Pakistan might open up a visa-free corridor for Indian pilgrims wanting to visit the ancient Sharada Peeth temple located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and name it as the Sharada temple corridor.
Shortly after the Kartarpur corridor meetings between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani government has approved the proposal of establishing the Sharada Temple corridor for Indian pilgrims. Islamabad is yet to notify New Delhi with the new corridor proposal, but Pakistani officials confirmed on Monday that Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a “green signal” to the corridor. If and when the Sharda temple corridor opens up, it will be the second religious visa-free gateway for Indian pilgrims to shrines located in the Pakistani territory.
The ancient Hindu temple – Sharada Peeth located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir aka PoK region was constructed in 237 BC during the rule of King Ashoka and was one of the most famous temple universities during 6th and 12th century. However, the 5000 year-old Sharada Peeth dedicated to goddess learning has been abandoned since a group of Kashmiri Pandits who were permitted to visit Azad Kashmir were denied permission visit the temple in 2007. After that India had placed proposals requesting Pakistan to open the ancient temple for Indian Hindu pilgrims, and is now reportedly approved.
The temple is one of the three important holy sites for Kashmiri Pandits, with the other two being the Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag and the Amarnath temple. Considering the significance of the temple and the fact that Kashmiri Pandit organisations have been requesting to open the Peeth since many years, former Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti said that the opening of the corridor can prove to be helpful in easing tension between both nations, especially amidst the current impasse.