SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, May 16, 2010: A number of Kashmir Pandits offered rituals at the historic Vicharnag temple, when it reopened after a 20 year hiatus. Located in the district’s Soura city, once famous for being center of discourse and learning for Muslims and Hindus, the Vicharnag temple had closed in the 1990 when the Kashmiri Pandits migrated from the Kashmir valley following ethnic turbulence. “Every year, during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navaratri, a grand fair used to take place. Hundreds of devotees of all age groups used to converge here but the area has remained deserted for the last 22 years. Now it has been reopened and people have started coming,” said Avtar Kishan Koul, a devotee.
The All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee in the state started the drive two years ago to open all Hindu temples and shrines in the Valley to restore their glory. “I feel very happy to meet the Hindus from Kashmir. They are our guests. Twenty-thirty years ago, we used to eat from the same platter, and help each other during weddings,” said Abdul Samadh, a Muslim.