Raja Syed Rather
Ganderbal, Nov 19: Naranag, one of the ancient temple complexes demonstrating Kashmir’s rich past, needs a facelift in order to bring it on the map of pilgrim tourism. The destination can boost the economy and keep alive the tradition, culture and ancient history of Kashmir.
Naranag temple with the ancient name of Buteshwara and Jyeshtheswara in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is dedicated to Jyeshthesa or Lord Shiva and has subsidiary temples surrounding it.
According to historian Anil Raina, though the temple existed before the seventh century, King Lalitaditya Muktapida (724 CE–760 CE) of the Karkota dynasty, who was one of the most famous and powerful rulers of Kashmir, donated a large amount of money to develop these complexes and built a temple dedicated to Shiva Jyeshthesha.
Later, in the eighth century, King Avantivarman built a stone pedestal with a silver conduit at the site for the bathing of the idol of Lord Bhuteshwara. While entering the complex, there is a group of six temples of the Western side which is known as the Shiva-Jyeshthesa and is situated inside an enclosure while the main temple is still standing.
The Eastern complex is the second group of temples, also enclosed inside a massive stone wall. These six temples in this complex are completely in ruins.
Although the temple complex is now under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is surrounded by an enclosure, it needs a facelift and proper protection to bring it on the map of pilgrim tourism which will not only promote the ancient history of Kashmir but also boost the economy of the area.
A group of young people said that Naranag is one of the most beautiful places in the valley. “Tourists from all over the world visit this place but they face many problems here like network and basic facilities,” they said.
A tourist Aakash Bhatt who was present at the temple ruins said, “I had been hearing that Kashmir is a paradise on earth. Now, after visiting here, I have no doubt about that. Kashmiri people are the best in hospitality, have kind nature and are very helpful.”
Another tourist from Gujarat said he wants to explore the valley. “We are excited to see more places in Kashmir,” he said.
The locals have appealed to the administration to preserve the historical monument and take steps to promote tourism here. “This will also provide employment opportunities to hundreds of youth in the area,” they said.
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