The Archaeological Survey of India on Monday expressed concern about a religious event held inside the premises of the eighth-century Martand Sun temple in Anantnag district of Kashmir, The Indian Express reported.
The event, held on Sunday, was attended by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. He had described his visit to the temple as “divine” and had said that he was committed to protecting and developing ancient sites of culture and spiritual significance.
Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India said that no permission was taken before organising the event and said that the same has been conveyed to the lieutenant governor’s office.
“They have been sent a message that it is a violation of our rules,” an official told PTI on condition of anonymity. “No permission was sought from us for the prayers. The LG did not hold the prayers inside the temple, but outside it. However, even that is a violation.”
On the other, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said that no rules were violated during the event and said that no prior permission was required.
“As per the Ancient Monument Protection Act rules, recognised religious customs are allowed,” an unidentified senior functionary in the Jammu and Kashmir administration told NDTV.
The temple is one of the oldest sun temples in India and is categorised as a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
Sunday’s event was the second such religious ceremony to be held within the premises of the temple, which the Archaeological Survey of India has classified as a “site of national importance”, according to The Indian Express.
On Friday, over 100 Hindu pilgrims held prayers for a few hours on the premises of the temple. They sat on a stone platform within the ruins of the ancient temple and recited Hindu scriptures and religious texts, according to the newspaper. They were provided security by the district administration.
Rudranath Anhad Mahakal, who led the contingent of pilgrims, told The Indian Express that he had written to the district authorities about his plan to hold prayers at the temple, but did not receive any response.