Science & Tech

Sharda Peeth

Home Minister stated that the government will press forward with plans to open Sharda Peeth along the lines of the Kartarpur corridor.

Why is this in the news?

  • Activists want the Sharda Peeth corridor to be open, similar to the Nankana Sahib Gurudwaras and the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan.

Sharda Peeth

  • Sharda Peeth is a Hindu shrine in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Neelam Valley.
  • It is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas, or main shrines, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shakti.
  • The shrine is a popular pilgrimage destination for Hindus, especially those from the Kashmir Valley.

History and Importance

  • Adi Shankaracharya, a renowned Hindu philosopher and saint, is thought to have founded the temple in the sixth century CE.
  • During the medieval period, Sharda Peeth became a significant center of learning and scholarship, attracting scholars from all over India and even as far away as Central Asia.
  • The temple was destroyed several times by invading armies and experienced significant renovations and restorations over the centuries under different rulers.
  • During the colonial era, the temple’s importance waned, and it fell into disrepair in the years following India’s partition in 1947.

Current situation and controversy

  • Sharda Peeth, which is now situated in a remote and inaccessible area of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, has become a source of political and religious contention.
  • The Indian government has long tried to create a pilgrimage corridor to Sharda Peeth for Hindu devotees, but this has been complicated by India and Pakistan’s ongoing conflict and tension over Kashmir.
  • In recent years, there have been demands for the temple to be returned to India or converted into a museum open to visitors from both sides of the border.

Importance of Kashmiri Identity

  • Sharda Peeth is an essential part of Kashmiri Hindu identity and culture, and its restoration and revival has long been a community demand.
  • Some Kashmiri Pandits regard the temple as a symbol of their lost homeland, arguing that restoring it would be a move toward reclaiming their cultural and religious heritage.
  • Others, on the other hand, warn against politicizing the temple, arguing that it should be regarded as a shared heritage of all Kashmiris, regardless of faith or political affiliation.
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