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Muslim Pilgrimmage

Khanqah-e-Moula

Khanqah-e-Moula is situated in Srinagar, on the banks of the river Jhelum. One of the oldest Muslim shrines in Kashmir, the khanqah was built by Sultan Sikander built in 1395. The Khanqah is a wooden structure whose chief aesthetic feature is its beautifully carved eaves and hanging bells. The interiors are richly carved and painted, and the antique chandeliers give it an air of opulence. The Khanqah-i-Mualla is dedicated to Muslim preacher Mir Syed Ali Hamdani.

Also known as Shah Hamadan, the preacher came to Kashmir from the city of Hamadan in Persia in the 13th century. He is believed to be responsible for the spread of Islam in Kashmir. The Shah stayed in Kashmir for many years and then left for Central Asia via Ladakh. He also built a mosque at Shey (near Leh). The shrine gains a special significance on 6th of Zilhaj (last month of Muslim calendar), the death anniversary of Mir Syed Ali Hamadni. On this day, devotees visit the shrine in large numbers to pay a tribute to Shah Hamadan.

The Khanqah of Shah Hamadan was the first mosque to be built in Srinagar. The Shah used to meditate and offer his prayers daily on the banks of river Jhelum, at the same spot where the shrine now stands. The Khanqah of Shah Hamadan in Kashmir has undergone ruination a couple of times. The year 1480 saw the shrine being ruined in a devastating fire. Later, the shrine was reconstructed and restored by the then ruler Sultan Hassan Shah. Again, in 1493 AD, Khanqah-e-Moula was demolished and reconstructed in two-stories. A fire again struck the shrine in 1731 AD leading to first its destruction and then renovation by Abul Barkat Khan.

Hazratbal Shrine

Fortview Holidays offers you an opportunity to explore the sacred Muslim pilgrimage destination of the Hazratbal shrine that is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar opposite Nishat Bagh. Tours and travel to this shrine can be a special experience as the Prophet Mohammad’s hair, that is the Moi-e-Muqqadus, is preserved in this shrine. The history of this shrine dates back to the seventeenth century. The Hazratbal shrine is a marble structure that was specifically constructed by Muslim Auqaf Trust with the objective of preserving the Prophet’s hair, this piece of hair arrived in Kashmir in the year 1699.

The fame of the Hazratbal in Srinagar lies in its association with a strand of Prophet Mohammad’s hair known as Moi-e-Muqqadus. This story is also equally interesting. When the hair came to Kashmir during the rule of Aurangzeb in 1699, then at first it was preserved at shrine of Naqshband Sahib. But the shrine was small and therefore not capable of every day handling of the huge crowd that thronged to visit the Prophet’s hair. Therefore, Aurangzeb ordered the strand of hair to be preserved at the Hazratbal shrine at Srinagar.

The Hazratbal shrine lies at a distance of 25 kilometers from the Badgam district in Srinagar, Kashmir. This pilgrimage destination is known by a number of names viz. the Assar-e-Sharif, Madinat-us-Sani and the Dargah Sharif. Mughal emperor Shahjahan’s brother constructed the Ishrat Mahal at the site of the shrine sometime in the year 1623, later when the emperor himself visited the site he ordered the place to be converted into a prayer house. The shrine as such was built by the Muslim Auqaf trust. Before the Hazratbal shrine was constructed the sacred hair was placed in the shrine of Naqshband Sahib. The architecture of the shrine is a combination of Mughal and traditional Kashmiri.

The Moi-e-Muqqadus is usually on public display inside a glass casket on certain sacred and holy days. Tours and travel to the Hazratbal shrine gives you an opportunity to participate in the colorful and vibrant fairs that are held at Hazratbal every year, the most important among these is the Shab-e-Meraj.

Charar-I-Sharif

Charar-i-sharif counts amongst the most sacrosanct Muslim shrines in India. It is situated approximately 40 km from Srinagar, enroute to Yusmarg near POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). A wooden shrine, the Charar-i-sharif is approximately 600 years old. Popularly known as the Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, the shrine was built to commemorate Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, a Sufi saint. The life of the Sheikh is full of legends and tales. He was born as Nund Reshi or Sahazanand to Salar Sanz in 1377. It is said that he refused to drink milk till the third day after his birth, when a Yogini (female saint), Lal Ded fed him with her own milk. Later, she left the house after saying that the child would be her spiritual heir.

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani or Nund Rishi was the first one to start Rishism in the valley. Later, this Rishism got renowned as Rishi Mat, a Vishnav Mat. The saint preached communal harmony, non-violence, vegetarianism and tolerance to the people. He gathered many followers who called him by different names. Some of the names conferred on the saint are Sheikh-ul-Alam, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, Alamdar-e-kashmir, Sarkhel-e-Rishiya, etc. Apart from preaching, the Sheikh made numerous contributions in the field of philosophy also, in the form of verses and poetry.

The saint led a very simple life throughout. It is said that nine lakh people gathered at the Shrine of Charar within two days of his death, in 1438. The King Sultan Zainul Abdin also took part in his funeral procession. Charar e Sharif served as his final resting place, where his mortal remains were buried. The Charar-e-sharief of Kashmir, India, has been destroyed twice. The first time, the shrine and its surroundings suffered ruination was when a battle took place between the Indian Army and the Pakistani Army. However, the shrine was reconstructed on the lines of central Asian architecture. But, again in 1995 Islamic militants destroyed a major part of the shrine in a fire. Still, after all the assaults the shrine continues to be revered and respected by both the Hindus as well as Muslims.

Jamia Masjid

The Jama Masjid of Srinagar is situated at Nowhatta, in the middle of the old city. An important mosque in Srinagar, it was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD. Later, the son of Sultan Sikandar, Zain-ul-Abidin got the mosque extended. The attractions of the Jama Masjid of Srinagar, Kashmir include beautiful Indo-Saracenic architecture, a magnificent courtyard and 370 wooden pillars. Another feature of the mosque is the peace and tranquility inside it, standing out against the hustle of the old bazaars around it. Thousands of Muslims assemble at the mosque every Friday to offer their prayers. This Jama Masjid of Kashmir, India has seen a number of destructions till date. It got ruined thrice in fire and was reconstructed every time. The last restoration was carried out during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh.

   

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