Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations
From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Sharda Peeth Corridor (Location, importance)
Mains level: India-Pakistan Cultural Relations
- The Pakistan government has approved a proposal to establish a corridor that will allow Hindu pilgrims from India to visit Sharda Peeth an ancient Hindu temple and cultural site in POK.
- India had already sent a proposal to Pakistan to open the temple corridor.
- The corridor when opened will be the second religious tract after Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan-controlled territory that will connect the two neighbouring nations.
Sharda Peeth Corridor
- Established in 237 BC during the reign of Ashoka, the 5,000-year-old Sharada Peeth is an abandoned temple and ancient centre of learning dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning.
- Between the 6th and 12th centuries CE, Sharada Peeth was one of the foremost temple universities of the Indian subcontinent.
- After Partition in 1947, the temple went under the control of Pakistan.
- It is about 150km from Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, and about 130km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir.
- It is also one of the three famous holy sites for Kashmiri Pandits, the other two being the Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag and the Amarnath temple.
- Kashmiri Pandit organisations have been demanding opening of the Sharda Peeth corridor for many years now.
Importance of the peeth
- The peeth is also considered a historical seat of learning, and was once at par with the ancient seats of learning at Nalanda and Takshila.
- Kashmiri Pandits consider Sharada as their “kuldevi” or principal deity.
- The Sharada Peeth is believed to be one of the foremost temple universities of the subcontinent between the 6th and 12th centuries CE.
- There are competing theories about when it was built, but it has been suggested that the temple is over 5,000-year-old.