Kashmir Indepth
Kashmir

8th century Naranag temples crave for attention

Raouf Dar

Srinagar Sep 24 (KINS): Over 1400 centuries old monuments, the stone temples at the Naranag in Ganderbal district are in shambles and have miserably failed to attract the tourists allegedly due to indifference by the authorities.

In a small hamlet, which is known for its lush green meadows, snow capped mountains, this area has its own historical and religious importance. The Naranag is around 60-kilometres away from the Srinagar city.

Historians believe that stone temples at the Naranag were dedicated to Lord Shiva by the 8th century ruler Lalithdatiya Muktadiya.

The site consists of a cluster of temples facing each other at 100-meters.  Its architecture reveals the art of the 8th century. It is now left in ruins, despite the Archeological Survey of India has declared these monuments to be of national importance under the ancient monuments and archeological sites and reins Act 1958.

The Naranag also houses various streams and the locals collect the water from it for drinking purposes.

Locals blame the tourism department for its failure to attract tourists to this heritage site. They articulate that tourists are not informed about this place and kept away from it.

Noted for its scenic meadows, lakes and mountains, Naranag is a base camp for trekking to the Mount Haramukh and Gangabal Lake. The village lies at the left bank of the Wangath river, which is a tributary of the Nallah Sindh.

These ancient monuments are in ruins and it seems the authorities have forgotten to preserve these historical monuments, which have own religious importance.

“Despite these temples being  the 8th century old, very few Hindus are  paying a visit to these temples. It is unfortunate the government is making no efforts to preserve these historical monuments for our future generations. The Naranag temple would have been the main attraction for the tourists as it is one of the important archaeological sites of the country,” Abdul Aziz, a resident of Naranag Kangan told news agency KINS.

Locals believe that promotion of this place would attract tourists and would generate employment opportunities for the youth of the area.

“If tourists start coming to this place, hundreds of people will be self-employed. Authorities have many times made tall claims that Naranag will be developed as a major tourist destination, but till date these tall claims have remained only a word of mouth,” said a group of people residing near this place.

The way of life of the Naranag populace is very simple but very tough. The locals wake up before the sun rises and go to fetch some firewood in forests with several hours walk.

 

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