Sheher-e-Khas Walk in Srinagar - Part II

Here is the second in the series on Srinagar's Heritage walk...

>> Read the Part I here - Srinagar's Heritage walk Part I.

What I enjoy most when walking the streets are the people walking by and the street shops selling things absolutely exotic to me. I was quite enamored by the not just people and shops, but also the architecture of the old city - the green windows, the faded yellow walls, lots of old brown of the wood, peeling off paint. Most well-off residents of the old city have now moved on to the suburbs, so you will also feel a sense of emptiness here - you will get a sense of life that used to be here; its an unusual feeling and it stays with you for long after the walk as well...

Sun was already going down when we suddenly came across this surreally beautiful tomb of Budhshah's mother. What struck me first was the departure from the conventional Kashmiri architecture style of the building. It looked more Central Asian or Persian. This used to be a royal burial enclosure in the past, however, now its no longer exclusive. Lack of burial grounds in the city meant that the garden outside the tomb became one and now there are graves of people living in the neighbourhood, and they share this space with some high influential Kashmiris from the past.

Budshah Mother's tomb srinagar heritage walk kashmir
Budshah Mother's tomb

The majestic Jhelum was really close by and we walked through the now slowly-getting-deserted market to reach Zaina Kadal. During active insurgency days this area was the center of street protests, now only peace and calm prevails. Its a great place to simply walk and take a few pictures.

It was already drizzling slightly and it was just great to walk in such amazing weather. Srinagar has great weather in June/ July and its also the best time to visit the city.

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A shopkeeper - it was raining and was yet to decide on keeping the shop open to shut it down
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Zaina Kadal through some metal cylinders...

And finally when we do walk on the bridge, the views are absolutely gorgeous. You can see the typical three tiered Kashmiri houses on the banks of the river. There are a few Hindu temples as well. You can see one on the far left of the image below. Hindus had to move out of the area during the 1990s, but their places of worship were generally not destroyed. The Shiva temple seen is one such example. Now that there is some hope of their return to their homes, these temples and mosques would again, hopefully, coexist together.

srinagar heritage walk kashmir
Houses on the banks of Jhelum

More street walking will take you to the 'Patthar Masjid' - stone mosque. The mosque was commissioned by Shah Jehad's sister Noor Jehan. As per the legends, once the mosque was completed she angered the moulvis of Kashmir by mentioning that the mosque costed her than her shoe. Since then there was an implicit boycott and the mosque could never become functional. The mosque overlooks Shah-e-hamdan across Jhelum.

srinagar heritage walk kashmir
Patthar Masjid

Shah-e-Hamdan is perhaps one of the most important and revered mosque in the whole of Kashmir. Its dedicated to the man who is also credited to have converted the residents of the valley from Hinduism to Islam, not by war but through religious discussions and discourses.

By the time we reached the mosque, it was already late in the evening and the sun had set already. The beautiful lit up mosque was a perfect end to the day. My friend Mayank and I spent quite sometime after that also walking through Srinagar streets, bought some cookies made in the local bakeries and generally made conversations with the locals. 

srinagar heritage walk kashmir
Our guide Gulzar - he is an MBA student in Srinagar
srinagar heritage walk kashmir
Some Srinagar street lassi on the way to Shah-e-Hamdan
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And finally the Shah-e-Hamdan mosque


  1. I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!


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