The Best Places To Visit in Srinagar. A Taste Of The Kashmiri Heritage With A Touch Of Royalty!
1: Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar is a famous mosque that holds high reverence amongst Muslims. According to local beliefs, it houses Moi-e-Muqqadas – the sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad’s beard. Also known by different names like Assar-e-Sharief, Dargah Sharif and Madinat-us-Sani, this mosque is an epitome of love and devotion of Muslims for the Prophet. The construction of this shrine started in 1968, under the supervision of Muslim Auqaf Trust’s Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. The construction of this white marble edifice with a domed structure was completed in the year 1979.
The mosque has a deep-rooted history that dates back to the 17th century. The place where the mosque stands today was originally the site of Ishrat Mahal and a garden, which were built in 1623 by Shah Jahan’s subedar Sadiq Khan. Upon his arrival in 1634, Shah Jahan ordered to convert the palace into a place for offering prayers. When Moi-e-Muqqadas arrived in Kashmir in 1699, it was kept in the Naqashbad Sahib for some time, before becoming a part of the Hazratbal. Although this shrine is frequented by locals on Fridays for mass prayers, it experiences an influx of visitors on special occasions, when holy relics are displayed.
2: 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.
Jamia Masjid is known as one of the sacred shrines of Islamic followers. Be it the holiness or the constructional elegance, Jamia Masjid is quite unparalleled in every aspect. Comprised of 370 pillars of wood, Jamia Masjid symbolizes one of the best architectural specimens which survived the ravages of time ever since it was constructed in the valley of Jammu & Kashmir.
While looking into the origin and construction of Jamia Masjid, the name of Maharaja Pratap Singh comes several times as it was during his Kingdom that the maintenance and repair works of the Mosque were carried out. Pratap Singh enthusiastically encouraged the reconstruction of Jamia Masjid many a time and even offered financial assistance too.
3: The Khanqah-e-Molla or Shah-e-Hamdan is one of the oldest Muslim shrines located on the banks of the river Jhelum in Srinagar city. An important religious destination in Srinagar, this shrine was originally built in 1395 and later reconstructed in 1732. Believed to contain “the secret of Allah” – the Khanqah-e-Molla is an excellent example of wood architecture that draws inspiration from Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic styles. Khanqah-e-Molla was originally constructed by Sultan Sikander (1389-1413 AD) in memory of Sufi saint Mir Syed Ali Hamdan, who stayed in Kashmir and was instrumental in the spread of Islam in Kashmir.
Khanqah-e-Molla was ravaged by fire in 1480, and reconstructed by Sultan Hassan Shah in 1493. Again in 1731, the shrine got damaged, with Abul Barkat Khan reconstructing it in 1731.Khanqah-e-Molla, as it stands today, has a square plan, erected on irregular walled base made of materials from ancient temples. The two-storied, two-tiered structure of the shrine has gently sloping pyramidal roofs demarcating each tier. The roofs are further accentuated by heavy woodwork adorning the cornices under the eaves.
The first tier features double-arcaded verandahs that run continuously around the building, and the second tier is in the form of an arcaded balcony protruding on all four sides of the main building. The pyramidal roof of the second tier is topped by an open pavilion for the muezzin, which is further crowned by a pyramidal spire. Parts of the roof have got covered with seasonal vegetation, creating a unique sight of intricate woodwork and terraced flowerbeds.
The shrine of the saint at Khanqah-e-Molla lies in a cloister at the northwest corner of the structure. A date -1384 AD, marking the saint’s death, is carved above the doorway.
4: The Masjid Bilal is located on the banks of river Jhelum, right in between the flowing river and the flowing traffic of cars and the pedestrians in the busy street of Lal Chowk, is 72 feet in length and has a width of 42 feet.
Walls made of bricks standing over square stones supporting the timber ahead are a pretty sight when viewed with the steel railing near the main entrance door of the mosque. The Mehrab of the mosque is built with a picturesque arch on which Islamic inscriptions are to be made.