Gulmarg’s 106-year-old Shiva temple gutted by fire

| Updated: 05 June, 2024 12:32 pm IST

SRINAGAR: A renowned 20th-century Shiva temple in Gulmarg, located in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and deeply intertwined with the valley’s history and Bollywood, was devastated by a massive fire on Wednesday.

Fire and Emergency Services officials reported that the blaze started around 3:50 am, causing extensive damage to the historic structure.

Perched atop a hillock, the Rani Temple, also known as Mohineshwar Shivalaya, gained fame from the Bollywood hit song “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” featuring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz in the 1974 film “Aap Ki Kasam.”

Several fire tenders from nearby stations were dispatched to extinguish the flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.

The Maharani Temple was constructed by Mohini Bai Sisodhia, wife of Maharaja Hari Singh, in 1915.

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In 2021, the Indian Army collaborated with local residents to renovate the 106-year-old Shiva temple in Gulmarg. Beyond the restoration of the structure, the Army also redesigned the pathways leading to the temple. It was revived and reopened to the public in 2021. Seizing the opportunity to contribute to Kashmir’s diverse heritage, the Army undertook this restoration at the request of its devotees.

The temple’s Muslim caretaker, Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, told The New Indian that the community in Gulmarg must continue the maintenance and service of the temple. He expressed his sadness, “Unfortunately, this temple was reduced to ashes in the early hours of Wednesday morning. We hope it will be restored to its former glory and that the investigation sheds light on the cause of this devastating fire.”

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