Hazratbal

hazHazratbal Shrine,%The white-domed shrine contains a relic believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The name of the shrine comes from the Arabic word hazrat, meaning holy or majestic and the Kashmiri word bal, (a corrupted form of the Sanskrit vala, which means an enclosure) meaning place. The shrine is situated on the left bank of theDalLakeand is considered to beKashmirs holiest Muslim shrine. Hazratbal is known by many names including Assar-e-Sharief, Madinat-us-Sani, Dargah Sharief & Dargah.

According to legend, the relic was first brought to,%India,%by Syed Abdullah, a descendant of the,%Islamic prophet,%Muhammad,%who left,%Medina,%and settled in,%Bijapur, near,%Hyderabad,%in 1635. When Syed Abdullah died, his son, Syed Hamid, inherited the relic. Following the,%Mughal,%conquest of the region, Syed Hamid was stripped of his family estates. Finding himself unable to care for the relic, he sold it to a wealthy,%Kashmiri,%businessman, Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai.

However, when the,%Mughal Emperor,%Aurangzeb,%came to know of what had transpired, he had the relic seized and sent to the shrine of,%Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti,%at,%Ajmer, and had Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai imprisoned in,%Lahore,%for possessing the relic. Later, realizing his mistake,,%Aurangzeb,%decided to restore the relic to Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai and allowed him to take it to,%Kashmir.