The Sharda Devi Temple, located near the Line of Control (LoC) in Teetwal village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, hosted Navratri Puja for the first time since 1947. The event took place on the first day of Sharad Navratri, attracting a considerable number of pilgrims from across the country.
Swami Govindananda Saraswati of Hampi led the celebrations, reaching Teetwal village with his followers on a Rath Yatra from Kishkinda, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman in Karnataka. The Puja also saw the presence of Kashmiri Pandit pilgrims, including A.K. Raina, a theatre personality known for his role in the movie ‘Kashmir Files.’
Amit Shah, while celebrating the Navratri Puja at the historic temple, expressed its profound spiritual significance.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The Sharda Devi Temple is an ancient shrine and one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. Situated in the Neelam Valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Maa Sharda, often regarded as an incarnation of Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. According to legend, the temple’s origins can be traced back to the period of exile of the Pandavas. King Lalitaditya Muktapida, who ruled the region during the 8th century, is believed to have undertaken the temple’s renovation.
The Maa Sharda Devi Temple holds significant religious importance for Hindus, especially within the Kashmiri Pandit community. Devotees from various parts of India visit the temple to seek blessings and offer prayers to the Goddess.