The spread of Islam in Kashmir by the Sufi saints has always been discussed by various scholars, academics, writers, historians and believers. The impact of Sufism on the culture of the beautiful place has been alluring and has always enhanced the beauty of Kashmir. Beyond the known Kashmir, the mountain ranges, the green meadows, and the water bodies, there is a different world. A world which is yet to be explored by the visitors.
In the midst of these astonishing scenes are the cabochon Sufi shrines. From ages there are these architectural beauties that are not only providing gratification to the believers but are quenching the thirst of the people who admire the art and the architecture. Verily the beauty of Kashmir is not only in its natural resources but also in these architectural buildings that are full of faith.
From the stairs of the Sheikh Hamza Makhdoomi RA to the gardens of the Hazratbal Shrine, from the astonishing architecture of the Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani popularly known as Dastegeer Sahib to the historically beautified shrine of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani aka Khanqah-e-Maula, every step taken will reach straight to the land of bliss.
Let’s walk through the aisle and understand the new Kashmir and its age old beauties.
The Dargah Hazratbal Shrine which lies on the left bank of Dal Lake is the most peaceful and holy place of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple houses an important relic Moi-e-Muqaddas sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It took approximately 11 years to complete the Mosque and it is the only domed Mosque in Srinagar. It offers a dazzling vista of lake and mountains.
Makhdoom Sahib Shrine
Makdoom Sahib at Srinagar is located at the foothills of Hari Parbat. The shrine rests below a magnificent Mughal Fort that’s spread out on the hill. This fort gives a magnificent top view of Makhdoom Sahib Shrine and falls on the southern side of the hill. The beauty of this shrine is truly enchanting and devotees from all religions flock here. The shrine is named after Sheikh Hamza Makhdoomi, who hailed from the Tujar Shareef which lies in Kashmir. He was from the Syed dynasty and was a scholar and a mystic Sufi saint. There is a Kashmiri saying “Mehanatas cha Mazooer” which translates to “Hard work Pays Off” and this shrine is the perfect example of the hard work that people do at this shrine. There are approximately 80 stairs that devotees take to reach the shrine and get their desires fulfilled.
Dastageer Sahib Shrine
Dastageer Sahib is a 200-year-old shrine situated in the old city area known as Khanyar. This shrine is named after the Sufi Saint of Baghdad namely Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jeelani. Although, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani never visited Srinagar but this shrine was built in his honor. The beauty of the shrine is that there is a holy relic of the saint that has been preserved for ages. It is said that the holy relic belonging to the Sufi saint was first brought to Srinagar by an afghan traveler. It was then handed over to Syed Buzarg Shah, an eminent Sufi saint of Qadri order. Yet in another story it is said that the holy relic was brought from Thatha Sindh by Hazrat Sakhi Shah Muhammad Fazil who was a descendent of the Geelani Clan. In addition to the holy relic, the shrine houses an old Quran hand written by Hazrat Abu bakr Siddique RA and Hazrat Ali RA. All these are kept in a fireproof vault and are taken out on special occasions. People from all the corners visit this place irrespective of their religion. Other than that, this shrine has a great architectural value. It is made entirely of wood and not a single nail has been used. In 2012, this 200 year old shrine was gutted in a fire but the people and the government jointly worked on the project and restored the shrine to its original glory.
Baba Reshi Shrine
Babareshi is the name of a village and forest area in Jammu and Kashmir. It is named after the Sufi saint Baba Payamuddin Reshi. The Ziyarat Baba Reshi shrine is a three-storey monument and is situated at an altitude of about 7,000 feet (2,133 meters). It is located near the Ramboh village in Baramulla District and was built in 1480, in Mughal and Persian styles. There is accommodation for tourists and pilgrims around the shrine. Each building has a Daan or cooking place where the Kashmiris prepare their meals and everyone traditionally contributes some of it to the Langar (collection place). The Langar staff distributes the food in charity.
Sheikh-ul-Alam Hazrat Noor-ud-Din Wali RA is one of the most renowned poets in the history of Kashmir. The shrine situated at charer-e-sharief in the district of Budgam in Kashmir provides an enchanting view to the visitors. The bright architecture with wood carvings along with the paper machie decorative is one of the most beautiful things to see. The Sufi saint was a great poet despite not being literate and his poetry is still alive and is used from time to time.
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