Thousands of devotees throng the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar for Eid-ul-Milad or the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad. For centuries, this dargah has represented an iconic image of communal harmony in the region.

From Home Minister Rajnath Singh to late prime minister Indira Gandhi, almost all the visiting dignitaries have ensured paying homage at this shrine on the banks of the famed Dal lake. Over the years, the head of the police force, irrespective of his religious ideologies, visits this shrine ahead of festivals to review the preparedness.

Here are seven interesting facts about the shrine:

  1. Nearly 25 kms away from Srinagar International Airport, Hazratbal dargah houses prophet Muhammad’s holy relic or Moi-e-Muqqadus, displayed to devotees only on some special occasions like Eid-ul-Milad.
  2. This new shrine was constructed in 1970s when the old historic building dated back to the 17th Century Mughal era was demolished as a part of a massive upgradation plan undertaken by the then chief minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.
  3. While many look at this marvel as a piece of “stone architecture”, experts claim that it’s actually a “concrete architecture with marble coating.”
  4. It was with Hazratbal dargah reconstruction that the dome-styled mosques and shrines picked up in Kashmir. Till then the Valley was not familiar with this style of Islamic architecture as the rooftops initially would generally be a pyramidal shape locally called brang.
  5. Even though the Hazratbal shrine is situated on the banks of the Dal lake, there’s no direct way to go to the dargah as several construction works on the lakeside has blocked the connectivity.
  6. Tourism department has approached INTACH, an organization into heritage conservation, to draft a detailed plan for beautification of entire Hazratbal shrine and its surroundings.
  7. Muhammad Saleem Beg, a prominent expert on heritage and member of the National Monument Authority, claims that the shrine needs to “re-establish its links with the lake and should equally have a regal entrance.”