Shankaracharya Temple, Srinagar
There has been a sinister attempt to change the history of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, the plan to Islamise the same is blatant and audacious. The unfortunate aspect is, even the agencies like Archaeological survey of India, which are controlled by the central government have been found implicit in the conspiracy.
Those who have visited the famous Shankaracharya Temple which exists for centuries on the top of Gopadri Hill in the heart of Srinagar city, very vividly remember that outside the temple, one plaque installed by the ASI used to exist which depicted in brief the history of the famous temple. The devotees visiting the holy shrine could come to know that Maharaja Gopaditya had constructed the temple and later Maharaja Lalitaditya renovated the same in the second half of first millennium. Now out of design, the said plaque has been removed from there and in its place a new plaque commissioned by the Srinagar circle of the ASI has been installed. The attempt to Islamise the history of the holy Shiv temple is glaring and outrageous.
Though, the signage installed by the ASI acknowledges the name of the hill atop where the temple exists, as Gopadri, but, in the same line it has been added that the modern name of the said hill is Takht-e-Suleiman. In the subsequent lines, the signage informs that two Persian inscriptions dated 1659 AD are found on the sidewalls aligned alongside the flight of steps leading to the temple. It further informs that the ceiling of the temple was constructed by Shahjahan in 1644 AD. The monumental change in the information provided in the earlier plaque and the new one, clearly indicates towards a conspiracy to subvert the correct history of the temple.
The historical records say that the temple was constructed by the great king of Kashmir, Gopaditya and the hill on which it is situated was named Gopadri after him. The records elaborate that during the period of construction of the temple, the Gopadri hill was surrounded by water from all the sides and boats were used to ferry the stones to the base of the hill. The vagaries of time took their toll on the old structure and later king Lalitaditya, who ruled Kashmir from 724 to 760 AD, renovated the same.
Though, Islamic invasions on Kashmir had started much earlier, maximum damage to the temples had been inflicted during the reign of Sultan Sikander, who through the annals of history became infamous as Sikander Butshikan for his obsession with breaking the idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. He ruled Kashmir from 1389 to 1413 AD, it was a reign of terror for the Hindus of Kashmir, not only they were forcibly converted to Islam, their places of worship were desecrated, looted and destroyed. The ruins of the temples of Panderathan, Martand and Avantipur, stand testimony to the bigotry of the Islamic rulers.
However, the iconoclasts preferred not to destroy the Shankaracharya Temple and instead removed the Shivling from the sanctum sanctorum. New nomenclature, Takht-e-Suleiman (Seat of Suleiman) was given to the temple by the zealots and accordingly the two millennia old name of Gopadri Parbat too was changed to Takht-e-Suleiman hill. As had been the common practice among the Islamic rulers of medieval India, some inscriptions in Persian, in order to give Islamic colour to the historical and religious places, were superimposed on the walls of the flight of the stairs of the temple.
The travails and trepidations of the Hindus at the hands of the Islamic Jihadists continued in the valley of Kashmir till the brave warrior of the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, General Joravar Singh won the territories of Kashmir and Gilgit back from the Muslim rulers. After the disintegration of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom and a brief stint of the British rule, Maharaja Gulab Singh took the entire region from the latter and the treaty of Amritsar in the year 1846 was signed. Later, the descendants of Maharaja Gulab Singh, among whom Maharaja Ranbir Singh was prominent, took initiatives to restore the old glory of the Hindu temples. During that period, Shivling was reconstructed in the old Shiv temple and since Adi Shankaracharya had visited and stayed at the said famous shrine, the name of the temple and the hill atop which it is situated, was dedicated to him.
The Islamists have been conspiring to subvert the history and the ancient culture of the Kashmir valley. It is essential that in unequivocal terms a message be delivered that the thousands of years old history will not be allowed to be shadowed by the bigots. The Archaeological Survey of India should take initiatives to install the plaques depicting correct history of the historical and religious places. Further, the entire Kashmir valley is dotted with old Hindu temples and pilgrim centres, it is incumbent upon the state as well as the central government to preserve and protect them.
With the exodus of Hindus from the Kashmir valley, there are innumerable temples which have been reported to be without caretakers; It is our paramount national duty to ensure that the governmental agencies entrusted with the task of the upkeep of the Hindu religious places, do their duties assiduously. Shankaracharya temple standing tall on the summit of Gopadri Hill in the middle of Srinagar city, is the symbol of the glorious Hindu culture of the Kashmir Valley; for millennia, it has witnessed the magnificent kingdoms of the Hindu kings flourish there; it also has seen the waves of the Islamic marauders desecrating the temples and converting the masses to Islam. Today, one billion Hindus should bear in their minds and hearts that their brethren who were expelled from the valley, should be rehabilitated in the place which belongs to their ancestors from the time immemorial and Shankaracharya temple remains the lighthouse of spirituality for their future generations as it had been for their forefathers.
Previous attempts of Islamisation
p To take divorce from the pre-Islamic tradition of Kashmir valley, Sheikh Abdullah changed the names of about 2500 villages from their original to Islamic names
p The names of holy religious places and mountains were changed
p The local Hindus came to be called the mukhbir or informers and later ensured their mass murders or exodus through terror means
p A vicious campaign against the Indian army has been continued to protect the pro-Islamic anti-national elements.