Ancient Kulgam Shrine Reopens After 17 Years In South Kashmir
22 July 2007
The Times of India
Srinagar: Torched by militants 15 years ago, the 400-year-old Kulwagishuri temple in Kulgam town of south Kashmir was on Sunday thrown open to devotees with thousands of Hindus and Muslims attending the ceremony amid tight security. Over 2,000 Kashmir Pandits, who arrived here from several parts of the country and even the US and UK, took part in a 'maha yagya' and offered prayers at the temple which was closed since militancy forced Hindu residents to flee the Valley in 1999. 'It was after 17 years that ancient temple was thrown open to Kashmiri Pandits who thronged the shrine in large numbers,' All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) chairman Vinod Pandit said. An important Vaishnovite shrine, it suffered damage in 1992 when militants set it afire. Mata Kulwagishuri Prabandik Committee (MKPC) in coordination with APMCC undertook renovation of the temple complex, MKPC President Maheshwar Nath Zutshi said. Over 3,000 odd Muslims, including women and children, also took part in the temple reopening function and celebrated the day with their Hindu brethren. 'It has served as a platform for interaction between Muslims and Hindus,' MLA Raman Mattoo said. He said such moves will help bridge the gulf between the two communities and pave the pave for restoration of peace. Among those who took part in the function were 9 Rashtriya Rifles commander Col Rajan Mahajan, president Jammu and Kashmir migrant cell CPI (M), M L Bhat, chairman Kulgam town area committee, Ramesh Bhat, Secretary CPI (M) Aamin Dar and Councillor Gulam Rasool.