Sharda valley of AJK on the banks of the Neelum river reflects ancient Hindu civilization and its history includes script, university, temple, Peeth that makes it a sacred place in Hinduism, so it has distinguished place in whole Neelum valley.
History of Sharda, Neelam Valley, AJK, Pakistan doesn’t complete without ‘Sharda Script’. It is a tourist hub that reflects ancient Hindu civilization.
It is one of the most beautiful and heaven-like places on earth. It is very rich in its history, ancient culture, civilization and most importantly its paradise-like scenic views.
All these factors make Sharda, Pakistan a must-visit tourist place. In this blog, you will get a brief introduction and facts about,
- Sharda Location
- Sharda Temple
- Sharda Peeth
- Sharda University
- Sharda Script or Alphabet
- Sharda in ancient Hindu Scriptures
- Sharda a Sacred Place
- The invention of Brahmi Script
- Reason(s) of Disappearing Sharda Script
It is a beautiful village of ancient Kishan Ganga Valley, Neelam Valley, a paradise region of Kupwara district, 130 km from Srinagar and 140 km from Muzaffarabad.
Sharda was in the past a great scientific, literary and cultural center and had a great place in the history of Kashmir.
The Sharda temple was in the style of ‘Shut Kon’ which symbolized the six arms (Power) of the Goddess Sharda.
This temple is situated on a mound on the banks of the river Neelum. There was a paved road and stairs from the river to the temple.
There was no idol in this temple but a simple stone pillar ‘wide plaque’ which was worshiped as the form of Sharda Devi.
The Sharda Temple in Sharda Village is located on the left bank of the Neelum River. Where the Neelum River meets the Madhumati River. From a religious point of view, this confluence of Kishan Ganga and Madhumati is a very sacred place.
Sharda, A Sacred Place:
Before the formation of Pakistan, a big festival was held here on the eighth day of the month of Bhadon. In which Hindu pilgrims from far and wide used to come and participate.
This holy place was considered as important as other holy places of Kashmir like Amarnath, Kher Bhavani, Bhadarkali, and Surya Temple.
There are various facts and traditions about when this temple was built in ancient times. Which shows that it has been here since prehistoric times.
In Sanskrit, the word Sharda is used for Goddess of knowledge Saraswati and form of Kali Mata which is Durga. Similarly, the word is also used for a special type of instrument ‘Veena’.
History books say that people from China, India, Java, Sumatra, Central Asia, and distant lands came here to learn science and art, and benefited because there was a great university or pathshala here. Which was spread over a large area around the Sharda temple, the fading traces of which are still present today.
The fame of this great seminary spread so much that the whole of Kashmir became known as Sharda Peeth. And in ancient historical documents the words Sharda Peeth, Sharda Bhoomi, and Sharda Nagri are used for this Kashmir.
Its greatness can also be gauged from the book Al-Hind by the famous Muslim Arab traveler Abu al-Rihan al-Biruni, the eleventh president. In which he writes that the most important place in India after the Surya temple of Multan is the Sharda temple of Kashmir.
Leading English researcher Sir Earl Stein writes that at a distance of one kilometer from the Sharda temple, such effects can be seen which proves this point.
In this place, the famous center of knowledge and literature will be Sharda Peeth. We can call it a university today. Sanskrit, science and literature, Sharda ‘Kashmiri’ script, Shivaism, Vedas, astrology, mathematics, and many other sciences were taught in this great university.
Similarly, the famous English Sanskrit scholar Max Muller writes that this center of learning in Sharda was very famous and popular all over India in terms of knowledge.
A large and prestigious educational institution of Gurukul traditions was established here. There was also a magnificent library in this prestigious academic institution. Which became extinct centuries ago due to the misappropriation of time.
Sharda Script or Alphabet:
Sharda script or alphabet also had the honor of being the script of Kashmir.
It was in this temple that Sanskrit scholars invented the Brahmi alphabet or script. Which later became the ‘Kashmir script or alphabet’ and still exists somewhere. This alphabet was taught exclusively at this university.
This script has been the official script of Kashmir for a thousand years. Even today, the entire past of Kashmir is preserved in this script.
The same script is inscribed on the walls of temples, in addition to numerous books, and stone shrines.
Kashmir is rich in monuments where specimens of this script can be found from Ladakh to Tibet. Not only this, its written specimens are found as far as Jammu, Gilgit, and Baltistan.
In Ladakh, Buddhists still write their sacred mantras in the same script, the Sharda script. The script was alive a century ago but now slowly disappeared.
Reason(s) of Disappearing Sharda Script:
It was completely abolished in the Dogra period as it was replaced by the official language of the Devanagari script.
During the Muslim rule, the Sharda script continued side by side with Persian, but as Hindu Pandits became more interested in Persian, it lost its appeal.