near Fateh Kadal in the heart of Srinagar city, reported the Hindi daily, Jagran.
The renovation work of the temple has been entrusted to the State Tourism Department. Along with the temple, the ghats of river Jhelum will also be beautified. This long-pending decision has lifted the mood of the Kashmiri Hindus in the valley who have remained devoid and oppressed for years due to adverse circumstance, created by radical Islamists, which also compelled many Hindu families to migrate from Kashmir.
Centuries-old Raghunath Temple vandalised, burnt down by Kashmiri terrorists in early 1990s
The historic temple which was one of the most revered by Hindus was vandalised and burnt down by Islamic terrorists in the early 1990s- the time when the valley witnessed mass genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of the blood-thirsty Islamic terrorists who were ready to do anything to convert Kashmir into an Islamic state.
In the early 1990s, the terrorists had initially burnt a school which was located on the premises of the temple. This had led to the Dharamshala of the temple being gutted in the fire. The Hindus were forbidden by Islamists from worshipping in the temple. However, when the devotees refused to stop visiting the temple, the entire temple premise was set on fire and destroyed.
Again in the year 2002, the temple had witnessed two terrorist attacks in the months of March and November. Islamic terrorists had hurled grenades and indulged in indiscriminate firing which resulted in the death of 20 Hindu devotees and injuring over 40 others.
Abandoned Hindu temples in the valley were turned into garbage dumping sites
From the last 30 years, the temple site remains abandoned and ignored. Police failed to nab the terrorists responsible for the attacks and also failed in tracing 23 precious idols, 40 kilograms of silver, gold and other valuables worth lakhs of rupees which was looted from the temple. Over the years the beautiful heritage site was turned into garbage dumping site like other Hindu shrines in the valley.
Raghunath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Ram is one of the most revered temples in the valley. The temple was constructed by Maharaja Gulab Singh who was the founder of the kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir and the work on the temple began in the year 1835. After his death, the work was completed by Maharaja Gulab Singh’s son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860.
The main temple’s inner wall was covered with gold sheet on the three sides of the temple. The temple also had a vast gallery which had various “lingams” as well as “saligrams” that are placed for the general public as well.