An idol of Lord Vishnu has been unearthed in an excavation from Simthan in Bijbehara in Anantnag. Bijbehara is the birthplace and ancestral town of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The idol is believed to be from 2000 BC. It is currently in possession of State Archaeology, Archives and Museums Department.
The idol was found by locals who were digging in the area a few days ago. They then handed over the idol to the police, which then handed it to the archaeology department.
The Vishnu sculpture has a broken arm. It is adorned with rosary, long ear lobes and decorated crown.
Authorities say that the sculpture is similar to the Verinag sculptures.
Verinag is a place in Anantnag district from where many sculptures of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi have been found. The sculptures follow a similar style. Though Verinag is known for the spring built by Mughal emperor Jehangir, its historic association with previous Hindu rulers of Kashmir can be validated from the sculptures.
Authorities say that Simthan was also once the location of an ancient university called Vijeshwar. This is not the first idol discovered from Simthan. Previously, idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya have been found among 8 or 10 sculptures.
Simthan and Verinag are two of the most prominent archaeological sites which reflect on the rich Hindu past of Kashmir Valley.
What is intriguing, however, is the dating of the sculpture. If the sculpture is indeed from 2000 BC or before, it strengthens the fact that Hinduism has been in Kashmir for around 5000 years.
This image of Narsimha is from a sixth-century collection. The idol was discovered in Baramulla.
Many Shiva lingams too have been found in Kashmir’s Baramulla area proving that Kashmir enjoyed a rich Hindu period before the advent of Islam, and had many great temples before most of them were destroyed by the tyrant iconoclast Islamist ruler Sikandar Shah Miri or Sikandar Butshikan.