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Pahalgam (Jammu and Kashmir): Situated on the banks of the icy Lidder river, a 900-year-old Shiva temple is perhaps the only major Hindu shrine in the Kashmir valley which has Muslim priests.
After the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from a nearby village, two priests — Mohmmad Abdullah and Ghulam Hassan — kept the doors of the Mamalaka temple open and bells continued to toll.
“We not only took care of the temple but also held ‘aartis’ everyday,” Hassan told aPTI correspondent here.
Besides ensuring the safety of the 3-feet-long black stone “shivaling,” the priests have ensured that no devotee goes without ‘prasad.’
Built by Raja Jai Suria, the temple was once a stopover for pilgrims going to the Amarnath cave. The temple was for long run by a local association headed by Pandit Radha Krishen. After his migration from Kashmir in 1989, the temple became a property of the State archaeology, archives and museum department and a protected monument. Pandit Krishen gave the charge of the temple to his friend Abdul Bhat, a Muslim, and asked him to keep the gates of the temple open. Mr. Bhat took care of the temple till his transfer from the area in 2004. After that, Mr. Abdullah and Mr. Hassan were entrusted with the task of maintaining the temple. — PTI
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