Regarded as one of the top most centers of learning and knowledge in ancient times, Sharda Peeth that lies in the LOC territory between Pakistan and India, remains a deserted site since the partition in 1947. Indians aren’t allowed to enter the premises since the area is controlled by our neighbouring country.
Situated about 150kms from Muzzafarabad in Pakistan and around 130kms from Srinagar in India, this Hindu temple is one of the three important pilgrimage points for Kashmiri Pandits, the other two being Martand Sun Temple and Amarnath Temple.
There is no shrine at this site, but only rock pillars that have seemed to survive over time; though it is said that there was once a Shivling in the compound. The legend says that when Shiva was carrying his dead wife Sati Devi’s body across Aryrvartha (abode of aryas), parts of her body fell, creating ‘shaktis peethas’ or divine spots everywhere. It is said that her right hand fell in the village of Sharda in Azad Kashmir and became one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peeths for the pundits. Then again, there are tons of other stories that will make us deep dive into the realms of Hindu mythology. The word Sharda in Kashmiri means Sarwasti, who is the Goddess of Knowledge.
This 5000 years old temple also stands where the famous Sharada University was built, which is now completely ruined. Thousands of scholars taught here, and it is believed that it had one of the biggest libraries to ever exist.
In March 2019, the Pakistan government passed the proposal of creating a corridor for Kashmiri pilgrims to be able to visit this temple. Soon, the temple that has been empty for a while now will welcome devotees again.