Saturday Jun 15, 2024

Sharada Peeth- Jammu and Kashmir

Address

Sharada Peeth- Sharda Main Bazar, Sharda, Jammu and Kashmir

Diety

Amman: Sharada (Saraswati)

Introduction

Sharada Peeth is a ruined temple and ancient centre of learning located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan( border). The temple is built in 6th -12th centuries CE, it was among the most prominent temple universities in the Indian subcontinent. It is situated 1,981 metres (6,499 ft) above sea level, along the Neelum River in the village of Sharda, in the valley of Mount Harmukh, believed by Kashmiri Pandits to be the abode of Shiva. Sharada Peeth – a temple of Goddess Sharada (Saraswati)– was one of the three principal shrines of J&K before the Partition.

Puranic Significance

Sharada Peeth is one of the three holiest sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits, alongside the Martand Sun Temple and the Amarnath Temple. Sharada Peeth means “the seat of Sharada”, the Kashmiri name for the goddess Saraswati. “Sharada” could be also related to the proto-Nostratic terms “sarv”, which means “flow or stream”, and daw (blow, tip or rock), because it was located at the confluence of three streams. The beginnings of Sharada Peeth are uncertain, and the question of origins difficult, because Sharada Peeth might have been both a temple and an educational institution. It was probably commissioned by Lalitaditya Muktapida (r. 724 CE–760 CE) though no definitive evidence exists in favor. Al-Biruni recorded the place for the first time, as a revered shrine housing a wooden image of Sharda. The earliest reference to Sharada Peeth as a temple comes from the Nilamata Purana (6th – 8th century CE). It describes the confluence of two “holy” streams, where Sharada Peeth is located: the Madhumati (today known as the Neelum River or Kishanganga) and the Sandili (after the saint Sandilya, who is said to have built Sharada Peeth). According to the text, bathing in it gave one visions of Chakresh (another name for the god Krishna, after his Sudarshana Chakra) and of the goddess Durga. There are two popular legends of Shardi explaining Sharada Peeth. The first holds that there were two sisters, Sharada and Narada, who ruled the world. The two mountains overlooking the valley, Shardi and Nardi, are named after them. One day, Narada saw, from her abode on the mountain, that Sharada had died, and that giants were fleeing from her body. Furious, she summoned them and ordered them to build her a tomb, which became Sharada Peeth. The second legend says that there once was a giant who loved a princess. She desired a palace, and so he began work. At the time of morning azan, he was supposed to have finished, but the roof remained incomplete and for that reason, Sharada Peeth today remains without a roof.

Century/Period/Age

6th -12th centuries CE

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Nearest Bus Station

Sharda

Nearest Railway Station

Srinagar Station

Nearest Airport

Jammu

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