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Description: Stairs Towards Sharda


Pictures of Sharda Peeth


From: Sanjay Wali

Date: Wed May 4, 2005 6:53 am

Subject: SHARDA PEETH


Dear All Namaskaar ,


Sometime back I came across a person through net and we exchanged emails regarding J&K problem. As he was from POK so I requested him to get some pics of Sharda Peeth for me from POK. As he was in Canada so he promised me to get some pics as soon as he reaches his POK.


Now he has emailed me about his visit to POK (text is Below ), so please be ready to share recent Pics of our Sharda Peeth.


Warm Regards,

Sanjay Wali


Hi Sanjay


When I wrote to you 3-4 weeks ago, immediately after I set off from UK to Pakistan and then Azad Kashmir. It was a quick whistle-stop trip of 2 weeks to see some relatives and take photos. Since I had made a promise to you, I had to photograph Sharda even it was just plain land; I had to keep my promise.


Although I had heard of Sharda, I had no idea where it was. Enquiries revealed that it was in Muzaffarabd distt. but some 140km from Muzaffarabad city. Along with some friends, I travelled to Muzaffarabad and then onto Atthmuqam which is about 70km away. We stayed there overnight and then hired a jeep to Sharda travelling another 70 km on a partially metalled road.This part of the journey was the most interesting. We travelled along the Neelum Valley and along Neelum river which acts as the LOC. We could see AK settlements and Pak army on this side and JK houses and Indian army across the river. Until the recent cease-fire, visitors were not allowed in this area as there was constant firing and shelling. Now it was quiet and peaceful. Although the people are not allowed to cross the river/LOC they can now live in peace and communicate with each other using sign-language and shouting.


Anyway, we arrived in Sharda to be told that the Sharda temple was inside Pak army barracks and permission had to be obtained to see it. Apparently, the Pak army moved there a long time ago, taking over the temple complex and the surrounding area for their barracks.The upside of this was that the remains of the temple were being maintained and protected by Pak army. Anyway, we got permission to see the temple but were not allowed to take photographs due to some law (I think it was more to do with the current political climate etc). Anyway, we talked to the commanding officer and he gave us permission for photography. As you can imagine, my camera did not stop clicking for a good 10 minutes. The temple was very much in ruin but some of the walls, stairs and court yard had been saved. I did not know too much history about the place so was unable to relate places. Facing Sharda village was a snow-capped mountain range called Narda which was housed a shrine visited by people in days gone by. Also below the temple was the area which was once the university. The university dating back 2-3000 years had been a seat of learning during Budhist, Hindu and Muslim era. There is not much of it left now.I heard that the AK govt announced that Pandits would be allowed to visit Sharda sometime in the future. I also heard on the grapevine that a few Pandit folks had already submitted applications to travel to AK on the peace bus and visit Sharda.

I will try to sort out the photos and put them on the web this weekend
for you to see.

Regards.

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Date: 06.05.2005 18:07
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