Charer-e-Sharif was a Shrine holy to both Muslims and
Hindus. The Islamic militants burned it down in 1995 at the behest of
Pakistan. Sheikh Nooruddin, after all, was arguably the greatest
mystic-saint of Kashmir.
Saint Sheikh Nooruddin
Nothing could better exemplify the composite culture of Kashmir than the life of Sheikh Nooruddin 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 Nooruddin, '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 Zain-ul-Abdin.
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."