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Creating Symbols of Hope - Hari Parbat at Faridabad

Anangpur is a small suburban village on the outskirts of Faridabad. In fact alongwith Mehrauli and Tugluqabad it constitutes the triangle of historical importance in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Tugluqabad was the Centre of Delhi during the reign of Mohd Bin Tagluq and Mehrauli is believed to be the place where the first Delhi was created. Anangpur was founded by Raja Anangpal and the famous King of Delhi Prithvi Raj Chauhan lived here. Anangpur also has the distinction of having the first school of SOS chain in India for orphan children. The creation of the school in this village has transformed the life of people living there by bringing modern education and latest health care to the doorsteps of villagers.

It is this village which is now witnessing another transformation these days. The people of the village are helping in creating a replica of Hariparbat on one of the hillocks on the boundary of the village with a temple of goddess Sharika on the top, as a token of solidarity with the displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

The entire idea of developing `Hari Parbat' at Faridabad germinated in the mind of Sh J. N. Koul, the founder chief of the SOS schools who is a household name in Anangpur. He, as the President of Kashmiri Sevak Samaj of Faridabad and All India Kashmiri Samaj, started many vocational, educational and self help schemes for displaced Pandits. Few years back he and his wife were struck with the urge of creating a temple for goddess `Sharika' on one of the hillocks adjoining the Anangpur village. They visualised transforming the hillock into a replica of Hariparbat so that the entire area is transformed into a meditational centre. He broached the idea with the village elders but a responsive cord was struck only after some villagers had strange spiritual experiences during their sleep. As per the common talk in the village some villagers saw goddess in their dreams extolling them to construct a temple on the top of the hill. These experiences inspired the villagers, who to the last person have been staunch Arya Samajists, to donate the hillock for creation of a temple for the goddess Sharika. They appealed to `Papa Ji' (Sh. J. N. Koul) to immediately start the construction of the temple. Sh Koul immediately entrusted the job to the experienced project consultant for SOS village Sh C. K. Dass.

With the voluntary help pouring from all sides of the village and elsewhere Shri C. K. Dass started the work of constructing steps to the hill top. Initially 60 steps were built from west to the east. And with the construction of these steps the entire concept of transforming the hillock into the abode of Sharika started concretising.

After a year of work now, a total of 211 steps have been built to reach the main temple at the top. The temple constructed at the top has a height of 33 feet from the top of the hill. As the construction of the `Sanctum Sanctoram' neared its completion it was felt that the initial marble deity `Sheran Wali Maa' brought from Rajasthan was relatively smaller for the size the temple had assumed. So the project team decided to instal a bigger deity. One nationaly reknowned scluptor from Orissa Mr. Maharana was assigned the task of sculpting the deity. Mr. Maharana happens to belong to the family of sculptors who built Konark Temple and is recepient of the President's Award for sculpture. He sculpted the statue of goddess in the sand stone of Orissa. And the deity was subsequently placed in the sanctum sanctorum.

The deity has remarkable features which are not traditionally seen in the north Indian statues. The flavour of the sculpture is mainly of East and South India.

With the completion of the temple the other main work of `Land Scaping' of the hillock has begun and it is just a matter of time when the entire area would be transformed into a beautiful meditation centre.

For last few years `Hari Parbat' Anangpur has become a place where `Kashmiri Pandits' in and around Delhi observe their `Nav Reh' festivals. Thousands of villagers of Anangpur, as a true mark of national integeration, join them on the day and together they rise up to hillock to pay obeisance to the deity. The creation of `Hari Parbat' is one more example of the effort of the displaced community to build symbols in exile to protect their identity.

However, significantly this effort has helped transform a village into tourist spot. `Aap Ne Is Gaaon Mein Raunak Layee' ... you have brought new light to the village-say the villagers with pride. Women folk of the village are happy in particular for two reasons. One that their `Maan Sheran Wali' has come to their door step and second that it has helped to introduce an element of religeosity amongst the village youth many of whom unfortunately are alcohol addicts. `The religious atmosphere will certainly help in improving the habits of our youth', said the village elders. Experiencing happiness after the creation of the temple the villagers have come forward to donate one more hillock to be transformed into temples of Shiva. `You have created Hari Parbat. Why don't you create a Shankara Charya Temple here'.

[Courtesy: Kashmir News Network (KNN). This excerpt appeared in the Sentinel 15-30 April 1999. Despite many requests, the updated write up did not become available. However, the photograph is a recent one, circulated on Navreh, 2002. The Holy Sri Chakreshwari has been carved in stone, in the temple dedicated to Maa Sharika. -Editor-in-Chief]
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Views expressed by authors in Vitasta Annual Number are not necessarily of Kashmir Sabha, Kolkata.


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