(Last Updated on : 10/10/2014)
Hazratbal Mosque derives its name from two words. While Hazrat is an Arabic word which means majestic or holy, bal means hair which is derived from the Sankrit word Vala. Hazratbal is situated on the left bank of Dal lake
. The shrine is considered to be one of the holiest places of Kashmir
which is also referred as Assar-e-Sharief, Madinat-us- Sani or simply Dargah Sharief. The place is mainly revered for preserving the relics of Muhammad prophet. Along with other relics the shrine preserves the hair of Muhammad Prophet which is kept under the custodian ship of the Bandey family of Kashmir.
Hazratbal is often known for the legends which are believed by the local people of Kashmir. According to the legend, the relics were brought to India by a descendent of Prophet Muhammad
, Syed Abdullah who left Medina and lived in Bijapur
, near Hyderabad
in 1635. When Syed Abdullah died the relic was inherited by his son Syed Hamid who later on sold it to a Kashmiri businessman Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai. When the news of transferring the relic reached Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb, he imprisoned Khwaja Nur-ud-din Eshai and sent the relic to Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer
and decided to preserve the relic with him at Ajmer. However with the realization of his guilt he agreed to restore the relic with Khwaja Nur-ud-din Eshai and allow him to take it to Kashmir. Till then Khwaja Sahib died in imprisonment but the relic did reach Kashmir and under the custodian ship of Nyayat begum, daughter of Khwaja Nur-ud-din Eshai, the shrine was constructed and the relic was restored with the body of Khwaja Nur-ud-din Eshai. As Nyayat Begum was later on married to the well known Bandey family of Kashmir, this family automatically became the custodians of Hazrat bal and the relic of Muhammad prophet.
Thus, Hazratbal has been one of the most prominent places in Kashmir. This is perhaps the only shrine in the world which has a single doom and a pillar. With its legendary background and exotic appearance it is not only visited by the large number of devotees but also by the tourists who enjoy the splendid view of the mosque.