Muslim pilgrimage to Kashmir

The concept of God has been around
since the beginning of time and has been depicted in many forms in many religions. Of the many religions that mankind has followed over the years Islam is one. Their belief is that God is eternal, self sustaining, transcendent, absolutely one and who doesn’t begets nor was begotten. Their God is known by the name of Allah derived from the Arabic definite article “al-“meaning “the” and “ilah” meaning “deity or god”. It has been believed that in a Muslims life one at least has to go on a pilgrimage once in their lifetime which they refer to as “Hajj”. Of the many places that one goes for a pilgrimage the Mecca and Medina is known to be of the highest cadre. However even the journey to other holy places are referred to as a pilgrimage. In India there are a lot of revered holy places for the Muslims and some of the most well known ones are in the state of Kashmir.

This northern most state of India has its maximum population as Muslims and is home to the most revered of holy places in the country. Some of the most revered and holy places that Muslims from all over the country come to visit in this state of beauty are:-

Khanqah-e-Moula- situated on the banks of river Jhelum in Srinagar, this is one of the oldest Muslim shrines in Kashmir. This Khanqah was built by Sultan Sikander in the early years of 1395 is also known as the shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan and is said to have been built in honour of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani. Islam is said to have been popularized in the valley by this preacher who came from Persia in the 13th century. The Khanqah is a wooden one which has been intricately carved and painted. The interiors too are beautifully painted and decorated with chandeliers giving it an air of magnificence. This shrine is well visited by the Muslims during the 6th Zilhaj which is the last month of the Muslim calendar and the death anniversary of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani.
Jama Masjid- this is a mosque that is located at Nowhatta in Srinagar. This was first built in the year 1400 AD by Sultan Sikander in the middle of the old city and later was extended by his son Zain-ul-Abidin. The architectural style is that of the Indo-Saracenic architecture and the courtyard has an amazing 370 wooden pillars. The mosque has a surprising air of peace and tranquillity even though its outside is noisy due to the bazaar surrounding it. The mosque is visited every Friday by the followers to pray.
Hazratbal Mosque- this is one of the holiest shrines in all of Kashmir and is located in Srinagar. The serene location of this mosque on the banks of the Dal Lake adds to the beauty that the mosque radiates. The mosque is said to have one of the holiest relics in Islam i.e. Prophet Mohammed’s hair. This shrine is visited by people from near and far to offer their prayers and get blessed.
Charar-e-sharif- the original shrine was built over 6000 years ago but was burnt down by terrorists but a new structure has been made. The new one is made with brick and mortar in contrast to the original wooden one. However this shrine is well visited by the followers to offer prayers.

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