Kashmir being a Muslim dominated state, it is but natural of it having mosques. The Mughals planned and constructed many mosques and many of them are architectural wonders. Every town has a mosque of its own depicting the kashmiriyat of those olden times.
The famous of the lot are the Hazratbal and Charar-e-Sharif mosques. A unique one is a Mosque within a Mosque or Akhand Mullah Masjid!
The Hazratbal mosque stands alongside the Dal lake, carved with white marble, has a unique relic. It has the preserved ‘hair’ which people assert is of the Prophet Muhammad. The place is also known as Assar-e-Sharief, Dargah Sharif , Hazrat Bal and even Madinat-us-Sani. Hazrat Bal owes its etymology to Hazrat and Bal. Hazrat in Arabic means Holy, while Bal in Kashmiri is used for place.
Known after Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, it is a shrine that is popularly known as Charar-i-Sharif. Known also as Alamdar-e-Kashmir, Sheikh-ul-Alam, Sarkhel-e-Rishiya and Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Hazrat Sheikh, his remains were buried at the shrine on his death in 1438.
Famous as Amir – I – Kabir, the Mahadan Mosque is one of the attractive mosques in Kashmir. The erstwhile royal Sultan Qutab-ud-Din commissioned the construction in year 1835. Fire had the best of it twice, once in 1731 and before that in the year 1475. After its destruction in 1731, Abdul Bharat Khan renovated and crafted totally in wood, The Hamadani mosque owns its name to a sacred religious leader who had many locals turn to Islam in peace.
The largest mosque in Srinagar is named Aali Masjid. Sultan Hassan Shah’s rule saw the building of this mosque way back in the year of 1471. The Mosque is a fine illustration of the local timber structural design of Kashmir.
Masjid of Akhund Mullah or Akhoon Mulla
A small shrine built by Mughal prince Dara Shikoh. The prince built this shrine to honor his tutor Akhun Mulla Shah. The glossy grey limestone mosque has a stone lotus (having an inscription from 1649) crowning its podium. A special prayer chamber makes it look like a mosque within a mosque. This is completely separated by a courtyard from the building.
Pathar Masjid, built in 1623 by the Mughal Empress Noor Jehan. Located across the River Jhelum, it is the largest surviving Mughal structure in Kashmir. The mosque has nine arches built horizontally with a very big arched entrance in its middle. Historians and inquisitive people still visit this monument.
Dastgir Sahib Shrine
People from all communities do visit this place. The shrine’s exteriors are delicate green a& white whereas interiors are decorated with papier mache, floral motifs, exquisitely carved & painted panels having quotes from the Qur’an written in Arabic. Devotees who pray to have their wishes granted tie a thread around a wooden ledge here.
Khanqah of Khwaja Moinuddin Naqshbandi lies centrally in Srinagar. Erected by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, it has intricately carved Khatamband ceilings, an art where small pieces of wood are fitted together manually without the use of nails to form geometric designs.
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