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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.
Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/srinagar/new-era-shah-inaugurates-temple-near-loc-in-jk/articleshow/98924460.cms
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