PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE

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» North India
» Jammu & Kashmir
Main Attractions: Shankracharaya Hill, Hazratbal Mosque, Chatti Padshahi Gurdwara, Pather Masjid, Tomb Of Zain-Ul-Abidin, Jami Masjid, Shadaharwan




Hazratbal Mosque
Across the Dal from Shalimar is the mosque of Hazratbal, the only one of its kind architecturally in Kashmir. Made of white marble with a dome and a minaret, Hazratbal is the repository of a single hair of the Prophet Mohammed, exhibited to the public on certain days of the year.

Shah Hamdan Mosque
Shah Hamdan Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Srinagar. The wooden mosque stands right beside the Jhelum and is noted for the Papier Mache work on its walls and ceilings. No nails or screws were used in the construction of this all-wooden mosque. Originally built in 1395 it has been destroyed by fire in 1479 and again in 1731.

Pather Masjid
Almost directly opposite the Shah Hamdan mosque, on the other bank of the Jhelum, the Pather Masjid is a fine stone mosque built by Nur Jahan in 1623. It is not, however, in everyday use today and is consequently rather run down. Reach it by crossing Zaina Kadal, the fourth bridge.

Tomb Of Zain-Ul-Abidin
One of the east banks of the Jhelum River, between the Zaina Kadal and the Ali Kadal, is the slightly decrepit tomb of King Zain-ul-Abidin, the highly regarded son of sultan Sikander, who built the Jami Masjid.

Jami Masjid
Srinagar's most important mosque is an impressive wooden structure, notable for the more than 300 soaring pillars supporting the roof; each made of a single deodar tree trunk. The main gate is to the south and the outer cloisters surround a spacious, green and peaceful inner courtyard. The roughly square building is 117 metres on each side, topped by four Minars in the centre of each side, topped by four Minars in the centre of each side and three pagoda shaped minarets from which the faithful are called to prayer.

Shankracharya Hill
Shankracharya Hill in Srinagar - Jammu & KashmirWithin Srinagar, on its highest hill is the Shankaracharya temple, nearly one thousand feet above the city. It is devoted to Lord Shiva. The site dates back to 2,500 BC. The philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this site when he visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive "Sanatan Dharma". Before this date, the temple was known as "Gopadri", as an earlier edifice on the same site was built by King Gopaditya in the 6th century. In fact the road below the hill, with residences of High Ranking state government officials, is still known as Gupkar Road.

Pandrethan Temple
A small, beautifully proportioned Shiva temple built around 900 AD, the Pandrethan temple is in the military cantonment area on the Jammu road out of Srinagar.

Shadaharwan
5-km beyond the Shalimar gardens, this place is said to have been the site of a monastery in which the fourth international council of Buddhism was held in the year 300 AD. At this time Kashmir was part of the Kushan Empire under the rule of the Buddhist emperor Kanishka. The monastery is said to have contained a Stupa, some chapels and other buildings.

Excavations in the area recently have brought to light some illustrated tiles on the hillside south of the village of Harwan. One can see examples of the tiles, with their central Asian influence in the peoples dress and ornaments, in the museum in Srinagar.

Nearby is the Harwan Lake, at the foot of the 4,267metre Mahadev peak, a popular climb for hikers during the summer. The lake is actually the reservoir, which provides the water supply for Srinagar and it is supplied by the run off from Marsar Lake. There is also a garden and trout hatchery at the site.



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