Sharada Thirtha

Often, Indian Hindus and Sikhs make demands to Pakistani authorities to give them permission to visit their holy places located in Pakistan. These visits allow the visitors to worship in those places and also see for themselves how temples and gurudwaras are maintained in the Islamic state.

One such holy place, the Sharada temple, according to Subhash Kak, is the most famous and sacred of all Kashmiri pilgrimage centers. It is located in Neelam valley in Pakistan occupied Kashmir near the Line Of Control. According to Al-Biruni Sharada was as important as Somnath, Multan and Thaneshvar.

The native script for Kashmiri is also called Sharada and was derived from Brahmi. The earliest records in Sharada have been dated to 800 A.D and was found all over northwest India. Also, Gurmukhi, the Punjabi script was based on Sharada script. None of the history books, even ones by eminent historians[3] do not mention this script or temple.

A mention of the Sharada temple is present in the second volume of Rajatarangini, translated by M.A.Stein.

In the centre of the quadrangle is the temple raised on a basement of 24 feet square and 5 feet 3 inches high. The entrance to this inner temple is from the west side and is approached by stairs five and a half feet wide with flanking side walls. The interior of the inner temple is a square of 12 feet and 3 inches and it has no decoration of any kind. The only conspicous object inside is a large slab which measures about 6 by 7 feet with a thickness of about half a foot. This slab is believed to cover a kunda, or spring, in which goddess Sharada appeared to the sage Shandilya. This kund is the object of the special veneration of the pilgrims.[Sharadha Tirtha]

Recently someone traveled to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and sent a detailed report on the journey as well as the state of the temple.

Anyway, we arrived in Sharda to be told that the Sharda temple was inside Pak army barracks and permission had to be obtained to see it. Apparently, the Pak army moved there a long time ago, taking over the temple complex and the surrounding area for their barracks.The upside of this was that the remains of the temple were being maintained and protected by Pak army. Anyway, we got permission to see the temple but were not allowed to take photographs due to some law. (I think it was more to do with the current political climate etc). Anyway, we talked to the commanding officer and he gave us permission for photography.[Pictures of Sharda Peeth (has 22 pictures) via IndiaArchaeology]

Looking at the pictures, you can see for yourself how well the Pakistani Army has maintained the temple. Well, atleast they did not blow it up like what the Taliban did to the Bamiyan Buddhas.

Footnotes:
[1] After looking around I could not find who built the temple or what era it was built. If you have any information/links, please let me know.

2 Comments

  1. They may not have blown it apart but all that is left of the temple is ruins really.
    A shame but atleast they have not erased all signs of it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *