At a time when societal upheavals and great communal disturbance fill the air, Muslims of Rajouri district in Kashmir have set an example of tolerance by taking care of an ancient temple in the Rechva village of the area.
Although the local Hindu population migrated decades back, the ancient Shiv temple is looked after by the cent per cent Muslim community at Rechva. The temple is carefully maintained and children are not allowed to play in the complex to prevent any structural damage to it. Some believe the structure to be about six to eight hundred years old, but the exact number is not known, said the greaterkashmir.com reports.
“Almost every day we clean its premises and have also asked our children not to play in the temple compound. We also ensure than no animals from the village is grazed near the temple premises as it can damage its structure”, an elderly resident said.
The grand architecture of the Shiv temple suggests it is the work of experts, with its walls and doors carrying engravings of distinct sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses. The temple sits atop a ridge in the middle of Rechva village, with its roofs beautified by detailed stonework. Four pillars stand in the four directions of the monument.
According greaterkashmir.com, the temple has been protected during tensions and turmoil as the entire complex stands intact as it was years back. During festivals like Shiv Ratri, many Hindus visit the temple and perform pooja.
“Temple is a house of God and we have full respect for it. It’s our responsibility to ensure its safety”, the local residents said.
An official posted in the area said that the local Muslims “never allowed anyone to damage its property.”
On inquiring about rising violence in the region, a local resident said, “We don’t know about all that, we have kept the temple protected and we will keep doing so till our last breath.”
Although Hindus come to the temple to celebrate certain festivals, the locals have urged the Central and State governments to put the ancient temple on the tourist map so that “devotees will come and offer Pooja. It will also ensure better safeguard of the temple.”
-prepared by Maariyah Siddique, an intern at Newsgram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid