Thursday, February 4, 2010
Hari Parbat is a hill overlooking Srinagar, the largest city and summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is the site of a Durrani fort, built in 1808. It has the Muslim shrines of Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib and Akhund Mullah Shah on the southern slope and Parvati temple on the western one. On the southern side of the outer wall there is a Gurudwara, which commemorates the visit of Guru Hargobind Singh.
The first fortifications on the site were constructed by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1590. He built an outer wall for the fort, and planned a new capital called Nager Nagor to be built within the wall. That project was never completed. The present fort was built in 1808 under the reign of Shuja Shah Durrani.
Nestled below the imposing Mughal Fort is the shrine of Sheikh Hamza Makhdum. Also known as Makhdoom Sahib, Mehboob-ul-Alam and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen. Shrine is towards the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill. It is one of the most sacred shrines in Kashmir. This double storied, many-pillared structure displays a remarkable architectural style. This shrine is visited not only by Muslims but by people of all faiths, throughout the year. Makhdoom Sahib, also called Hazrat Sultan, was a Sufi saint.
Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi, Kathi Darwaja, Rainwari, Srinagar is one of the most important Sikh Gurudwaras in Kashmir. It is believed that the sixth guru of Sikhism traveled through Kashmir, stopping to preach occasionally and stayed for few days.
The hill is considered sacred by the Kashmiri Pandits due to the presence of temple of Sharika. Temple is of goddess Jagadamba Sharika Bhagwati. She has 18 arms and is regarded as the presiding deity (`isht`-Devi) of Srinagar city. The goddess is represented by a Swyambhu Shrichakra (Mahamaha Shrichakra), also called Mahashriyantra, which consists of circular mystic impressions and triangular patterns with a dot (bindu) at the center. Sharika Devi is believed to be a form of Durga Mata or Shakti.
According to legend, the Hari Parbat hill was once a huge lake inhabited by the demon Jalobhava. The inhabitants called on the goddess Parvati for help. She took the form of a bird and dropped a pebble on the demon's head, which grew larger and larger until it crushed the demon. Hari Parbat is revered as that pebble, and is said to have become the home for all the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Another version of the myth says that two demons, Tsand and Mond, occupied the fair valley. Tsand hid in the water near the present location of Hari Parbat and Mond somewhere above the present Dal Gate, and both terrorized the people of the valley. The gods invoked Parvati who assumed the form of a Haer (myna) and flew to Sumer, picked up a pebble in her beak, and threw it on the demon Tsand to crush him. The pebble grew into a mountain. Parvati 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. The hill is also called Predemna Peet.
On the birthday of Sharika Bhagwati, the devotees make a sacrificial offering of `Taher-charvan' (Taher - rice boiled with turmeric powder and mixed with oil and salt; Tcharvan - cooked liver of goat) to the goddess. This day is celebrated as Har Navum.
Many mosques were built by Muslims in the Hari Parbat area since the time of the Afghan Ghaznavids and Afghan Ghurids. The present fort, called Hari Parbat Fort, was built by the Durrani Afghan rulers of Kashmir in 1808.