RELIGIOUS PLACES IN SRINAGAR
Hazratbal, Kashmir's holiest Muslim shrine, houses the Moi-e-Muqaddas, an ancient relic that contains a strand of Prophet Muhammad's sacred hair. Syed Abdullah, a supposed descendent of Prophet Muhammad PBUH who had resided near Hyderabad, brought it to Kashmir.
It has a beautiful view of the Dal Valley and the surrounding mountains. The vista of the Nishat garden from the entrance is breathtaking. Despite the fact that the hallowed relic for which the temple is famous is only exhibited to the general public on rare occasions, people go to the shrine in large numbers every Friday. Dargah Hazratbal is more than a shrine; it is the essence of Kashmiri Muslims' love and devotion to the Prophet PBUH.
The name 'Bhawani' refers to one of the many forms of Maa Durga. The one at Tul Mul Village is of 'Vaishnav Rupa'. Ravana fervently worshipped this form of Maa Durga. Pleased with his devotion, Maa appeared in Bhawani form and blessed him with her image to be installed in his kingdom. However, her pleasant stay was short-lived, for Ravana's brutality displeased Mata. And so she instructed Hanuman to fly her out of Lanka and chose her sacred abode near Tul Mul. Tul Mul in the local language refers to the Mulberry tree, which used to exist where the temple is.
The temple, which was built in 1912 by Maharaja Pratap Singh, is constructed atop a natural spring. The heptagonal-shaped spring is famous for mysteriously changing its colours into orange, green, red, yellow, blue, etc. Maharaja Hari Singh further renovated the temple. Navreh, the celebration of Kashmiri New Year, carries a great value amongst the Kashmir Hindu community. As per the Ragniya Mahatmya, those worshipping Goddess Kheer Bhawani on this day granted their wishes fulfilled.
An annual festival is held in the month of May/June. Devotees observe fast on the eighth day of the full moon and worship Goddess Ragniya to seek her blessings. To please Maa Kheer Bhawani, locals offer 'Kheer' (a sweet rice pudding) as a Prasad (primary offering) to the deity, thus the name.
BackgroundKheer Bhavani Asthapan, situated amidst the heptagonal natural spring, is a sacred Hindu temple worshipped fervently by Kashmiri Hindus of the Valley. Bhavani is one among many names of the deity 'Shakti,' and the prefix 'Kheer' is the 'Prasadam' (sacred food) offered to please the Maa.
The temple exhibits an excellent example of communal harmony and brotherhood, as it is adjacent to the mosque, Baba Dawood Khakhi. In 1910, Maharaja Pratap Singh of Jammu built the temple pond, temple, and the spring we see today. Maharaja Hari Singh did further temple renovations.
In the middle of a small stone-built, the holy spring changes its hues from red, green, violet, orange, blue, pink, and white. It is believed that this spring is the place underneath which Goddess Durga resides in the city. Therefore, the temple is held in high esteem by the entire Kashmiri Pandit community and attracts a large congregation of believers every day.
Goddess Ragniya Devi grants the wishes of all her children who worship her, meditating on the PanchDashi Mantra. Maa Sita is believed to be the incarnated form of Ragniya. Lord Ram is also believed to worship Mata's Vaishnav Rupa while he was in exile. Thus the holy abode is the most famous religious shrine attracting visitors from far and wide.
HistoryA detailed description of Maa Kheer Bhawani Temple comes from Kalhana's Rajatrangini. It establishes the significance of both Tula Mula and Maharagya as the most sacred springs having divine & healing powers. Kashmiri Hindus revere the site and worship this holy spring and the Maharagini form of Maa Durga.
Another story related to the discovery of Maa Kheer Bhawani Temple dates back to the Samvat 4041 of the Hindu Lunar Calendar. The holy abode of Mata Ragniya was to be found nowhere after the entire area was under the deluge. The Goddess then appeared in the dream of Yogi Krishna Pandit, directing him to where the holy spring is located.
The temple also found its mention in the Ain-i-Akbari, a book by Abu'l Fazl documenting the administrative rule under the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It reaffirms the area being submerged under waterlogged land.
Abu Barkat Khan restored Khanqah-e-Moula in 1731, transforming it into a magnificent mosque. A person is left speechless by the shrine's beautiful design and construction. The mosque is made entirely of wood, with no nails, and is inspired by Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic architecture. Both the exterior and the interiors are made of papier-mache.
Pathar Masjid is located on the other side of Khanqah e Moula. In 1623, Mughal empress Noor Jahan erected a stone mosque. Unlike native wooden monuments, this Masjid is distinguished by its distinct designs and structural patterns. The Pathar Masjid, a desecrated edifice by Grand Mufti, is considered one of the ancient Mughal-era mosques due to its nine horizontal arches and structural style.
Jamia Masjid, which is located among the local marketplaces, is significantly influenced by Indo-Saracenic architecture. The construction is a quadrilateral with four minarets, based on the ancient Chaar Bagh layout. The minarets are connected by expansive halls with pyramidal tops. These roofs are supported by 378 deodar timber columns that finish in an open turret.
The mosque is a work of art, and over 3333 people can pray here at the same time. This mosque is remarkable in that, despite its location in the midst of the hustle and bustle of old bazaars, it provides quiet and inner calm to every visitor. Without a doubt, the massive mosque occupies a unique position in Kashmir's history, politics, and culture.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses the Shiv Ling that saint Shankaracharya worshiped. It is located on the Shankaracharya hill in the Zabarwan range, 350 meters above sea level. The temple is a famous viewing site since it offers a panoramic view of the entire metropolis. During the Amarnath Yatra, Hindu pilgrims go to Shankaracharya for a breath-taking aerial view of Srinagar, especially the Dal Lake, which is a perennial favorite tourist site in Srinagar.
In the Gurudwara's rectangular hall, a sacred sanctum exists, where devotees meet and worship in front of the vast terrace. Nearby is an antique well that was built on Guru Hargobind's directions.
The Gurudwara building has been extended over the years to provide tourists with all accommodation facilities provided by the administering community, making their stay on the premises more comfortable. Every day, they host a langar (free community kitchen) in the gurdwara, which anyone is welcome to attend.
The deteriorating situation of the Masjid beside the Makhdoom Sahib shrine is increasingly a source of concern. UNESCO has designated this site as a historic monument.
Thousands of pilgrims flock to the site on his birthday, Urs, to pay their respects and see the 'Ziyarat' (holy visitation). The shrine's contents were being redone after a catastrophic fire completely destroyed it in June 2012.
On the command of Timur of the Timurid Empire, he conquered Kashmir as Syed Mohammad Madani. He was so enamored with the beauty of Paradise that he chose not to leave and made a permanent home here.
Thousands of people go to this nature reserve in Kashmir throughout the summer, believing it was built by King Gopaditya in the 6th century and rebuilt by King Lalitaditya in the 8th century. During the Jyeshta Ashtami festival in May and June, the temple is bustling with activity.