Hari Parbat Fort (Srinagar)
Location : Srinagar, Kashmir Region, J&K
Constructed By : Atta Mohammad Khan
Built In : 1776
Shrine Of Sikh Guru Chatti Padshahi
Perched on top of the Sharika Hill, this Mughal fort lies to the west of the Dal Lake. Originally built during the reign of Akbar, the present structure, however, was put in place by the Afghan governor of Kashmir in the 18th century. A Parvati temple on the western slope and the Muslim shrines of Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib and Akhund Mullah Shah on the southern slope form the other attractions. Presently under army occupation, you need to obtain the entry permit from the Archaeological Department's office at Lal Mandi in Srinagar.
Hari Parbat Fort: As legend suggests, this hill was once a lake as large as a sea, inhabited by the abominable demon, Jalobhava. They called on Sati Mata for her help and, taking the form of a bird, she dropped a pebble on his head. The pebble increased in size as it fell and crushed him.
Hari Parbat is revered as that pebble and it became the home for all 33 crore gods of the Hindu pantheon.
The Hari Parbat Hill occupies more or less a central position in the valley, exactly as the Mandalay Hill does in the Irrawaddy Valley. It consists of a type of basaltic rock favourable to the growth of almond trees. The whole of the hill-every stone and every dust particle of it-is sacred to the Hindus. On the southern side is situated the shrine of Maqdom Sahib and the mosque and monastery of Akhun Malla Shah the preceptor of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shahi-Jahan the great Moghul ruler.
There is a myth associated with this hill. Two demons, Tsand and Mond occupied the fair valley.
Tsand conceded himself in water near the present location of Hari Parbat and Mond somewhere above the present Dal Gate. They were a menace to the people of the valley which could not be inhabited owing to their dreaded presence. The gods spent a number of years in meditation and penance invoking the blessing of the Goddess Parvati who assumed the form of a Hor (myna) and flew to Sumer from where she got a pebble in her beak and threw it on the demon Tsand to crush him.
The pebble grew into a mountain. Bust as he shook the mountain, she, with her lion and all the gods sat on him and crushed him to death. She is worshipped as Sharika in Shri Tsakra (an emblem of cosmic energy pervading the universe) occupying the middle part of the western slope of the hill facing the city of Prawarsen (Srinagar). The hill is also called Predemna Peet or Kohi Maran.
Ashada Naumi, whick falls some June or July, is a great festival associated with the shrine which is invariably visited by devout Hindus on this day. The outer wall was built by Akbar the
Great in A.D. 1590 at a cost of one crore and ten lakhs of rupees. This sum was sent from the Royal Treasury, and along with it also came Indian artisans skilled in masonry work. The inscription in Persian at the Kathi Darwaza commemorating this work can be read even today. He intended to lay the foundation of a new capital inside the fort and call it Nagar Nagor. The ruins of certain terraces can still be seen on the Pokhiri Bal side.
The fort at the top of the hill was built by Azim Khan, the Pathan governor. It is now an arsenal and permission to visit it has to be obtained from the Director of tourism. The view of the Dal lake and a part of the valley from the fort is most charming. Just near the southern side of the outer wall there is a Guru Dwara which commemorates the visit of Guru Hargobind Singh.
The Old Wall And Fort Decors
The wall stretches for 5-km and is 10 meters high and has two gates, the Kathi and Sangin Darwaza. The Kathi is the main entrance with Persian commemorative inscriptions surrounding it.
Visits to the fort, now used as an arsenal, are only possible with written permission from the director of tourism so for most visitors the fort will remain just a pleasant backdrop.
The fort contains a temple revered for its image of the Goddess Sharika.
Shrine Of Guru Chatti Padshahi
Outside the fort's southern gate there is a shrine to the sixth Sikh guru. It's known as the Chatti Padshahi. The hill, which rises 122 metres from the valley floor, is surrounded by orchards of almond trees where many Kashmiris come for picnics in the spring and summer.