Hazratbal

The Hazratbal Shrine is the holiest and most revered Muslim shrine in Srinagar containing Moi-e-Muqqadas (the sacred hair) of Prophet Mohammed (SAW). It is a white mausoleum with a large dome of marble and tall minarets rising on its sides. The mausoleum is also used as a mosque with regular prayers being attended by thousands of Muslims from many parts of the Valley. Hazratbal Shrine is located about 8 kilmetres from the city centre on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake, providing the Shrine a serene and splendid ambience. It has a beautiful garden on its Dal side, dotted with Chinar trees that provide tranquilising shade during the summers to those who visit the place.

The construction work on this marble structure was started in 1968 and it took about eleven years to complete the mosque in 1979. Unlike other places, it is the only domed mosque in Srinagar that commands a splendid view of the Dal Lake. The history of the Hazratbal Shrine dates back to as far as the early seventeenth century. Sadiq Khan (Mughal Subedar) constructed Ishrat Mahal (Pleasure House), along with a garden at the site of the mosque in 1623. However, when Shahjahan visited the place in 1634, he ordered the conversion of the palace into a prayer hall.

The relic was first brought to India by Syed Abdullah, a resident of Medina who settled in Bijapur near Hyderabad in 1635. His son, Syed Hamid, inherited the relic after his death. Syed Hamid gave it as the most precious gift to his close Mureed (disciple) and a wealthy Kashmiri businessman, Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Ishbari. However, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb seized the relic from him and sent it to the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer. Later, Aurangzeb decided to restore the relic to Khwaja Nur-ud-Din who had already died in imprisonment. In 1700, the relic finally reached Kashmir, along with the body of Khwaja Nur-ud-Din. Initially, it was kept in the shrine of Naqashbad Sahib situated in the center of the city. However, the unparalleled huge rush of people made the place seem quite small and it was shifted to Hazratbal.

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