Diwali marks a historic return to Sharda Devi Temple in J&K after 75 Years

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DIWALI at Sharda Devi temple
Ma Sharda Devi Temple, J&K

In a historic event, the Mata Sharda Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district witnessed the celebration of Diwali for the first time in 75 years on Sunday (November 12). The temple, reconstructed on the Line of Control (LoC), saw the lighting of earthen lamps and the performance of prayers, marking a significant milestone since 1948.

Post the completion of Diwali rituals, jubilant crowds gathered outside the temple, joyously bursting crackers. Ravinder Pandita, Head and founder of the Save Sharda Committee, expressed happiness, stating that the festivities mirrored those from 75 years ago, following the temple’s renovation and inauguration on March 22.

Calling attention to the government, Pandita appealed for the opening of the Sharda Peeth, drawing a parallel with the Kartarpur Sahib corridor inaugurated in November 2019. He emphasized the importance of reviving the pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth, an ancient temple in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK), which holds historical and cultural significance as one of the 18 revered Shakti Peeths in South Asia.

Sharda Peeth across POJK

The Save Sharda Committee played a pivotal role in the reconstruction of the temple and a Sikh gurdwara in the same vicinity. The reconstruction aimed at restoring the centuries-old pilgrimage route to Sharda Peeth, an abandoned temple along the Neelum River that was a prominent center of learning.

“The inauguration of this Sharda Devi temple took place on March 22 after its renovation, as it had been demolished during past attacks. Before the tribal raids in 1947, a dharmshala and a Sikh gurdwara stood at the same plot, both destroyed during the raids,” Pandita explained. Teetwal, a traditional pilgrimage route to Sharda Peeth, had been discontinued since 1948 due to tribal raids and partition.

Meanwhile, Diwali was celebrated with enthusiasm in Jammu and Kashmir, with the local Hindu population and security forces participating in the festivities. Major temples in Srinagar City and across the valley were illuminated, and the iconic Clock Tower in Srinagar became a focal point for both tourists and locals to join in the celebration. The Kashmir Valley has undergone significant changes since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A from the Constitution in August 2019.

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