The government will make efforts to open a corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for Sharda Peeth pilgrimage on the lines of the Kartarpur corridor in Punjab.
The move will necessitate engagement with Pakistan and reopening of the Line of Control (LoC) at Teetwal in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, which has been closed indefinitely after special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped in August 2019.
The announcement was made by Home Minister Amit Shah after he virtually inaugurated the Sharda Devi temple at Teetwal in Kupwara district today.
The temple has been built on the banks of the Kishanganga river along the LoC, which divides the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Ravinder Pandita has said that Sharda Peeth should be opened for pilgrims on the pattern of Kartarpur corridor. The government of India will definitely make efforts in this direction. There are no two opinion about it,” said Mr Shah.
Cross LoC trade and the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus services have been stopped indefinitely since 2019.
Opening a corridor for pilgrimage in PoK will be the first major step to restore contact between the two sides following after Jammu and Kashmir became a Union Territory in August 2019.
The ancient Sharda temple and the centre of learning, or Sharda Peeth, is located in Neelam Valley across the LoC in PoK.
Mr Shah said the inauguration of the temple is the beginning of an era and a step towards discovery of the Sharda civilisation and the Sharda script.
“The reconstruction of Maa Sharda’s temple in Kupwara is a necessary and important step towards the discovery of Sharda civilization and promotion of Sharda script,” Mr Shah said.