After 32 years, Kashmiri Pandits again performed special worship at Mata Sharika Devi temple on Navratri (Navreh) for the first time. There were also some people in this who had come for the first time after the exodus. Commonly known as “Parvat”, this temple is considered to be the holiest religious place of the Pandit community, located under the ‘Hari Parvat’ in the downtown area of Srinagar. Thousands of Pandits living around this temple used to start with prayer every morning in this temple.
After 32 years, Kashmiri Pandits again performed special worship for the first time in this Mata Sharika Devi temple on Navratri (Navreh). There were also some people in this who had come for the first time after the exodus. For the first time after the exodus, Dr. Ravish has come to visit this temple. He says that for the first 20 years of his life, he used to visit this temple every morning before the lights were on. He used to pray and only after that he started his daily work. Not only he but his parents also used to do the same practice, but in the nineties when terrorism flourished here, he had to leave this place. Ravish said that his parents died with the desire to go to this temple in his heart, but today he became a part of the worship here with tearful eyes. The tears flowing continuously were not allowing him to even talk. Such was the joy that words could not be found to describe it.
Ravish said “I used to come here every morning. I used to pray here every morning before the lights were on. It started when I used to come here with my parents as a child. I have no words as to why. How am I feeling. After 32 years my body has come here, my soul was here. Only my body was away from this place, this is my life, there will be happiness in Kashmir only when there is peace everywhere. He said my father And mother left this world with the hope that someday she will come here.Hope Mother Sharika bless us and everything goes well again,we need the same old brotherhood.
Before the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from Kashmir, a “fair” was held on a large scale on Navreh, as Navreh is the first day of the new year according to Hinduism. Before the exodus, Pandits living around this temple used to start their day with morning prayers at this temple and many of them also visited the “Makdhoom Sahib” Dargah adjacent to this temple. Even today it felt the same way. Not only in Kashmir but Kashmiri Pandits living outside Kashmir had also gathered here to celebrate, as they feel that the situation in the Valley has improved. Vijay Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit who came from outside Kashmir, said that we had lost hope of coming back to our homeland, but seeing this atmosphere, I felt that our community would soon return the valley.
This Navreh Milan is not only the beginning of a new year, but also the beginning of a new era. Apart from Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmir Muslims, many tourists were also present at the temple and took part in special prayers. MP Subramanian Swamy was the chief guest. The message is that no one can destroy a Hindu, the Pandits of Kashmir will be given their due.
After the worship in the temple, a colorful program was also organized at Sher Kashmir Park in Srinagar, where along with music, many Muslim leaders also gave speeches and demanded the revival of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. After the release of the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ which depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley, many activities are taking place in the valley. A local Kashmir Pandit Sandeep Mawa has given an ultimatum to the government to set up a Fact Finding Commission and several others have petitioned for a re-investigation into the 90 incidents.
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