Ground Report | New Delhi: Sharda Peeth in POK; The Save Sharda Committee (SSC), which is campaigning to start the pilgrimage to the Sharda Peeth temple located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), laid the foundation stone of Mata Sharda Devi temple along with a research center at Teetwal village near the LoC.
Sharda Peeth in POK
- Sharda Peeth was established in 237 BC. So, it is an ancient temple around 5000 years old and also a center of learning which was dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning.
- During the 1947–1948 Kashmir War between India and Pakistan, the site came under the control of Pashtun tribes who invaded the region. After this the control was handed over to the newly formed government of PoK.
- According to another account this temple was constructed during the rule of Kushanas in the early 1st century. While other accounts state that there was a strong involvement of Buddhists in the Sharda region, researchers found no evidence to support the claim.
- Sharda Peeth is located on the banks of the Neelum River close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), about 140 km from Muzaffarabad and 30 km from Kupwara.
- The Sharada Peeth, one of the 18 most revered temples of South Asia, was once on par with the ancient sites of learning at Nalanda and Taxila.
- Religiously and politically important, this temple is situated close to the Line of Control in Sharda village atop Harmukh mountain.
- The literal meaning of Sharda Peeth is “the seat of Goddess Sharda/Saraswati.”
- The height of the temple is 142 feet and the width is 94.6 feet. The outer walls of the temple are 6 feet wide and 11 feet long. The arches are 8 feet in height. But the structure has been damaged.
- Sharda University, one of the oldest universities of the country also stands here which is famous for its script which is Sharda and it is said that earlier it had about 5,000 scholars and the largest library of that time.
- The temple is also considered as a Shakti Peeth, built at the places where the body parts of Sati Devi were carried by her husband Lord Shiva.
- After the partition of 1947, the temple has been completely deserted. The ban on visiting the temple also discouraged the devotees.