The Save Sharda Committee (SSC) laid the foundation stone to rebuild Mata Sharda Devi near the Line of Control (LoC) in Teetwal.
According to the committee, the old temple and its center in Kupwara district in northern Kashmir will be rebuilt to revive a centuries-old pilgrimage to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) Sharda Peeth temple.
Sharda Peeth, an abandoned temple along the Neelum River in the village of Sharda, was once an important center of learning. It is one of the 18 most sacred temples in South Asia.
“After reclaiming the land from the ancient Dharmshala which existed between 1947 and 1948, a ceremony to lay the foundations of the temple and the base camp center of Sharda Yatra [annual Sharda yatra to Sharda Peeth up to 1948 called Charri Mubarak], at LoC Teetwal took place today, “SSC Director Ravinder Raina Pandita said on Friday.
The program was organized by SSC and the people of Teetwal, near the Line of Control (LoC) on the old yatra road. This event attracted around 200 residents of different faiths, Ravinder Raina Pandita said.
“Sacred water” was submerged in the Kishenganga River on the LoC White Line Bridge, shared by the Indian and Pakistani armies, he added.
Darakhshan Andrabi, chairman of the Waqf Development Committee of the Union Minority Affairs Ministry and a member of the BJP’s national executive, laid the foundation stone for the temple.
She stressed the importance of reviving and exploring the Sharda civilization.
Andrabi demanded that the government establish a Sharda Center and a Sharda University.
“It is a historic site which has been recovered thanks to the efforts of the Save Sharda committee,” she said.
The SSC has also demanded that inter-LoC heritage and religious tourism begin in earnest.
LoC Teetwal was a traditional pilgrimage route to Sharda Peeth which was cut off by tribal raids and partition in 1948. There has not been a yatra since the raids.
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