Shawala Teja Singh: Sialkot's Hindu temple reopens after 7 decades
Members of the Hindu community had long been demanding for the temple to be opened. Therefore, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently directed Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB) Chairman Dr Amir Ahmed to facilitate the temple's reopening.
Pakistani Hindu community leader Surinder Kumar has welcomed the decision and thanked the government for supporting the Hindu community.
Made of granite and sandstone, the temple sits high on a sand dune in a congested, residential neighbourhood. Over the years, the temple has fallen prey to neglect as a result of which the intricate carvings on the thick outside pillars have long faded or been scrubbed off by drug addicts. The sacred idols of Lord Shiva in the building have also been stolen or destroyed.
The Arab News said in a report that the basic repair work on the temple is underway and a boundary wall has been constructed to mark the perimeters of the building. Doors have also been refitted near the prayer room.
Pakistani officials, on the other hand, said that complete restoration would take up to five years, for which UNESCO and the Karachi-based Aga Khan Foundation have been taken on board.
On August 5, a formal opening ceremony would be held to mark the day Hindus celebrate the snake festival of Nag Panchami. Idols of Hindu deities will be transported to the temple from other temples in Pakistan and India for the ceremony.
Earlier in July, an inauguration ceremony was carried out with several Hindu leaders present. Also, not so long ago, a gurdwara dating back 500 years in Sialkot was opened for Sikh pilgrims.
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