Part 1

mapSharada Peeth, the seat of learning, in undivided Kashmir has sharply come under focus for the past few years. Nostalgic about their cultural links and glorious traditions, Kashmiri Pandits have of late shown discernible yearning for visiting the shrine, now in Pak-Occupied Kashmir at Muzafarabad. The revered shrine has also been a symbol of rich cultural heritage, unparalleled knowledge base and the seat of learning that has influenced the scholars across the length and breadth of the country and driven them to Kashmir for being blessed with the Prasad of Learning.

Reportedly, the Sharada Temple, now in ruins, has developed cracks in the wake of devastating earthquake on 8th October, 2005. It is to be seen what steps are being taken by the administration across the border to correct the damage inflicted on the ancient and classic architectural marvel, not as revered shrine but as a heritage monument.

The Sharada Peeth (or the seat of Sharada, the goddess of learning) refers to the Sharda University built at the confluence of Kishenganga and Vitasta rivers (now called Neelam and Jhelum rivers, respectively) by King Kanishka (74 A.D - 144 A.D.). The temple located about 150 kilometers from Muzaffarabad was most likely built by King Avantivarman (855 A.D. - 883 A.D.), since the earliest images of the temple appear on coins of the Utpala Kings. Famed Persian traveler al-Biruni visited Sharda Peeth in the 11th century and noted the importance of the Sharda temple to Hindus, calling it as important important as the Somnath Temple near Veraval in Gujarat.
The Sharada Peeth (or the seat of Sharada, the goddess of learning) refers to the Sharda University built at the confluence of Kishenganga and Vitasta rivers (now called Neelam and Jhelum rivers, respectively) by King Kanishka (74 A.D – 144 A.D.). The temple located about 150 kilometers from Muzaffarabad was most likely built by King Avantivarman (855 A.D. – 883 A.D.), since the earliest images of the temple appear on coins of the Utpala Kings. Famed Persian traveler al-Biruni visited Sharda Peeth in the 11th century and noted the importance of the Sharda temple to Hindus, calling it as important important as the Somnath Temple near Veraval in Gujarat.

There has been a good word around Sharada Peeth being recreated in the spiritual ambience of Zabarwan hills in Srinagar, a replica indeed. Plans are being devised to put in place, Sharada Peeth University to disseminate learning from Kashmir.

Sharada means knowledge (Swarassti), learning, enlightenment, erudition, perfection ad dispelling of ignorance. Kashmir has been Sharada Peeth, Uttar Peeth – abode of learning, wisdom and discerning prowess. More than a thousand years ago Adi Shankaracharya came to Kashmir and near the gates of Srinagar city. He was dumbfounded and told his disciples, “Tread cautiously, the land is far away from the sea, yet it is deeper than ocean”. In the 7th Century A.D. Charka Samita (a treatise on surgery / medicine) was acknowledged worldwide. It was revised by a Kashmiri Pandit named Didh Bhal. The Charka Samiti in the preset form is corrected version of Dridha Bhala. Grammars of Gujarati, Bangali and down-south were brought to Kashmir for correction.

Even the name of Srinagar was Sri Vidhya Nagri which later on was changed to Srinagar. Madhu Raja, 74 year old theologian came to Srinagar from Maduhrai to be at the feet of great Abhinav Gupta thousand years ago and eulogized the master in his “Gurunathan Parmarasa”. Here we shall focus on Sharada Teerha- Sharada Shrine- Sharada temple.

220px-Sharda_Peeth_2Harmukh at 16,832 feet is a majestic mountain, second highest in the Valley after Kolai-Gasi Brar. There are around 37 lakhs around the mountain. Five of them namely Gangbal (300 feet deep), Nunda Kul, Andur Sar and few others drain out into Kranki Nadhi down to Nara Nag and then join the Sindhi Nala. Another cluster across the Zag barrier is Sat Saran, Gadi Sar, Krishna Sar, Veshin Sar, Prang Sar and many others. Krishen Sar and Vishen Sar are one kilometer apart down the inclirty. Krishen Sar is source of Kishen Ganga. Countless lakes meander down and mingle with melting glaciers to form Krisha Ganaga. The river tosses down to Jagtar, Telel and Dawar (Gurez). It urges past sometimes vehemently, sometimes placidly at time through gorges towards, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. There the river is called Neelam and the Valley it traverses is called Neelam Valley. It re-emerges in the Indian side at Karna, as line of demarcation between Kashmir and POK. Ancient ruins of Sardah are situated in the village Sardi on a Spur of mountains below which Krishen Ganga, Madhumati and Swarsati form confluence. The ancient Tirtha is situated at Longitude 74.15 Degree and Latitude 34.48 degrees at the right bank of Krishen Ganga which is inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Kalhana at more than two instances makes mention of this Teertha. Madhumati is the name given to the stream that joins Krishen Ganga at Sardi from the Sothern side. The ancient Temple of Sardi is prominently visible with capturing amphitheater of high peaks behind it. Krishen Ganga which before entering into Sardi, is fuming and furious but relatively placed here. albourine in 10th Century spoke of a wooden idol that would quiver, sweat and change the postures as most famous idol of Hindus as famous as image of sun god of Multan, Vispu Chakarvatin of Thaneshvara and Linga of Somnath. The deity is said of resemble a swan embellished with golden sand of Madhumati, which Bhilana says that her residence there takes mount Himalayasthe preceptor of Gouri to exalting celestial heights.

About the author
Dr Krishan Lal KallaProfessor Dr. Krishan Lal Kalla (Pandit) has to his credit several books such as “Lalla Rookh, Glorious Heritage”, “Eminent Personalities of Kashmir” among his other works. A Gold Medalist Professor Kalla was associated with University of Jammu & Kashmir and Higher Education Department of vaious Colleges of the Jammu & Kashmir State. He also did research on Indo-logical topics at Sharada Peeth Reseach Institution, Karan Nagar, Srinagar under Dr. R.K. Kaw.

Information Courtesy: Gulshan Books. From the pages of “Kashmir Heritage”

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COMMENTS

  1. ayaz rasool nazki 

    Wish the author had referred to my travelogue to sharda ,i am supposed to be the only person from this side of LOC to have visited the shrine after partition (during july 2007). A detailed paper is available in the book ‘on contribution of kashmiri pandits, ed warikoo & toshkhani, a kashmiri travelogue ”muzafarabads manz akh pachh” by me.the footage on youtube, and pictures on flicker.
    The shrine had not suffered any damage due to earthquake of 2005 and was standing fine when i last saw it.