Places of Worship in
The antiquity of Shankaracharya temple is akin to
that of Vaishno Devi in Jammu. The temple,
dedicated to Lord Shiva, has legends dating back
to 200 BC. Built to overlook the valley, situated
atop the Hill it has the devout climb the hill
with offerings in their hands, a motorable road
has been built leading to the TV Tower on the
The sacred temple is
situated to the south east of Srinagar. However,
neither the hill nor the temple retain their
pre-historic names, Gopadari and Jyeshtheswara
respectively. The temple is built on a high
octagonal plinth approached by a flight of steps.
Hari Parbat Fort:
To the west of the Dal lies the Hari Parbat Hill,
sacred to the Goddess Sharika in whose
honour a temple has been consecrated on the
western slopes of the hill. Further up, on the
crest of the hill is Hari Parhat Fort which
dates to the 18th century.
Hari Parbat at night.
The Chakreshawri temple,
records that the first pilglimage to Amarnath was
undertaken in 1000 BC, though little else is known
of the antiquity of Amarnath. Located 141 km from
Srinagar, of which 45 km from Pahalgam has to be
trekked, Amarnath is believed to be the holiest of
yatra is undertaken in July-August (Shravan)
and thousdads of devotees walk, some on ponyback,
to pay obeisance at the cave where an ice-lingam,
that of Shiva, waxes and wanes with the moon. By
its side are two other ice lingams, those of
Parvati, and their son, Ganesha.
Goddess Ragnya Devi is worshipped here, symbolised
by a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, 27 km
from Srinagar. In the centre of the spring is a
small marble temple and the Hindu inhabitants of
Srinagar fast and converge at the spot on the
eighth day of the full moon in the month of May
when legend has it, the goddess changes the color
of the waters.
The Khir Bhawani temple,
the Rest House at Pahalgam, on the right bank of
river Lidder is a small temple, now in ruins,
dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple had an eight
square feet interior with a porch supported by two
fluted columns, one of which has now weathered
away. In fact, the suprastructure is no longer
there and even the ceiling no longer exists.
Inside the sanctum is a Shiva lingam.
village by this name is a bare three miles above
Srinagar. It has a well-preserved temple behind
the willow grove on the left hand side of the cart
road. The ceiling of the shrine is rated as the
best example of carving on stone in the entire
valley. Though ascribed to Vishnu or Shiva, the
seven square feet 'depression' in the centre
carries no deity, only carved 'yakshas'.
Pandrethan is one of the
few temples in Kashmir with roof intact.
Although miniature in
size, it is ornate with structural symmetry (10th
Martand: It is
located on the top of a plateau, a bare five miles
from the town of Anantnag. The temple is
dedicated to Surya, the Hindu Sun God. It is a
medieval temple with a courtyard, colonnaded and
with the shrine in the centre. It has 84 - a
sacred Hindu digit - columns and affords a
commanding view of the valley.
The ruins of Avantipur.
Only 64 km from Srinagar
is Achhabal, the abode of peace, a powerful
stream embellished, in the 17th century, by Shah
Jehan with gardens and baths. The spring waters
run into three channels over terraces where chinar
trees stand vigil. Short of Acchabal is Anantnag,
54 km, the infinite spring surrounded by a flower
garden, linked with Hindu mythological god Indra.
At Mattan, 61.5 km from Srinagar, are famous
temples where sacred ceremonies are held to
propitiate the dead.
At the temple of Mattan
one of the most important Sikh gurudwaras in
Kashmir is situated just outside the southern gate
of the fort.
Makhdoom Sahib: It
a shrine on the southern side of the Hari Parbhat
hill, is visited not only by Muslims but by people
of all faiths.
It is located in a village of the same name on the
banks of the Dal, its pristine white marble
elegance is reflected in the waters of the lake.
Hazratbal's special significance is derived from
the fact that it contains a hair of the Prophet
Muhammad. This is displayed to the public on
religious occasions, usually accompanied by fairs
with streetside stalls.
Khanoah of Shah
Hamadan: The Khanoah stands between the third
and fourth bridges on river Jhelum which flows
through the city of Srinagar. To the north west
corner of the complex is the tomb of Shah Hamadan.
The mosque of Shah
Hamadan is a pagoda-like structure built entirely
of wood. Only the faithful may enter its precincts,
others having to satisfy themselves With a look
through the door. The interiors are intricately
carved and flamboyantly painted and decorated with
Jama Masjid: It is
said that Sikandar But-Shikon laid the foundation
of the Jama Masjid in 1398 AD and completed it in
1402. He ruled from 1390-91 to 1414 AD while his
son, Zain-ul-Abidin, improved it aesthetically. It
was re-built after a fire ravaged it in 1479 AD.
In 1620, during Emperor Jehangir's reign, yet
another fire destroyed it. In 1674, a third
conflagration razed it down and it was left to
Emperor Aurangzeb to rebuild it. Its principal
features are the four minars and eight wooden
columns as supports.
The simple beauty of Jama
was a Shrine holy to both Muslims and Hindus. It
was burnt down by the Islamic militants in 1995 at
the behest of Pakistan. Sheikh Nooruddin, after
all, was arguably the greatest mystic-saint of
Nothing could better
exemplify the composite culture of Kashmir than
the life of Sheikh Naruddin himself. The Sheikh
was born as Nund Reshi or Sahazanand in 1377 AD.
His ancestors came from Kishtwar and had migrated
to the Valley. His father, Salar Sanz, a pious
man, came under the spiritual influence of Sufi
Saint. Yasman Reshi who arranged his marriage to
Sadra Maji. For three days, the infant Nund is
said to have refused to be breast-fed. The third
day, the Yogini, Lal Ded (a very well known saint)
entered the house and put the child's mouth to her
own breast.While leaving, she is said to have
called the infant her spiritual heir.
While personifying the
Hindu-Muslim culture of the Valley, Nund, later
named Naruddin, 'the light of faith', fully
believed in the immanence and transcendence of
God, hoped for a society based on moral values and
preached against indulgence. All his life he wore
a coarse pheran. Within two days of his death in
1438 at Charar, nine lakh people are said to have
gathered at the Shrine, including the King, Sultan
He preached against
communal hatred and wrote: "We belong to the
same parents. Then why this difference? Let Hindus
and Muslims together worship God alone. We came to
this world like partners. We should have shared
our joys and sorrows together."
The gateway to the
Vishnu temple at Avantipur, with a more recent
mosque behind it.
The Shiva temple,