A picturesque ancient Shiva Temple with snow capped mountains in the background in Gulmarg, Kashmir has been recently renovated by the Indian Army and is now open for devotees. As per an India TV report, this temple is said to have been constructed by Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia, wife of Maharaja Hari Singh in 1915.

The temple used to be thronged with devotees and was also featured in the famous Bollywood song, ‘Jai, Jai Shiv Shankar’ from 1974 movie Aap Ki Kasam featuring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz. But for the past 30 years since the Islamist jihadi terrorism forced out Kashmiri Hindus from the valley, the famous temple was in ruins.

An Army battalion at Gulmarg reportedly with the help of some locals repaired the crumbling Shiva temple at Gulmarg. The pathway and the landscape leading to the temple was also rebuilt and redesigned.

This will give a boost to religious tourism in Kashmir, with many Hindu devotees wanting to visit the ancient temple. The Indian government is dealing on both fronts by tackling Pakistan sponsored and home grown Islamist terrorism and also trying to build a conducive atmosphere for the return of Kashmiri Hindus to the valley.

The central government is facing challenges from Islamist political parties of Kashmir and also Islamist appeasing national parties like Congress, Left etc. who are trying their best to not allow abatement of jihadi fundamentalism and return of normalcy in the Kashmir Valley. Renovation of the Shiva temple at Gulmarg is one positive step in the path to make Kashmir a multi religious and multi-cultural place rather than an exclusive Islamic territory within a secular India.

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