The most important muslim shrine of Kashmir, that commands the reverence of the people beyond measure,is undoubetedly 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 (peace be upon him), whose Moi-e-Muqqadus, (the sacred hair) is preserves 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 seventeenth century when the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan's Subedar, Sadiq Khan, laid out a garden here & constructed a palacial 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 the 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 occassions related with the life of Prophet & his four holy companions.
The Moi-e-Muqqadus is usually on public display inside a glass casket on certain sacred and holy days. Tours and travel to the Hazratbal shrine gives you an opportunity to participate in the colorful and vibrant fairs that are held at Hazratbal every year, the most important among these is the Shab-e-Meraj. The Watul mela is also very popular among the tourists and the pilgrims.
How to Reach
By Air : Hazratbal lies in Srinagar District and the nearest Airport is approx. 25 Kms away in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India.
By Rail :
The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu which is 300 Kms away and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with India.
By Road :
Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on this Highway. It Takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous 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.