Give the right to worship Shivpindi in Gharapuri cave near Mumbai!

Demand of Hindu organizations to the central government by performing symbolic pooja after the agitation

The ‘Gharapuri Caves’ (Elephant Caves) stand as the ancient abode of Lord Shiva on Gharapuri Island near Mumbai, acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a fervent bid to secure the right for Hindus to worship at Gharapuria site of cultural and religious significance Hindu organizations spearheaded a mass movement, calling upon the central government. The Swatantryaveer Savarkar National Memorial, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, and ‘Sudarshan Vahini’ orchestrated a symbolic puja at the Shivpindi in Gharapuri. Leading this collective effort were Shri. Ranjit Savarkar, the working president of Swatantryaveer Savarkar National Memorial, Shri. Ramesh Shinde, National Spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, and Shri. Suresh Chavanke, Chief Editor of Sudarshan Channel. Notable attendees included Shri. Baliram Thakur, Upasarpanch of Gharapuri Gram Panchayat, and representatives from various Hindu organizations.

From the ‘Gateway of India’ in Mumbai, devotees, brandishing saffron flags and chanting ‘Har Har Mahadev,’ ‘Jai Shri Ram,’ and ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai,’ embarked on a march towards Gharapuri Caves. The Shivpindi at this sacred site was sanctified with Ganga water, adorned with flowers, and subjected to a collective aarti. Hindus gathered here to recite Shiv Stotra, echoing ‘Har Har Mahadev.’


Background: The Gharapuri Caves, believed to date back to the 6th-8th century, stand as a testament to Indian sculpture excellence. Comprising of five caves with intricate carvings, these caves were subjected to vandalism during the Portuguese period and gunfire during the British era, resulting in significant damage to the sculptures. Currently under the jurisdiction of the Central Archaeology Department, the worship of Shivpindi at this site is presently restricted.

Not granting the right to worship at a Hindu religious place is an injustice to Hindus! – Shri. Ramesh Shinde

Shri. Ramesh Shinde, the National Spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, emphasized that denying the right to worship at a religious site is an injustice to Hindus. He referred to a report from the Central Parliamentary Committee, indicating that worship has been permitted at religious places under the Department of Archaeology. Shri. Shinde argued that if the Central Archaeology Department grants permission for worship at religious sites within its jurisdiction, there should be no obstacle in extending the same privilege to the states. He highlighted the current restriction on Hindus to worship at the Konark Sun Temple in Jagannathpuri as an example of this issue.

If Hindus respect their culture, others will too! – Shri. Ranjit Savarkar

Shri. Ranjit Savarkar encourages people to take pride in their cultural heritage, citing the Gharapuri caves as an integral part of it. While acknowledging that perspectives on these caves may differ – some considering them shrines and others places of worship – Savarkar emphasizes their significance, as they were constructed by ancestors. He draws an analogy, stating that just as it would be inappropriate for someone to enter a home or temple with shoes on, Hindus wearing shoes in a temple goes against their cultural norms even if it is allowed in a church. Savarkar concludes saying that if we uphold and respect our culture, others will also follow suit.

Hindus should have the right to worship at all religious sites under the jurisdiction of the Archaeology Department! – Shri. Suresh Chavanke

Shri Suresh Chavanke points out that while temples under the Archaeology Department’s control do not allow worship, mosques in the same jurisdiction permit prayers. Additionally, Hindu places of worship often permit the wearing of footwear. Shri. Chavanke demands that Hindu religious places under the Archaeology Department should be allowed to resume worship, and he advocates for the prohibition of footwear within these premises.

Highlighting the specific case of the Gharapuri Caves, revered as the abode of Shiva, Shri. Chavanke reveals an existing request to the Archaeology Department of India to keep Gharapuri Cave open on Mondays. The Deputy Sarpanch of Gharapuri, Baliram Thakur, further states that they have urged the government to allow puja in the Shiva temple at Gharapuri.

 

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