In the Teetwal village located in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, Diwali was observed for the first time in 75 years at the Mata Sharda Devi temple on Sunday, the event organiser claimed.
During this event, prayers were conducted in the temple, which has been recently rebuilt in the area along the Line of Control (LoC).
Ravinder Pandita, the founder and head of the Save Sharda Committee, remarked that this is happening for the first time in 75 years
"It's a matter of happiness that Diwali is being celebrated in the same way as it used to be before 75 years. The inauguration of this temple was done on 22 March after its renovation," Pandita said while speaking to news agency ANI.
He also made an appeal to the government for the opening of the Sharda Peeth – "the seat of Sharada," similar to the opening of Kartarpur Sahib.
"This is our request to the government that Sharda Peeth gets open like Kartarpur Sahib," he said.
Following the Diwali rituals, attendees congregated outside the temple to set off firecrackers.
The historic temple and its complex were reconstructed to rejuvenate the age-old pilgrimage to the Sharda Peeth temple in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Sharda Peeth, an abandoned temple situated in Sharda village along the Neelum River, was once a prominent learning centre. It is regarded among the 18 highly sacred temples in the Indian subcontinent.
The Save Sharda Committee spearheaded the restoration of both the temple and a Sikh gurdwara after their reclamation.
The temple was inaugurated on 22 March 22 this year, Pandita said.
"The inauguration of this temple was done on 22 March after its renovation as it was demolished during the attacks in the past. Prior to the tribal raids in 1947, a dharmshala and a Sikh gurdwara used to exist in the same plot that was burnt down in the raids," Pandita said.
Teetwal was a traditional route of pilgrimage to Sharda Peeth which was last stopped in 1948 after the tribal raids and partition.
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