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Sharda Devi Temple

Sharada Devi Temple (Pak-occupied Kashmir)


This is the only available photo of the original Goddess Sharada Devi (Saraswati) temple from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) before its destruction. This picture was taken by Mark Aurel Stein in 1893 when the temple was still intact. In ancient India, this temple cum monastery (Peetha) was famed as a great center of learning and it attracted students from all over India.

Goddess Sharada is worshiped by 1 Billion Hindus and temples built in her honor from Kashmir in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South. But her original place of residence was in Kashmir. 1 Billion Hindus chant the famous verse नमस्ते शारदे देवी काश्मीरपुरवासिनि (”Salutations to mother Sharada, she who resides in the land of Kashmir” )

The temple was first destroyed by Sikandar Butshikan (c.14th century). It was rebuilt and again destroyed. The cycle continued until it was finally bombed by the Pakistani army for good in 1948. The ruins of this great temple and university can still be found in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. But Indians are forbidden to visit this temple, and requests by Kashmiri Pandits fell to deaf ears.

The temple of the Goddess may have been destroyed, but she is still the Kuladevi (family Goddess) of millions of Hindus worldwide.