Kashmir has always been the seat of the spiritual realm. It has always been blessed with Rishis, Saints, Awliyas and Peers. Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Islam culminated in Kashmiriyat, a cultural manifestation that runs through the roots of the valley’s cultural ethos. The humility, hospitality, empathy and brotherhood of the people of the Kashmir Valley have a deeper connection with the spiritual nature of this place. Stay tuned to learn more about the seven most important spiritual sites in Kashmir.
The Hazratbal shrine is located on the left bank of the Dal Lake. It is regarded as one of the holiest shrines of the Kashmir valley. Etymologically the word Hazratbal is the combination of two words, ‘Hazrat’ which means holy and ‘Bal’ which means place. All the communities consider Dargah Hazratbal a sacred place and people from all faiths visit this place. According to historical records, Sadiq Khan, Subedar of Shah Jahan, built the shrine and with later upgrades got transformed into the present structure. Dargah also houses the sacred hairs of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Kheer Bhawani Temple
This temple is built at a spring also known as “Kheer Bhawani”. Ragnya Devi is the main deity associated with the Kheer Bhawani temple. It is located in Tula-Mula in the Ganderbal district. It is an important Hindu shrine that attracts a large number of Hindu pilgrims during the annual festival of Jesht Ashtami. It was built in 1912 by Raja Maharaja Pratap Singh. When misfortune approaches, the spring at this place turns black. It is also said that Lord Ram and Ravana worshipped Ragnya Devi and offered Kheer to her. Kheer is still offered by devotees, which is why the place is called Kheer Bhawani.
The famous Amarnath Cave is located in the Anantnag district, at an altitude of 3882 metres above sea level. The world-famous shrine of Amarnathji is located about 48 kilometres from Pahalgam and attracts devotees from all over India. Due to its altitude, the cave is covered with snow most of the year. The entrance is open only during the summer months. Pilgrims visit the Amarnath temple from June to September. They trek up the mountain for days to reach the cave and see the Shivling made of snow. The temple is much revered by Hindus as it is considered one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.
This Temple is located on Shankaracharya Hill (also known as Koh e Suleman) on Zabarwan Hill in Srinagar, 1880 metres above sea level and overlooking the city of Srinagar, providing a spectacular view. According to the Kalhana, the chronicler of Rajtarangni, the hill was called Jeetlark or Jetha Larak and later as Gopadari Hill. He also writes that King Gopadhitya granted the land at the foot of the hill to the Brahmins that had come from the Aryadesa. According to the legend, the temple was visited by Adi Shankar, an Indian Vedic scholar and Preacher in the 8th century Ad. Hence the temple and hill were named after him.
Located in Nowhatta Srinagar, the Jamia Masjid is of great historical importance and one of the largest mosques in the valley. The mosque was built by Sultan Sikander Shah in 1398 AD. The architecture of the Jama Masjid is influenced by the Indo-Saracenic style and is in the shape of a quadrangle with four minarets, one in the centre of each side, covered with a series of pyramidal roofs. The roof of the mosque is supported by 378 wooden pillars and can accommodate more than 33,000 worshippers at a time. Thousands of people flock to pray at the Jamia Masjid every Friday.
Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara
This is one of the most important Gurudwara of the Sikh community in Rainawari Srinagar. It is located at the southern gate of Hari Parbat and is a major tourist attraction. The Gurudwara consists of a rectangular hall with a shrine in the centre and a large terrace in front. On the instructions of Guru Hargobind, a well was dug inside the Gurudwara complex. It is believed that Guru Hargobind travelled throughout Kashmir to preach and guide his disciples. Since he was the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, the Gurudwara is referred to as Chatti Padshahi. The sanctum was built to commemorate this era.
Holy Family Catholic Church
Built-in 1896, this British-era church is located in the famous Lal Chowk area. The beautiful architecture of the Holy Family Catholic Church is inspired by the European style. The church is renowned for its 105 kg bell that rings in the semblance of peace, harmony and brotherhood. It is located on Maulana Azad Road in Srinagar and is a significant tourist attraction. The church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. In 2017, a new church bell was installed and rung jointly by an interfaith clergyman.
Mujtaba Hussain is a poet, writer and analyst. He loves to research different things. Travelling is his passion, and he is in quest of learning something about everything.