The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday expressed concern over the visit of Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha participated in prayers at the ruins of the eighth-century Martand Sun temple at Mattan in Anantnag, a day after the visit.
Sources in ASI told NDTV that, "No permission was sought for the puja. Even though LG did not perform any puja inside the temple, but even holding puja outside is a violation and now we have raised this issue with district administration."
On Sunday, Sinha participated in a Pooja Archana at the Sun Temple and described his visit to this temple as a divine experience.
ASI, which functions under the Ministry of Culture, has conveyed that no prior permission was sought from them to conduct a religious ceremony at the complex, and asked the administration to ensure that such a violation is not repeated.
But the Jammu and Kashmir administration pointed out that permission was not required. "As per Ancient Monument Protection Act (ASI) rules recognised religious customs are allowed," a senior functionary in the Jammu and Kashmir administration told NDTV.
The Martand Sun Temple is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It dates back to the eighth century AD and was dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity in Hinduism; Surya is also known by the Sanskrit-language synonym Martand. The temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri.
Sinha said that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is home to rich and diverse religious and cultural influences and is the seat of knowledge in the country. He said that his administration is making dedicated efforts to transform historical spiritual places of Jammu and Kashmir into vibrant centers for religious pilgrims.