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Jammu and Kashmir: ASI objects to Hindu Pooja at Martand Sun Temple, had previously allowed Bollywood film shooting at the temple

The pooja was performed on the occasion of the Shankaracharya Jayanti, which was celebrated for the first time at the Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag

On Monday, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) expressed displeasure over a religious ‘pooja’ conducted at the premises of the Martand Sun temple in Anantnag. The ‘Navgrah Ashtamangalam pooja’ at the ancient temple was attended by Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Hindu seers. The ASI said that the Martand Sun Temple is one of the ASI-protected sites and as per the norms, no religious prayers can be held at such sites.

“We have raised our concerns with the district administration. They have been sent a message that it is a violation of our rules. No permission was sought from us for the prayers. The LG did not hold the prayers inside the temple, but outside it. However, even that is a violation”, the ASI official was quoted as saying.

However, the state government denied the allegations of violation by the ASI and made it clear that no permission was required for the Lt Governor to conduct ‘pooja’ at the Martand Sun temple, a monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Deputy Commissioner Dr. Piyush Singhla said that the function was allowed under Rule 7(2) of the 1959 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, which states that ‘nothing in sub-rule (1) shall apply to any meeting, reception, party, conference or entertainment, which is held in pursuance of a recognized religious usage or custom’.

On May 6, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha attended the Navgrah Ashtamangalam Pooja and said that it was a divine experience in a godly ambiance. “Government is committed to protecting and developing ancient sites of cultural & religious significance, transforming them into vibrant centers that will guide us on the path of righteousness and blesses this beautiful land with peace, happiness, and prosperity”, he had tweeted.

The pooja was performed on the occasion of the Shankaracharya Jayanti, which was celebrated for the first time at the Sun Temple Martand in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag.

ASI had allowed shooting of the film ‘Haider’ at the temple

While ASI has said that religious prayers can’t be held at the ASI-protected site, they had previously allowed the shooting of the Bollywood film Haider at the temple. The song ‘Bismil’ from the movie starring Shahid Kapoor was shot at the temple, which had caused an outrage from the Kashmiri Hindus.

Martand Sun Temple

The temple is said to have been built in the 8th century, but attempts were made to destroy it several times between 1389 and 1413. It is believed that Hindu ruler Lalitaditya had built the Martand Surya Temple in honor of the Sun God or Bhaskar in the 8th century AD. Lalitaditya was a Surya (Sun) Dynasty Kshatriya. The temple’s style of construction and the expertise displayed in it was unprecedented in world history. The Vastu science of architecture has been employed, and the building is designed so that the Sun’s rays fall on the Surya idol throughout the day.

Though the cities, towns, and ruins of Lalitaditya’s era are not easily located, the remnants of the large Martand temple, which the emperor had built at the pilgrimage site of the same name, are an example of the expertise of the Kashmiri Hindu builders of ancient times.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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