Renovation and restoration of temples in Kashmir

Mahashakti Peeths are very important in India, and they have historically been centres of religious activity, with disciples visiting these sites in search of scriptures and spiritual knowledge. One such Mahashakti Peeth is that of Maa Sharda, right now in POJK, where the right hand of Mata Sati is supposed to have fallen. Devotees from the Indian side are not able to cross and worship at this important Hindu site. However, one such temple of Maa Sharda has been renovated in the village of Teetwal in Kupwara District, and the Home Minister himself inaugurated the temple. This renovation took almost a year and was made possible by the administration’s support at every level. The idol was donated by the Sringeri Math in Karnataka. Time and again, we have been highlighting the drastically improved conditions in the Kashmir valley. Residents have actively participated in Government-sponsored renovation projects to revitalize old traditions, ancient culture, and civilization. All these efforts are aimed at building trust and confidence among two communities that have lived together peacefully for hundreds of years. The administration aims to open Maa Sharda Shrine in POJK on the model of the Kartarpur Corridor in Punjab. This is of much significance given the importance of Sharda Peeth, a seat of learning for ages. This is not the only religious place being renovated in Kashmir; work is underway at several temples in Srinagar and other places in the state. The restoration of the Shri Raghunath Temple, of much significance and built-in 1835 by Maharaja Gulab Singh, on the banks of the River Jhelum in Srinagar, had been done. In all, 15 temples are undergoing renovation. The Sheetal Nath Temple was also opened to the public last year after decades. Renovations of Shri Raghunath Temple in Fateh Kadal and Safa Kadal, Shri Indernag Temple in Anantnag, and Shopian are going on. The 700-year-old Mangleshwar Bhairav Temple, which was severely damaged by floods in 2014 and is located in the heart of Srinagar, is also under restoration. Kashmir is known for Shaivism. Ganpatyar Temple in the downtown area of Srinagar has also undergone repair work. Even in recent budget allocations, special provisions for ample budgets have been made to develop various religious sites. In all, 123 places have been identified, which include many temples and sufi places. These are continuous efforts on the part of the administration, and with each passing day, mutual trust and confidence are exponentially increasing. The Home Minister’s commitment to take up the opening of Sharda Peeth is again an assurance to Kashmiri Pandits that the administration will do everything to build up trust. Trust and brotherhood have been re-established, and everyone’s combined efforts will ensure long-term peace and development. The government is doing its best, but everyone has to contribute something to make it possible.