A Spiritual Reawakening: Sharda Devi Temple Hosts First Navratri Puja Post-Independence
A Spiritual Reawakening: Sharda Devi Temple Hosts First Navratri Puja Post-Independence

Srinagar: In a significant and historic event, Navratri Puja was conducted for the first time since India's independence at the Sharda Devi Temple near the Line of Control (LoC) in Teetwal village, located in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district. The Navratri Puja took place on the first day of Sharad Navratri, drawing pilgrims from various parts of the country, including a substantial presence of Kashmiri Pandit devotees. Among them was A.K. Raina, a renowned theatre personality who has also played a role in the "Kashmir Files" movie.

This sacred site near the LoC holds significant cultural and spiritual importance, given the temple's historical context. The Sharda Devi Temple, along with the Gurudwara in Teetwal village, was tragically destroyed by tribal invaders in 1947. However, in a testament to resilience and faith, both the temple and Gurudwara have been reconstructed on the same land, following a similar architectural pattern. These new structures were inaugurated on March 23, 2023, by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The significance of the Navratri Puja in the historic Sharda Temple was highlighted by Amit Shah, who expressed, "It is a matter of profound spiritual significance that for the first time since 1947, the Navratri pujas have been held in the historic Sharda Temple in Kashmir this year. Earlier in the year, the Chaitra Navratri Puja was observed, and now the mantras of the Shardiya Navratri Puja resound in the shrine. I was fortunate to reopen the temple on 23rd March 2023 after restoration. This not only signifies the return of peace in the valley but also marks the rekindling of our nation's spiritual and cultural flame under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji."

The ancient Sharda Temple is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas and is currently in ruins in the Neelam Valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The temple is dedicated to Maa Sharda, often regarded as an incarnation of Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. According to legend, the temple's origins date back to the time of the Pandavas during their exile. It is also believed that King Lalitaditya Muktapida, a ruler during the 8th century, later undertook the temple's renovation.

The Maa Sharda Devi Temple holds immense religious importance, particularly within the Kashmiri Pandit community. Devotees from different parts of India visit the temple to seek blessings and offer prayers to the Goddess. The temple is believed to represent the spiritual location where the fallen right hand of Goddess Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva, is said to have landed.

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