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Famous Shiva temple in J&K's Gulmarg gutted in fire

Purshotam Sharma, the temple priest said that the fire was caused due to a short circuit from an electric fault and high winds added on to it.
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 11:12 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 11:12 IST

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A massive fire broke out on Wednesday at a 109-year-old Shiva temple, situated in the tourist town of Gulmarg, 55 km from Srinagar, several publications reported.

Police assisted by locals put out the fire but could not save the temple, they said.

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah on X said, “Very sorry to hear about the fire in Gulmarg that seriously damaged the famous Shiv Mandir. I hope the administration quickly establishes the cause of the fire & reconstructs this place of great religious (and tourist) significance as soon as possible.”

The temple was tied to Kashmir's erstwhile royal family, the publication states.

The temple was built in the year 915 by Mohini Bai Sisodia, queen of Kashmir's last king Maharaja Hari Singh. The temple goes by the name Mohinishwar Shivalaya Shiv Mandir, and is also known as Maharani temple, situated on a hillock surrounded by meadows, TOI mentioned.

An official stated that Police and locals helped douse the flames, but the temple could not be saved. The official also mentioned that the cause is still left to be determined, however, Purshotam Sharma, the temple priest said that the fire was caused due to a short circuit from an electric fault and high winds added on to it. The temple priest also dismissed the rumours of arson, the publication added.

The temple dedicated to lord Shiva and goddess Parvati following the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits amid separatist militancy was maintained by a local from Dandahmuh in Baramulla district, Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, for about 23 years.

The publication further mentioned that Sheikh, who locals very fondly called him "Panditji", served on a monthly salary from Dharmarth Trust, initially as a chowkidar. He learnt the temple rituals and performed puja and aarti in the morning as well as evening in case a regular priest was absent.

Purshotam Sharma has been the appointed temple priest since Nov 2023, after Sheikh retired in the year 2021.

The temple was popular among tourists as it has featured in several Bollywood movies, including in the hit song 'Jai Jai Shiv Shankar' from Aap Ki Kasam', and was also a popular tourist attraction.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published 06 June 2024, 11:12 IST

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