The seat of the saint

The week long Urs is celebrated annually at the Shrine of the saint

Greater Kashmir / Dr Farooq Ahmad Peer
Publish Date: Oct 12 2012 12:00PM

Sir Walter Lawrence in his book on Kashmir, The Valley of Kashmir says that Sheikh Nuru-ud-din WaliRA is the “national saint”, of Kashmir. He further says that “Musalmans from all parts of the valley flock to Charar-i-Sharief and when there is some imminent calamity to occur such as earthquake, cholera and drought; thousands gather there and sit silent on the hills around confessing their sins and begging for pardon. This impressive ceremony is known as Nafl”. Sheikh Nuru-ud-Din WaliRA is the most extolling personality of Kashmir who enjoys deep love and respect in the minds of the people irrespective of caste, colour, community, creed and religion. The people have the faith that he is their comforter and in whom they can confide their anxieties and woes. A huge number of devotee’s visit the shrine every day. The shrine is a place of attraction because it has been very instrumental in forging unity among the Kashmiri masses particularly between the Muslims and the Non- Muslims. The week long Urs is celebrated annually at the Shrine of SheikhRA and during this course of time thousands of people visit and feel inspired. On Thursdays, special prayers are held every week which has become commonly known as “Chrar Braswar” (Thursday of Charar-i-Sharief).
 Immediately after SheikhRA took his heavenly flight to meet his Allah in 1438 after doing all for his suppressed and oppressed nation to come out from the miseries and darkness which had enveloped them from all corners, the people remembering his contributions took keen interest in the construction and development of his burial place at Chrar-i-Sharief and also established memorials at various other places where he had spend his time. In his name the Shrine and Khankah were established at Charar-i-Sharief by the people under the supervision and management of King Zain-ul-Abideen. Later sultan Ali Shah Chak (1570-78) extended the shrine by constructing a verandah of engraved wooden pillars around the shrine. In the early 19th century the Pathan ruler Atah Muhammad Khan, reconstructed the Khankah and the Tomb but due to certain reasons could not complete his mission. In 1951, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kashmir Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad completed the construction of the Shrine. In 1964, the management of the Shrine was taken over by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah as President of the Auquaf Trust. In 1995, the Shrine got damaged in a devastating fire which blazed almost the whole town of Charar-i-Sharief but after the incident of fire, the Shrine was rebuilt on the old pattern and while on visit one can still see that construction continues. Since 1995, a gap of 17 years has passed but Auquaf or the Waqaf Board of Kashmir which has the duty to look after all the Shrines of the Kashmir seems to have a tepid concern about the Shrine of the Saint. The Shrine still lacks suitable sanitary facilities and the pilgrims find it very difficult to offer ablutions and pay their obeisance at the Shine. As Muslims and followers of SheikhRA, we are duty bound not only to recite his verses in the functions and ceremonies but also to follow these in real spirit and adopt them practically. The Khankah or the Mosque for prayers at the Shrine for which Rs 19 crores had been allocated to JKPCC is still under construction. The executive council of the shrine has not also felt it obligatory to have a library on Sheikh Nuru-din-WaliRA where the people would get benefited from his teachings.
The annual Urs at the shrine is an august week long ceremony for the passionate devotees during which festivities are marked at Chrar Sharief in particular and at the memorial places like Kaimoh, Gophbel, Tsimar, Honistipura and at other places in general.

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