Considered to be one of the most exotic tourist destinations of India, Kashmir is certainly a traveler’s delight. Apart from the breathtaking views and picturesque sights, Kashmir also houses monuments, shrines and temples of historical importance that stand witness to the unique history of this ‘Paradise on Earth’.
We give you a list of 10 historically important places that should be on your must-watch list if you are planning to visit the ‘Paradise on Earth’.
1. Jamia Masjid
Situated at Nowhatta, in the middle of the Srinagar old city, Jamia Masjid is an important mosque where thousands of Muslims assemble to offer their prayers every Friday. Built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, the mosque includes beautiful Indo-Saracenic architecture, a magnificent courtyard and 370 wooden pillars. What will steal your heart is the peace and tranquility that you experience inside the holy place despite the hustle and bustle of the old bazaars around it.
2. Shah-e-Hamdan shrine
The shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan or Khanqah-e-Moulla is situated on the banks of Jhelum River in Kashmir. Considered to be one of the oldest Muslim shrines, it is dedicated to Shah-e-Hamadan, who has been a principal historical figure of Kashmir. Built by ruler Sultan Sikander, the shrine offers peaceful ambience to tourists.
3. Nishat Bagh
Located on the bank of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, the Nishat Bagh is the second largest Mughal garden after Shalimar Bagh. The Bagh was designed and built in 1633 by Asif Khan, the elder brother of Nur Jahan.
4. Shalimar Bagh
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Located on the bank of Dal lake, the Shalimar Bagh, the largest Mughal garden in Kashmir was built by Mughal emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan in 1619. The Bagh is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture and is now a public park.
5. Bahu fort
Photo credit:HT Photo
Located In Jammu, the Bahu Fort was originally built by Raja Bahulochan some 3,000 years ago and was refurbished by the Dogra rulers in the 19th century. The fort is a religious place, and within its precincts has a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. The temple is known locally as the "Bave Kali Mata temple".
6. Mubarak Mandi
Photo credit: HT Photo
The royal residence of the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from the Dogra Dynasty, the palace is located in the heart of the old walled city of Jammu and overlooks the Tawi river.The oldest building of the complex dates back to 1824. Successive maharajas added to the complex in size and building took more than 150 years. The complex is grouped around several courtyards and includes various buildings and palaces like the Darbar Hall Complex, the Pink Palace, Royal Courts buildings, Gol Ghar Complex, Nawa Mahal, Rani Charak Palace, Hawa Mahal, the Toshakhana palace and the Sheesh Mahal, which is made entirely of glass.
7. Hari Parbat
Locally known as Koh-e-Maran, the Hari Parbat is the site of the Durrani Fort. Built in 1808, it has the famous Shakti Temple on the western slope and shrines of Hamza Makhdoom and Badakhshi on the southern slope. On the southern side of the outer wall is situated a gurdwara which commemorates the visit of Guru Har Gobind. The fort, which is presently being used as a CRPF camp, has also been thrown open for public by the government.
8. Martand temple
Photo credit:Srinagar Municipal Corporation
Located in Matton village, the temple is dedicated to the sun god and was built by the Hindu King Lalitaditya Muktapada in AD 724-61. This excavated monument is under the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple is unique for its size and grandeur.
9. Kheer Bhawani
Dedicated to the Goddess Kheer Bhawani, the temple is situated at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar near the village of Tul Mul. Interestingly, the temple is constructed over a sacred spring .and is highly revered Kashmiri Pandits. Around the temple is an area covered with smooth and beautiful stones. While most of the colours do not have any particular significance, the colour of the spring water changes occasionally. When black or darkish, it is believed to be an indication of inauspicious times for Kashmir.
10. Shrine of Shankracharya
Situated on top of the Shankaracharya hill or the Sulaiman Hill, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. As the temple was visited by Adi Shankara it came to be associated with him and hence got it name. It is also regarded as sacred by Buddhists.