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Foreign tourists banned from JK's 'Jesus' shrine

April 02, 2010 18:31 IST

Authorities at the Rozabal shrine in Jammu and Kashmir's Khanyar district have banned foreigners from visiting the shrine after a sudden flurry of interest in the medieval tomb.

The surge is being linked to rumours that Jesus Christ survived the Crucifixion and traveled later to Jammu and Kashmir, and his remains were still there in the Rozabal shrine.
However, Mohammed Amin Ringshawl, the manager in charge of the shrine, said that local people resented the sudden rush at a place where they pray.

"It is the work of people associated with the tourist trade. They are misleading visitors and making them believe that Jesus was buried here," Timesonline quoted Ringshawl as saying.

"Locals ask why Westerners visit this shrine and not other shrines in Kashmir. To avoid any trouble, we decided to shut the shrine for Westerners, who were offending locals' sentiments," he added.

The idea that Jesus visited Jammu and Kashmir and died there first arose in the mid-19th century, when European scholars sought to explain similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, the report said.

The story gained popularity with the publication of a book called 'Christ in Kashmir' by Aziz Abdul Kashmiri in 1968, the report added.

"Kashmiri history books tell us that Yus Asaf came from abroad. He came from Israel. He came to spread his teachings. He lived and died here. Yus Asaf was Issa. He was Jesus," the report quoted Kashmiri as telling BBC.

Source: ANI