Handwara youth wants Bhadrakali temple development, return of Kashmiri Pandits

A youth leader from north Kashmir’s Handwara has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, asking for the development of the Mata Bhadrakali temple, expansion of spiritual tourism in the Union territory and the return of Kashmiri Pandits.

In a letter by Mudasir Tantray, a youth leader from Handwara, asks for better infrastructure in Handwara, which is home to the Mata Bhadrakali temple, one of the oldest Hindu shrines in J&K. However, the letter states that due to lack of infrastructure and other facilities, devotees are reluctant to pay homage.

Tantray has urged the government to explore the Bhadrakali shrine area like the Amarnath Yatra so that Handwara becomes a part of the spiritual tourism map of the country, which in turn will boost the area’s economy, development and generate employment for the benefit of the unemployed youth who are the biggest sufferers of the insurgency.

He said, “With the onset of Bhadrakali temple as a spiritual tourist destination, the nearby Bungus Valley can be developed holistically as an international tourist destination, thereby bringing the entire north Kashmir on the development map.”

In another letter addressed to Prime Minister Modi, Tantray wrote, “It is our earnest request that the Mata Bhadrakali Temple be developed at the earliest and its lost glory be restored without any further delay. Mata Bhadrakali Temple is witness to the brotherhood between different communities. ‘Mother Kashmir’ is incomplete without her children whose exodus has left her shattered, and the spiritual call from the temple of the ‘Mata’ must not go unheard. The return of Kashmiri Pandits with dignity should be facilitated as early as possible.”

“The Bungus Valley is famous all over the world for its unmatched and serene beauty but there are zero facilities for tourists and trekkers. The place has vast tourist attractions. Numerous historical, cultural, tribal and global memories attached with this majestic place have become the talk in every nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir,” Tantray added.

He also urged the Prime Minister and L-G Sinha to kickstart Pattan’s infrastructure development at the earliest.

Pattan (Shankarpora Pattan) is a historical town in Jammu & Kashmir. Once the capital of J&K, it is now the most neglected place in the valley even though it is famous for two majestic Shiva temples (locally known as Pandaw Mandir) built during the reign of Sankaravarman (833-900 AD).

Tantray told IANS, “I request L-G Sinha to intervene and make Handwara’s infrastructure world famous. Mata Bhadrakali’s shrine is an example of our love and historical bond with our Kashmiri Pandit brethren, but due to a lack of infrastructure, Hindus don’t visit the shrine much. We want our Pandit brothers and sisters to come back, we are doing everything we can and without them, Kashmir will always be imperfect and incomplete.”