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In hope to revive Sharda Peeth Yatra, Save Sharda Committee lays foundation stone of temple and research centre at LoC

Sharada Peeth named after Goddess Saraswati was one of the important universities of the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. It is regarded as one of the 18 highly revered temples across South Asia.

The Save Sharda Committee (SSC) campaigning to start the pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth temple situated in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK), laid the foundation stone of Mata Sharda Devi temple along with a research centre at Teetwal village near LoC.

Teetwal is situated in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir and the Sharda Peeth is situated barely 40 km from this village.

On December 3, a large number of people gathered here for bhumi pujan. It rekindled their hope that sooner or later Hindus will be able to visit this temple and worship the Goddess Saraswati.

Sacred water was immersed in the Kishen Ganga River on the LoC amid chanting of mantras. Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson Waqf Development Committee of Union Ministry of Minorities affairs and BJP National Executive Member, laid the foundation stone of the temple.

“We will construct a temple of the Goddess Sharda. Besides, there will be a centre for learning here for the promotion of Sharda lipi, research on Sharda Peeth, Hinduism and related subjects. This is a step towards our ultimate objective to reopen the Peeth of devotees,” SSC head Ravinder Raina Pandita informed OpIndia over the phone.

Teetwal once a base camp for onward journey to Sharda Peeth

Asked why do they select Teetwal village to construct the temple and centre of research and learning, Ravinder Raina said that from ancient times Teetwal was a traditional route of pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth and here was a base camp for onward journey to the Sharda Peeth.

He said that there were several routes to visit the temple. But Teetwal was the most important one. “Here there was once a dharmshala and gurudwara where devotees used to visit and stay for their onward journey. During land levelling, we found burnt wood logs. People said that by digging deeper the relics of dharmshala can be found. We will also construct gurudwara here,” he said.

He informed that his organisation reclaimed 0.25 acres land belonging to dharmshala and the construction will soon be started.

Yatra stopped after India-Pakistan partition

From ancient time devotees used to undertake pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth. During the Dogra rule in 1846, it became a regular feature. But after India Pakistan division when Pakistan illegally occupied Indian territory in Kashmir, India lost its territory along with an important religious place.

“Swami Nand Lal Kaul of Kupwara was the last devotee to visit the Sharda Peeth in 1947. In fact, during the partition, Swamiji is said to have carried idols from Sharda to Tikker on horses. A few of these stone idols are lying at Devibal in Baramulla besides Tikker in Kupwara,” Pandita said.

Sharda Peeth trapped in conflict zone

As Sharda Peeth was trapped in a conflict zone due to illegal Pakistani occupation, the Save Sharda Committee objected to restrictions imposed on the visit. “Nowhere in any conflict zone across the world, people were stopped from visiting mosques and churches. But we are stopped. Sharda Peeth is associated with revival of Sanatan dharma and we are fighting for our right of worship here,” said Pandita.

He said that on the lines of Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, steps should be taken for Sharda Peeth also. He informed that only in PoK there are 37 religious shrines of Hindus and Sikhs. Even the soil of Sharda Peeth was used for the rituals of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Sharda Peeth an ancient centre of learning

Sharada Peeth named after Goddess Saraswati was one of the important universities of the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. It is regarded as one of the 18 highly revered temples across South Asia.

This temple now abandoned. It is located in Sharda village in the Neelum Valley near the confluence of Kishan Ganga river and Mudhumati stream.

It is said to have been established in 273 BC much before the Takshila and Nalanda universities. It is said that the present style and form of the shrine was established by King Lalitaditya in 724 AD.

A view of the Shrada Peeth in PoK

Save Sharda Committee fought legal battle to protect ancient shrine

“We can’t see our ancient shrine turning into ruin hence we fought a battle for proper protection and restoration of this temple and we hope to get success,” Pandita said. The abandoned temple site was heavily damaged in the October 8, 2005 earthquake.

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Vijay Deo Jha
Vijay Deo Jha
Vijay Deo Jha is an Indian journalist having over over 16 years of experience of the main stream media. He remained associated with several media organization namely The Pioneer, The Telegraph, India Today. He is currently associated with OpIndia as an editor.

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