Akhand (undivided) Kashmir’s cultural, religious and monumental grandeur is on display from today by the National Monument Authority (NMA) on Tilak Marg here.
The exhibition is an attempt at documenting the heritage of the Jammu and Kashmir, now a Union territory, which has been under a constant assault due to its occupation by Pakistan.
Some of the featured sites are, 5000-year-old Sharda Peeth which is an abandoned temple, Shiva temple standing in ruins in Mirpur Khas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). It was here that Alexander fought with Porus in 323 BC. A large number of Hindus lived here once, but there are none today, an official stated pointing towards a complete demographic change.
Some other prominent sites to have been kept on display underlining India’s territorial claim substantiated by existence of archaeological sites. These are Raghunath Temple, constructed by first Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1835, Red Fort ( Muzaffarabad Fort, Chal Fort), now in PoK, built by Chal rulers of Kashmir in 16th century in the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Khan of Bombay dynasty. Ramkort Fort, built by Gokkhar name Togle in 16-17th century AD and Buddha Mujassama, a stone-carved image of Buddha located in Gilgit Baltistan (PoK).
Congratulating NMA, Jitendra Singh, MoS, PMO said: “I congratulate NMA on showing how to make PoK part of India again and how to protect the monuments. Sharda Peeth is in PoK, there used to be a yearly religious yatra from Valley to Peeth which stopped after Independence. However, Kashmiri pandit samaj has kept their faith and have been trying to take up this issue with the government. Like Kartarpur, concerned ministries will also take up the issue, “said the minister.
The list of protected sites and those in PoK were also put on display.
Speaking to ANI, Union Minister for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Patel said, “There is a certain environment in the country after repealing of article 370 and people are doing their bit. The world should know how many monuments we have, be if religious, historical or of archaeological importance in PoK and at other places.”
The significance of the exhibition can be gauged from the fact that the Narendra Modi government had recently cleared the abrogation of Article 370 paving way for the state to be fully integrated into the Indian Union.
This is also an attempt to showcase the historic and cultural connection that India has with the region still under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
The available pictures of these monuments and their historic and cultural significance would be explained to the visitors to help generate awareness regarding the same, sources added.