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Hindu Temples under Threat: Kashmiri Pandits urge Centre to protect Temples in valley

The concerns of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community seem to have been heightened by the disturbances that ensued in the valley following the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani

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A gathering of Kashmiri Pandits (1903). Image source: oldkashmirimages.blogspot.com
  • Kashmiri Pandits have urged the centre to provide security to all Hindu temples and shrines in the Kashmir valley
  • The appeal was made by a Jammu-based organisation that manages the affairs of Zeashta Devi Mandir at Zeathyar in Srinagar
  • Zeashta Devi Mandir has become a refuge for the Pandits who take shelter in the temple whenever there is unrest in the region

Srinagar, July 23, 2016: In the wake of the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir, when the curfew is continuing for the 14th day, the Kashmiri Pandits have urged the centre to provide security to Hindu temples and religious places in the Kashmir valley.

The appeal was made by a Jammu-based organisation that manages the affairs of Zeashta Devi Mandir at Zeathyar in Srinagar. “We implore the Union government to provide security cover of central security forces to all the religious places and temples across the Kashmir Valley to protect them from attacks by the undesirable and anti-national elements,” Zeashta Devi Prabandakh Committee President, Bharat Bhushan Bhat said to World Hindu News.

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Bhat added that Zeashta Devi Mandir has become a refuge for the Pandits who take shelter in the temple whenever there is unrest in the region.

Kashmiri Pandits Image Source: Wikipedia
Kashmiri Pandits. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The concerns of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community seem to have been heightened by the disturbances that ensued in the valley following the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani. Numerous incidents of vandalization and desecration of Hindu temples by Muslim miscreants have added to their woes. These include the recent attack on Mata Ragniya temple in Loktipura (Anantnag District) and Mata Trisupsundri temple Devsar (Kulgam District) in Kashmir, and an Aap Shambu Temple in Roop Nagar, Jammu.

Earlier this month, over 400 Kashmiri Pandits had also taken out a protest march condemning the BJP-PDP government for being unable to protect their shrines.

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“Government should be proactive in dealing with such incidents if it has to send a positive signal among the Kashmiri Pandit community,” Bhat told the World Hindu News.

According to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a valley-based Kashmiri Pandit organisation, 887 temples and religious places/shrines existed before 1990. 738 of them were destroyed by 1995, reported Newslaundry.com.

– by Ashee Sharma of NewsGram

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7 spectacular Hindu Temples to visit in Incredible India

Have you ever considered visiting a temple while you are struggling in life? A temple visit is enough to give you strength, calm you down and help you to reconnect with divine. Go for a temple walk. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu temples in Incredible India

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Hindu Temples
Akshardham Temple, Delhi (www.akshardham.com)
  • Hindus have more sacred sites, festivals and pilgrimages, more yogis, monks and sadhus, an older and vaster literature than any religion – Dr. David Frawley

Temples in Hinduism holds a very important place. Hindu temples are popularly known as mandiram, devaalayam or devastanam, meaning the shrine, abode or place of Ishwar. Hindu temples are at once a collective work of art, the adobe of Ishwar, a symbol of the cosmos and a path leading the worshipper into contact with the God, from the temporal to the eternal. Hindu temples are valued and respected both as a means of enabling worship in the presence of God and as a way to uphold Indian culture and dharma. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu Temples in Incredible India you will love visiting as many times as possible in your lifetime.

1. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Hinduism
Somnath, Gujarat (Image Credit : Shaurya Ritwik)

The Somnath is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Somnath Temple has been looted, destroyed and resurrected 17 times. In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple, and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb. While the barbaric looters are sleeping in their grave, Somnath still stands as a pillar of Hinduism, as a sign of resistance. Somnath is the place where you can connect with history and your source. Best time to visit Somnath : Well, any time of the year.

2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Hindu Temples
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Meenakshi Temple is known for its beautiful architecture. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malik kafur. Most of the Islamic rulers were noted for their intolerance towards Hindu temples, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple. The temple was rebuilt by the Hindu Nayaka dynasty ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar in the 16th and 17th century. According to the Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam, of the list of 68 pilgrimage places in Shaivism, four are most important: Kashi (Varanasi), Chidambaram, Tirukkalatti and Madurai. The sacrality of Madurai is from this temple.

3. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa

Hindu Temples
Jagannath Temple, Orissa (AKL)

Jagannath temple was built in the 12 th century by Raja Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. It is one of the Char Dhams of Hinduism in Incredible India and is situated on the Nilgiri Hill. The temple is known for its annual Ratha Yatra, which attracts millions of Hindu devotees every year. It is said that the divine mahaprasad of the temple is prepared under the scrutiny of goddess Lakshmi. During Rath Yatra, idol of Jagannath along with Subhadra and Balabhadra are placed in huge chariots and brought out to the street. Thousands of people pull the sacred chariot. The main chariot is around 45 feet high. These rathas are constructed new every year. It has wood-carved horses and charioteers. Rath Yatra is held every year during the month of Asadha as per Hindu calendar.

4. Kailashnath Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra

Hindu Temples
Kailashnath Temple, Ellora (Image Credits: AKL)

The Kailasha Temple or Kailashnath Temple is one of the largest rock cut ancient Hindu temples. A megalith carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. It is a prime example of extraordinary ancient Hindu architecture. Visiting this temple will definitely give you a ride to our glorious ancient past.

5. Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Hindu temples
Konark sun Temple, Orissa (Image Source : Wikimedia Commans)

Konark houses a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God in Orissa attributed to king Narsimhadeva about 1250 CE. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificient temple reflecting the genius of the architects that envisioned and built it. The ruins of this temple were excavated in late 19th century. The Konark temple is famously known for its architectural grandeur and for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance. If you are in Orissa you can not miss one of the most spell binding temple in Incredible India, Konark sun Temple.

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6. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Hindu Temples
Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand (Image Credit: Shaurya Ritwik)
Hindu Temples
Prime Minister Modi at Kedarnath (Twitter)

Kedarnath is among one of the holiest Hindu temples of Incredible India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Shankaracharya himself in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and the main temple of Panch Kedar. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. You must visit Kedarnath, one of the most important pilgrimage in hinduism to feel the beauty of nature and divinity.

7. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka

Hindu Temples
Chennakeshava Temple, Karnataka (Image Credit : Wikimedia)

The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava, Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, the erstwhile capital of Hoysala kingdom is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, Incredible India. This Hindu temple is another testament to the amazing artistry of ancient Incredible India. This place will give you sense of pride regarding what our ancestors left for us.

So, are you ready for a “Walk to Temple”? The wonderful Hindu temples Incredible India has can not be comprehended in a list, there are lakhs of them, visit them to connect with your roots, to get acquainted with Dharma which is eternal.

 

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Quitting Militancy by Kashmiri Footballer Regarded as ‘Brave’ by the Army

Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer has given up militancy to pursue academics and passion for football, leaving the Kashmirs stunned over his decision

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Kashmiri Footballer
Kashmiri Footballer quits militancy.Pixabay.

Jammu and Kashmir, November, 17: Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer whose decision to join the LeT stunned Kashmirs, has given up militancy, the Army announced on Friday, with the 20-year-old making a brief appearance at a press conference here.

Amid conflicting reports whether Majid Khan had surrendered or was caught, Major General B.S. Raju said: “The brave young man, Majid Khan, the Kashmiri footballer decided on his own to shun violence and returned to lead a normal life, pursuing his academics and passion for football.”

The Army, he said, merely facilitated his decision.

“He was neither apprehended nor did he surrender. We only facilitated his return,” Gen Raju said, providing no details about how Majid made contact with the family or the security agencies.

Majid, wearing a black Kashmiri phiran, made a brief presence before journalists. But the kashmiri footballer did not speak and was quickly escorted out of the venue by a police officer.

Gen Raju complimented his parents, especially the mother, whose persuasion he said helped the young man to change his mind.

Majid’s mother’s passionate and wailing appeal to her only son to return home went viral on social media — just like Majid’s earlier photographs showing him with an AK-47.

Gen Raju, who commands the Army’s Victor Force, which oversees all anti-military operations in southern Kashmir, urged other Kashmiri youths to also give up militancy.

“Those youths who have strayed and have committed no crime are welcome to come back and no action will be taken against them. I appeal also to those who might have committed some crime to return within the parameters of law.”

The Kashmir Valley’s police chief, Muneer Khan, said no charges would be pressed against Majid and he would be allowed to join his family.

Army sources had earlier said that Majid, a second year college student, surrendered after walking into a Rashtriya Rifles camp at Kulgam on Thursday evening. He came with his arms and ammunition.

The sources added that he was handed over to Army’s 15 Corps in Awantipora town.

There was a sense of relief among Majid’s friends and relatives when they learnt that he had crossed back — into safer hands.

Kashimiri footballer
Army appreciates Kashimiri footballer, Majid Khan’s decision to quit militancy. IANS.

“It is great to hear that he will be now serving his parents and pursuing his passion about football,” a relative who did not wish to be named told IANS.

The relative said Majid was the only son of his parents, who were shocked when they came to know that he had joined the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is active in the Kashmir Valley.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “A mother’s love prevailed. Her impassioned appeal helped in getting Majid, an aspiring kashmiri footballer, back home. Every time a youngster resorts to violence, it is his family which suffers the most.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “It is a very good development. Hope he can go back to leading a normal life and not be harassed. (IANS)

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Pakistani-origin Bollywood Singer Adnan Sami to Perform in Sri Nagar

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Adnan Sami
Adnan Sami. IANS

Srinagar, Oct 7, 2017: Pakistani-origin Bollywood singer Adnan Sami, who is half Kashmiri, is set to perform a musical gala on the banks of the Dal Lake here on Sunday

The ‘Rhythm in Paradise’ concert will take place at the sprawling lawns of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) with a select audience of around 3,000 VVIPs.

The SKICC complex has been given a facelift to provide the right ambience. A deweeding and preservation operation in the Dal Lake has been speeded up so that the dazzling lights of the concert fall on clean glistening waters.

“He will perform without charging anything for the over two-hour long concert organised jointly by the union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government,” Mehmood Shah, Director of the state Tourism Department, told IANS on Saturday.

Doordarshan will stream the concert live. The government has deployed over 100 liaison officers to ensure that the concert takes place smoothly.

A security drill was held on Saturday around the venue to ensure foolproof security.

Sami interacted with some local artists at the Taj Vivanta Hotel here on Friday evening.

Discussing his music journey and sharing experiences with the local artists, Adnan said: “Language of art is a form of communication that transcends all differences created by humans as it reaches above hate to spread a message of peace and harmony.”

On his experiences of visiting the state, Sami said the region hosted a rich culture which had art woven in its roots.

Also Read: Interview with Bhumi Pednekar: Heroines No More a Mere Tool of Glamour 

“The mysticism and Sufism found in Kashmir will continue to inspire me and influence my music so that I can produce rich melodies,” he said.

Sami tweeted on Saturday: “I really enjoyed meeting the amazing local artists. It was delightful talking with them. Felt as if we knew each other from ages. The love.”

Although he has visited the Kashmir Valley previously including for the shooting a Qawali sequence for Bollywood blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, Adnan said about his present visit: “I am in heaven on Earth. Kashmir, Srinagar, love, peace, brotherhood and music.”

Many locals have expressed disappointment about the concert being a closed affair and not open to the general public.

“We looked forward to the concert and were ready to pay for the tickets, but we are now told it is not an open concert,” said Suhail Ahmad, 23, a university student.

According to the organisers, the initial plan was for an open concert but security concerns forced it otherwise. (IANS)