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How to Reach Maa Sharda Temple, best-time, why Famous?

How to Reach Maa Sharda Temple, best-time, why Famous

The Maa Sharda Temple is located in the holy town of Maihar in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated around 85 km from Satna and 78 km from Katni. The presiding deity of this revered shrine is Goddess Sharda, an incarnation of Saraswati. This ancient temple finds mention in several Hindu scriptures and is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.

Over the centuries, the temple has attracted legions of devotees from across India. The scenic setting amidst the Vindhyachal mountain range along with its religious significance makes it a must-visit destination in MP.

History of Maa Sharda Temple?

The history of Maa Sharda Temple dates back to the Treta Yug according to Hindu mythology. It is believed that Maihar was established as a shakti peeth when Lord Ram was crossing the area on his way to Janakpur to wed Sita. At that time, Goddess Sharda appeared before him and blessed him. Pleased by her darshan, Lord Ram requested the goddess to remain there and installed her image in Maihar.

Over the centuries, Maihar emerged as an important tantric center. The original temple structure was commissioned by kings of the Kalachuri dynasty who ruled the region between 11th-13th centuries. Extensive repairs and renovation work was carried out on the old shrine during the 18th century Maratha rule. The temple saw further enlargements under different colonial administrations.

The garbha griha enshrines a beautiful brass image of Goddess Sharda holding a sword, pot, and manuscript. As per shrine records, the idol was installed in 1788 AD. However, the black stone idol worshipped earlier is said to be centuries older.

In the premises, there is also a shrine dedicated to the folk deity Batuk Bhairav who is regarded as the kotwal (guard) of Maa Sharda. An ancient well called Patal Ganga flows inside the temple complex. The surrounding gardens house various shrines of Shiva, Hanuman and other deities.

How to Reach Maa Sharda Temple, best-time, why Famous

The Legend Behind Maa Sharda Temple

According to Hindu mythology, Maa Sharda Temple is one of the 18 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Sati. It is believed that when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of Sati, her body parts fell at different spots on earth. It is said that the right hand of Sati fell at the spot where the Sharda temple stands today. Hence, the Shakti shrine came to be known as the abode of Sharda Devi, an incarnation of Saraswati.

The Architectural Grandeur of Sharda Temple

The ancient Sharda temple was built in a unique triangular form comprising 60 rooms. The entire structure was made from stones and wood. It had a main mandapa or prayer hall supported by intricately carved pillars. A massive stone staircase led pilgrims to the towering shikhara above. The walls were adorned with floral motifs and figurines of Hindu deities. The construction style reflected the splendid temple architecture of classical Kashmir.

Where is Maa Sharda Temple Located?

The Maa Sharda Temple is located in Sharda village along the Neelum river valley in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. It lies about 130 km from Muzaffarabad and close to the Line of Control. The historic temple is situated at an altitude of 1,981 meters in a remote mountainous region of the upper Himalayas.

Best Time to Visit Maa Sharda Temple

The ideal time to visit the Maa Sharda temple is between May and October when the weather is pleasant. Heavy snowfall occurs during winter, making it difficult to reach the temple. Summers are cool and spring brings blooming flowers like blue iris, adding to the beauty of the valley. Avoid the monsoon months from July-August due to risk of landslides.

How to Reach Maa Sharda Temple

The Maa Sharda temple is located about 140 km from Muzaffarabad in Kashmir. Since the shrine falls near the volatile Kashmir region, reaching there involves certain procedures. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to reach Maa Sharda temple:

By Air

The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport which is well connected to major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai etc. From Srinagar, you can hire a taxi and drive down to Maa Sharda temple. The total road distance is around 270 km and takes about 7 hours to cover. Remember to carry your passport and valid Kashmir inner line permit for crossing over smoothly into Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

By Rail

The closest railway station is Uri which is about 63 km from the temple. Daily trains run from New Delhi to Uri station. From Uri, you can take a shared taxi or bus and reach Sharda within 3 hours. This is the most convenient way to reach the temple if you are coming from North or West India.

By Road

You can also opt to travel entirely by road from major Indian cities like New Delhi (730 km), Chandigarh (450 km), Amritsar (380km) to the temple. However, the road route is longer and more time-consuming. It takes around 16 hours of drive from New Delhi to Maa Sharda temple, passing via important towns like Ambala, Jammu etc.

On entering the Kashmir region, your vehicle papers and ID proof will be thoroughly checked at multiple checkpoints. Remember to acquire the necessary inner line permit before embarking on the road journey.

Here are the different routes to reach Maa Sharda Temple along with distance, time and approximate cost:

AirSrinagar – Muzaffarabad – Sharda270 km7-8 hoursRs. 5,000
RailUri – Muzaffarabad – Sharda205 km6-7 hoursRs. 1,500
RoadSrinagar – Muzaffarabad – Sharda270 km8-9 hoursRs. 4,000
RoadNew Delhi – Srinagar – Sharda1,000 km32 hoursRs. 8,000

Why is Maa Sharda Temple Famous?

  • It is one of the highly revered Shakti Peethas as per Hindu texts
  • The temple is associated with Goddess Saraswati in her Sharda avatar
  • It was an iconic site of religious education and Sanskrit learning in ancient Kashmir
  • The impressive architectural ruins offer insights into medieval Kashmiri temple styles
  • The scenic setting amidst snow-clad Himalayan peaks attracts devotees and hikers

Distances from Maa Sharda Temple to Nearby Places

  • Muzaffarabad: 140 km
  • Srinagar: 270 km
  • Uri: 63 km
  • Rawalakot: 115 km
  • Jammu: 330 km
  • Abbottabad: 195 km
  • Lahore: 440 km
  • Islamabad: 340 km
  • Gilgit: 290 km
  • Skardu: 410 km
  • Leh: 720 km

Major Attractions Around Maa Sharda Temple

Some top attractions near the Maa Sharda temple include:

  • Neelum Valley – For scenic vistas and adventure activities like river rafting
  • Sharda Town – Explore old ruins and medieval architecture
  • Kel – Visit the majestic hill fort dating from Rajatarangini period
  • Arang Kel – Trek to this picturesque tourist spot with seven color lakes
  • Karakoram Mountains – Marvel at the breathtaking snow-clad peaks and glaciers
  • Taobat – Hike up to see the highest civilian settlement in Neelum valley
  • Kutton Jagran Valley – Spot exotic Himalayan wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot

Maa Sharda Temple Monthly Temperature

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Frequently Asked Questions about Maa Sharda Temple

Q1. What is the history of Maa Sharda temple?

A1. The Sharda temple dates back to ancient Kashmir and finds mention in various Hindu texts. As per folklore, the temple was established during the Mahabharata era when a portion of the Sanjeevani hill dropped at this spot while being carried by Lord Hanuman. Over the centuries, it emerged as an important center of Shaktism and Sharada learning.

Q2. What can you see at Maa Sharda temple today?

A2. Currently, only the ruins of the original temple structure survive. The imposing stone walls, broken shikhara, pillared mandapa hall, and parts of the main shrine can be seen belonging to the old temple complex. The sacred Sharda Devi idol is no longer housed here since the temple was demolished in the 14th century by foreign invaders.

Q3. How can you reach Maa Sharda temple?

A3. The Sharda temple is located about 140 km from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The nearest airport is Srinagar, while Uri is the closest rail head. One can reach by road from major Indian cities like New Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar etc. Permits are required to enter the Kashmir region. From Muzaffarabad, shared taxis and buses regularly ply to Sharda village.

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