SAINTS, ascetics and the
always been attracted to district Budgam that is home to many
renowned shrines, including that of Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA)
at Chrar-e-Sharief. The secluded yet enchanting environs of the
district have been favourite spots for these men of God to meditate and be one
with Him. Indifferent to the world of materialism and away from the
noise of the cities, various sufis and saints have attained spiritual
Budgam, which is swarming with tombs, shrines and other sacred
places belonging to these great men. Some of these places with
religious and historical significance include:-
TOMB OF SHEIKH NOOR-UD-DIN
THE tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din
Noorani (RA), popularly known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir (flag-bearer of Kashmir), is situated 28
kms in the southwest of Srinagar at Chrar-e-Sharief. The land where the shrine is
situated belonged to Sangram Dar, a disciple of Alamdar-e-Kashmir, who had constructed a mosque
there. It was here where Sheikh
Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA) would say his Friday prayers.
to a legend, following the death of Alamdar-e-Kashmir,
his his coffin, after flying some distance, descended at
the site where the shrine lies and where the great sufi saint has
been laid to rest.
SITUATED in the Khan Sahib block of
district Budgam, the shrine is associated with a famous saint
- Hazrat Salen Khan - who belonged to Pakhla village (now in
Pakistan) and came here in the sixteenth century along with his
father, Ismail Sahib. On the day of the birth of his son, it is
believed, 99 saints visited
the house of Ismail Sahab to see the new-born child. At age 5, his uncle, an influential
man in the area, wanted to adopt Salen Khan but Ismail Sahib would not agree. When the
former exerted pressure, Ismail Sahib took his son along and
travelled on foot to Kashmir.
On way, Syed Salen Khan met a famous saint - Bu Ali. Syed Salen's father took his son
to Baba Naseeb-ud-Din Gazi, a well- known saint of Kashmir, where the two stayed for over a
year. Later, the Baba granted Ismail Sahib permission to leave and Syed Salen Khan stayed
back and took religious and spiritual guidance from the baba for 13 years. Syed Salen Khan
also meditated for almost a dozen years in a cave and also stayed for some time in the Srinagar city.
Later, he chose a place in a jungle for prayers and meditation. The cave, where he
meditated, still exists. During his stay in the cave, people began to visit Syed Salen
Khan and soon he was widely known to be a saint of high order. The place came to be known as Khan
Sahib after him. Hazrat
Syed Saleh Khan passed away on Zeelqad 17, 1019 Hijri. He was a fine calligrapher and a copy of
the Holy Quran calligraphed by him is available at Watal Kadal, Srinagar.
In the month of Zeelqad, a week-long urs (festival) is held at the
tomb of Syed Saleh Khan Sahib.
IMAMBARA, Budgam is a major religious
place for the Shi'ate Muslims of the Valley. The building of the Imambara was originally
constructed in 1857, under the supervision of Aga Syed Mohammad, on the place where famous
Shi'ate religious leader Aga Syed Mehdi used to offer prayers. Inside
the building was designed by Asgar Ali of Mirgund, Budgam. In 1924,
carried out on the existing structure by Aga Syed Sahib and paper
machie work was also under
taken. In 1955, another extension was carried out by the Anjuman-e-Shari Shian
Syed Yusuf Al- Mosavi Al-Safvi.
The present octagonal Imambara has five main entrances each of 12 ft. width. One of the
entrances is reserved for the women. Adjacent to the Imambara is a
mosque constructed by Aga Syed
Yusuf Al-Mosavi Al-Safvi. The Indo- Iranian piece of architecture, the Imambara
commands great reverence in the of Shia community of the Valley. Apart from
its religious significance,
it is equally important as a piece of monumental value.
SHEIKH Noor-ud-din (RA) had widely travelled
throughout Kashmir. The shrines connected with great sufi saint are found all over the
The distant block of Khag also had the good fortune of receiving the saint and there
would hardly be
any place here not visited by him during his meditation. The village of Hamchapora also
provided him a place to meditate. When Alamdar-e-Kashmir arrived
at Khag, he selected a rock for his meditation which bore still
bear imprints of his feet. The
rock, known as Shah Kean (the king- stone). During his stay at Poshkar, Sheikh-ul-Aalam
met a pious lady, Sham Ded, who under his guidance, attained spiritual heights.
As the great sufi saint stayed at Hamchapora for long, the place
became revered and people started flocking the village which
steadily attained the status of a ziarat. The devotees visit the shrine in large numbers
Tom of Mir Shamas-U-Din Iraqi
The shrine of widely revered Shiete theologist,
Mir Shams-ud-Din Araqi is also situated in Chadoora
Iraqi first came to Kashmir towards the close of the15th century. He
left Kashmir only to return back in 1502 along with the number of
followers. His father was a Mosvi Syed and his mother too was from a
Syed family of Qazvin in Iran.
Ayatullah Aga Syed Mehdi Al
Mausvi Al Najfi
Prominent Aga family
of Budgam is the descendent of Mir Syed Shamsuddin Iraqi (RA).
Ayatollah Aga Syed
Ayatollah Aga Syed
Mehdi, who after staying for 27 long years in Iraq, during which he
was awarded the rank of jurisconsult (Mujtahid), returned to his
native land in 1880 and started preaching and propagation of Islam.
Aga Syed Mehdi was a great scholar and he has left behind number of
books dealing on various subjects like Islamic history,
jurisprudence etc. Aga Syed Mehdi breathed his last on 21 Ramazan,
1892A.D. and is buried in Budgam.
Syed Mohammad Almosavi
Aga Syed Mehdi was
succeeded by his son, Aga Syed Mohammed, who himself was an eminent
scholar and theologian of his time. He laid the early foundation of
Imam Bara Budgam. He too wrote many books and most popular among
them is a book on jurisprudence (Minajus Salah wa Merajul Falah).
This was one of the first books of its kind written in Kashmiri
language during that period. The book is considered a magnum opus in
Kashmiri literature. The book speaks volumes about the intellectual
insight of Aga Syed Mohammed. Even today, one would hardy come
across a home in the Valley, particularly in rural areas, where this
book has not been treasured. Aga Syed Mohammad established an
organization, Hamiyul Islam, which ran a chain of Madrasas in
different villages and towns of Kashmir.
Aga Syed Mohammed
after spending his entire life spreading the teaching of Islam left
for the eternal abode on March 07, 1931A.D. After Aga Syed Mohammed,
his elder son Aga Syed Ahmed shouldered the responsibility and
dedicated himself to carry forward the mission of his ancestors.
Prominent among his contributions is that he rebuilt the tomb of Mir
Shamsuddin Iraqi in 1352 Hijri and also got the Imam Bara of
Hasanabad reconstructed in 1354Hijri. He died on 21 Zil'hajja,
Yousuf Kashmiri (RA)
The life of
Ayatollah Yousuf Kashmri perfectly attested the truth in Allama
Iqbal's one of the most inspirational Urdu couplets. Aga sb., as he
was popularly known, was a charismatic leader, a social reformer, a
revolutionist, a visionary, an eminent educationist, a great scholar
- all the rear qualities consolidated in one person. Aga Syed Yousuf
is ranked one of the greatest scholars Shia community has ever had
after the Late Ayatollah Aga Syed Mehdi.
Kashmri was born in Budgam in 1322 AH and completed his education in
jurisprudence and Islamic law from Najaf in Iraq, and after the
demise of his elder brother, Aga Syed Ahmed Al-mosavi, shouldered
the responsibility of spreading the message of truth.
Aga sahab went
beyond the conventional duty of his family vis-a-vis propagation of
Islam, he not only brought a revolution in the field of education
but a social renaissance among Shias. Aga sb. established an
educational institution for Islamic learning, namely 'Madras-e Babul
Ilem' (Gateway of Knowledge) in Budgam. The doors of the institute
were thrown open for all those who wanted to acquire knowledge
irrespective of the school of thought they belonged to. Aga sahab
was well aware that it won't be convenient enough for the people
living in far flung areas of Kashmir to come to Budgam therefore he
started a number of branches of Babul Ilem in the remotest of
villages in Kashmir and Ladakh. Madasa-e Babul Ilem is the
alma-mater of many big names who dominate the literary field in
Kashmir today. Some of the students of the first batch of Jamia
Babul Ilem were:
Aga Syed Mohammad Baqir
Aqai Syed Mohammad
Aqai Syed Ibrahim
Molvi Abdul Subhan
Zakir Syed Abbas
Chandipora, et al.
of Imambara Budgam
Taking notice of
the growing crowd and persistent demands, Aga sb. undertook the
large scale construction of Imam Bara Budgam, which till date is one
of the best models of the Anglo-Iranian art in the entire
subcontinent. People across the globe still flock to see the
mesmerizing beauty and the architecture of the 20th century
monument. He also got Imam Bara Hassanabad widened, which is a
replica of the one in Budgam, although smaller in area.
It has been a norm
among Shias of Kashmir that whenever there would be any dispute they
would prefer to go to their religious heads (Moulvis or Agas)
instead wasting time in going to the courts. Such courts are known
as Sharie Adalat (Religious Court) where justice is delivered
according to the Islamic doctrine. During the period of Aga sahab,
Sharie Adalat became very popular. Aga sahab was famous for his
sense of justice. The landmark verdicts of Aga sahab became so
popular that Sunnis, Shias, Pandits and Sikhs would come with their
cases to Aga sahib. There have been number of occasions when the
District Court too followed the suit and sent some extremely complex
cases to the court of Aga sahab. These instances speak volumes about
the intellectual competence of the man whom every one trusted and
revered, who was a people's leader in a true sense of the word.
up of Anjumane Sharie Shian:
One of the biggest
achievements of Aga sahab was establishing an organization, namely
Anjumane Sharie Shian, which during his lifetime, virtually ran
parallel to the govt. The organization gave new identity to the
Shias of Kashmir and became a platform for them to address their
There is no
escaping the fact that Budgam was accorded a status of a district
only because of Aga sb. After his death, the district hospital of
Budgam was named after him. Aga was a very close associate of
Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini, the father of Islamic Revolution of
In accordance with
the Quranic saying that "all that lives must taste death"
passed to the everlasting world on August 31, 1982 and left
thousands of well wishers sobbing and lamenting. People from all
parts of the state and guests and representatives of different
nations offered their last respect to the leader who was
instrumental enough to bring a cultural and educational renaissance
among Shias in Kashmir. The then Prime Minister of India Ms. Indira
Gandhi also visited the bereaved family and offered her condolence.
TOMB OF SHAM DED
SHAM Ded, daughter of an
of Poshker village, was introduced to spirituality by Sheikh-ul-Alam,
Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA). Around the
same time, Alamdar-e-Kashmir had another disciple - Baba Latif-ud-Din Qazi. It is
said that Sham Ded informed Baba Latif-ud-Din about the departure to the
heavenly abode of Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA). It was evening
(sham) when the lady broke the news to the Baba, hence the
name Sham Ded, who after her death, was laid to rest at Poshker village.
POSHKER village is also home
to the tomb of Hazrat
Baba Latif-ud-din Qazi, a worthy disciple of the Sheikh-ul-Alam
(RA). He was a man of great qualities. The Baba, in search of employment, had to come to Kashmir from
Kishtwar and when he arrived here, he began his quest for a spiritual guide. Some people
believe that this search led him to Poshker where he had an audience with
Known then as Ludo Raina, the Baba asked for the spiritual cure to his ailments. The
spiritual power of the Sheikh influenced Raina and he became his disciple after which he
was known as Hazrat Baba Latif-ud-Din. The company of Alamdar-e-Kashmir taught him to
ameliorate the condition of the downtrodden besides striving for
spiritual attainment. By orders Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani
(RA), the Baba left Poshker and meditated
for years together in a cave known as Baba Marg, situated far away from
Poshker, where he
later also passed away. The disciples of the Baba were anxious as to how their other
in remote areas would reach this farflung cave to perform his last rites. Their
anxiety, however, proved short-lived as the coffin carrying the body of the Baba,
miraculously took off and flew to Poshker village where the saint was later
buried. On the 7th of Phaguna every year, an urs is held on the tomb where relics,
including a sword of the Baba are displayed.
THE SHRINE OF SYED
SEVEN kms from Habir village,
Khag block, at Lassapora, is situated the shrine of Hazrat Syed Mohammad Samri. On the 12th of
Phaguna the devotees throng the shrine to pay obeisance to the spiritual leader. The saint
had arrived here from Shopian, in Pulwama, several hundred years ago and chose to meditate in the dense
forests for years where, he later passed away. He is buried at
THE SHRINE OF HAZRAT
GANGA BABA RISHI
HAZRAT Ganga Baba Rishi is one of the
prominent saints buried at Palapora Poshker where he spent his entire life in material poverty.
But with his meditation and prayers, Baba Rishi attained enormous spiritual wealth. In and
Palapora, 3 kms from Khag, the Baba is believed to have constructed 360 mosques and an
equal number of culverts. He had migrated from Maraz and lived in Palapora, where he
breathed his last and was laid to rest. His tomb is thronged by a large number of
devotees every year.
The Baba, had a tremendous environmental temperament and was
responsible for planting thousands of saplings during his life time. One
tree is believed to have reached the girth of around 40 ft.
TOMB OF ZIA-UD-DIN
SOME three centuries back, it is
believed, Hazrat Zia-ud-din Bukhari reached the Valley from Bukhara
along with 360 Syeds.
During his stay here, he came to Kanihama and preached Islam. The saint performed many
miracles one of whom is related to a blind girl. It is said that he asked the girl
to fetch some fire for his Kangri (an earthenware firepot). Since the girl was blind, she expressed her
inability to do the required. Upon this, the saint touched her eyes with his hand and the girl's
eyesight was restored. Hazrat Bukhari died at Kanihama where he was
laid to rest.
On 26th, in the Muslim month of Rajab, an urs is
held at the shrine where people
in large gather to pay their respects.
TOMB OF SYED
TAJ-UD-DIN AND SYED ALLA-UD-DIN
ACCORDING to a legend, when Syed
Taj-ud-Din arrived in Khag, the Mala Kol silently followed him from
Sukh Nag to Skinderpora. Syed Taj-ud-Din first
arrived in Sukh Nag where he stayed for long, and later, crossing various villages,
reached Skinderpora, where he spend the rest of his life. Following
his death, the mantle of
spiritual guidance of people fell on his son, Syed Alla-ud-Din, who was equally a pious
soul. The tombs of both the father and son, are situated in Skinderpora and attract
a large number of devotees.