On March 22, 2023, the Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah virtually inaugurated the Mata Sharda Devi Temple (Sharda Peeth) near the Line of Control (LOC) between India & Pakistan in the Karnah tehsil (Kupwara) of Jammu and Kashmir on the Indian side. He described it to be an attempt to take the Union Territory back to its old traditions and culture, and described the opening of the Temple as the beginning of a new dawn in the quest for reviving the Sharda Culture. Sharada Peeth was one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas in the Subcontinent. It is believed that the Right hand of Goddess Sati fell on this spot, while she was being carried by Lord Shiva. Right from the Vedic Era, to about the 7th century, this temple or monastery (Peeth) was famed as a great Centre of Learning, a hub of knowledge which attracted students from all over the world, including Greece, Mesopotamia, and Central Asia, Tibet, and China. It housed more than 5000 scholars and housed the biggest library of those times. It evolved its own scripts, called Sharda Script and Nagari Script. While the Sharda Script was the script used by the Brahmin scholars to write in Sanskrit for a long time till Hindi took over, the Nagari Script influenced the Tibetan script. Post 1947 In 1947, taking advantage of the confusion over Kashmir’s accession, Pak Army Regulars and Pashtun tribals invaded Kashmir. Sharda Peeth, situated on the banks of Kishanganga river, fell into Pakistani hands and became an abandoned structure. The Kashmir earthquake of 2005 led to further destruction of the Shrine. Government of Pakistan so far has shown no inclination to undertake maintenance and restoration activities at the ruined site. Given its proximity to the LOC, Pakistani government has been unwilling to allow Indian Pilgrims and Scholars to visit the site. New Developments In the backdrop of this development, it is essential to understand the situation in Kashmir post-abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution. Union home Minister, Amit Shah, who inaugurated the event made it known that, on the insistence of the local Muslims the temple and gurdwara were constructed. According to him, the locals pointed towards a piece of land which was in the name of temple and dharmshala, with a request to construct these religious places in Teetwal. This magnanimity on the part of the local Muslim community speaks volumes about the goodwill created by the government between Hindus & Muslims in Kashmir. Not only this, but even the composition of the Save Sharada Committee constituted for the temple construction, out of the 5 local members, 3 are from the Muslim community, 1 from the Kashmiri Hindu community & 1 from the Sikh community, which underlines the initiative & interest taken by the local Muslim community in restoring the Temple. This also corroborates the government’s claim about improvement in the situation in Kashmir & increasing harmony between the Hindus & Muslims. It is heartening that, taking cognizance of the request from the Ravinder Pandita of the Save Sharda Committee Kashmir, the Indian Government has reportedly promised to make efforts to open a corridor in the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) for the Sharda Peeth pilgrimage. The move obviously will necessitate engagement with Government of Pakistan and reopening of the Line of Control (LoC) at Teetwal in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, which has been closed indefinitely after the abrogation of Article 370. The announcement was made by Home Minister Amit Shah after he virtually inaugurated the Sharda Devi Temple at Teetwal in Kupwara district on the Indian side on 22nd of March, 2023. Locals are happy about the development because this will also open the gates of tourism in Karnah Valley and attracts the tourists from far off the country and will help in employment generation for locals. According to sources around 4000 tourist have paid the visit to Karnah Valley from last summers to till now. Hopefully this number will increase drastically this year as Sharda Peeth is open for worshippers. It should also be noted that Karnah Valley have a huge potential to attract tourism, be it lofty mountain peaks, the landscapes, the distinct culture and the local ethos. Shardha Peeth is a new ray of hope for the peace and development.