A Pious Shrine
The most important Muslim shrine of Kashmir, that commands the reverence of the people beyond measure, is undoubtedly the Hazratbal Shrine, which is situated on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar . This unmatched reverence is anchored in the love and respect for the Prophet. Mohammad, whose "Moi-e-Muqqadus", (the sacred hair) is preserve here. The shrine is known by many names including "Hazratbal", "Assar-e-Sharief", "Madinat-us-Sani", "Dargah Sharief" & "Dargah".
The history of the shrine goes back to the early 17th century when the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan's Subedar, Sadiq Khan, laid out a garden here & constructed a palatial building, Ishrat Mahal or Pleasure House in 1623. However, the Emperor, during his visit in 1634, ordered the building to be converted into a prayer House with some additions & alterations.
During the time of Aurangzeb, when Moi-e-Muqqadus arrived in Kashmir in 1699, it was first kept in the shrine of Naqashbad Sahib in the heart of the city. Since the place was found to be insufficient in view of the unprecedented rush of people who thronged the place to have a glimpse of the Moi-e-Muqqades, it was decided to shift it to Hazratbal, then known as "Sadiqabad".
The construction of the present marble structure was started by the Muslim Auqaf Trust headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1968 and completed in 1979. The Moi-e-Muqqadas is displayed on various occasions related with the life of Prophet & his four holy companions.
The Structural Grandeur
The fairly new and shiny mosque, the name means majestic palace is probably more interesting for its simply stunning situation on the banks of the beautiful lake with the mountains unfolding as a backdrop behind it. The mosque bazaar is fantastically busy on Fridays. The mosque is a blend of Mughal and Kashmiri architecture with a three tiered roof topping walls and porticos of brick masonry on a base of dressed stone.
Air: Hazratbal lies in Srinagar
District and the nearest airport is approx. 25-km away in Badgam District.
This airport is connected with major cities of India.
Rail: The nearest railhead is at Jammu, which is 300-km away and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with India.
Road: Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on NH1A Highway. It takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountainous road, which crosses some beautiful spots and the famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India. Regular transport is available from various points in the Srinagar city with nominal charges. Route from Dal Lake can also be undertaken.