Kashmir is known as reshe-vaer (abode of saints). These rishis or holy-men stationed themselves far from the maddening crowd in different parts of the valley.
People visit them from every nook and corner to seek spiritual guidance and mental peace. One among them is Hazrat Baba Shukr-ud-din Wali (RA) who stayed at Kraale Sangr (Sharikot hill) in Watlub, Sopore, about 75 kilometers from the capital city of Srinagar.
This shrine which is visited by the devotees throughout the year is popularly known as Babe-Shukrun.
Born at Arith Pargana, Machhama, district Budgam in 790 Hijri as per Islamic Calendar; Baba Shukr-ud-din Saheb (RA) was a hardworking and holy person who came under the influence of two pious and great personalities, like Shaikh-ul-Aalum (RA) and Hazrat Zain-ud-Din Rishi (RA).
It is believed that Shaikh-ul-Aalum (RA) sent him to Ashimuqam, Islamabad, to meet Hazrat Zain-ud-Din Rishi (RA) from whom he received the spiritual knowledge and guidance.
After a few years, he was told to go to Sharikot Hill in Watlub, Sopore and meditate there. Here, the Peer Baba assisted the locals and performed miracles. As his fame grew, people from all religions flocked around him to seek help and spiritual direction in different life-related-matters.
Hazrat Baba Payam-ud-Din Rishi (RA) of Tangmarg (Gulmarg) was once his assistant or we can say that Baba Rishi (RA) remained his mureed (disciple). He got impressed by his services and then was blessed by Baba Shukar-ud-Din to get settled in Tangmarg area popularly known among people as Baba Rishi.
One can easily look at the shrine of Baba Rishi from the Ziarat (shrine) of Baba Shaukar-ud-Din provided there is no murkiness in the sky. Baba Rishi Saheb has gifted Baba Shuakar-ud-Din, a decorated wooden-door which is permanently displayed at the entrance of the shrine.
One must not forget to look at this door and feel the craftsmanship by touching it when one visits this famous shrine in Sopore. Baba Rishi has done a great service to Baba Shukr-ud-din Wali. He used to carry water in a bucket for his Peer (mentor).
For this, Baba Shukr-ud-din blessed him the top most place where he can always look at his most obedient disciple. It is the highest example of peer-mureed (teacher-taught) relationship here.
Good and obedient students always live up to the expectations of their mentors in life who in turn bless them with the highest place of honor.
Hundreds of devotees visit this shrine to seek peace and spiritual guidance. Baba Shukar-ud-din Reshi helped in strengthening the very bond of harmony and brotherhood among the people of J&K and did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims.
Known among people as Topandaz-e-Kashmir, Baba Shuakar-ud-Din (RA) is believed to neutralise evils. It is said in Kashmiri that ‘Rish Saebus Gaye Aamy ta Baba Shaukarun Saebus Gaye Khaasy’ (people in general visit Baba Rishi; however, Baba Shukr-ud-din Saheb is believed to be visited by special devotees thought out the year).
In the foothills of the shrine of Baba Shuakar-ud-Din is situated in a village called Zurimanz, which is not only a great source of recreation but a great booster to the sector of tourism.
The government should broaden the road connectivity to this village which provides a large quantity of trout-fish, gaer (water-chestnuts) and nadroo (lotus-root) every year. The lake banks if developed on modern lines may attract a large number of tourists.
The locals living in the foothills of the shrine can earn their livelihood, seasonally, by selling the above products in the market. However, the tourists who visit the village in summer months quite often complain that the village requires road connectivity and that the lake needs dredging.
The devotees should be provided all types of facilities which will not only boost the income of the Ziarat but will also enhance the number of devotees every year. When road to Gulmarg and Sonamarg can be developed, why the road to this shrine can’t be.
Although, the Intizamiya Committee has its own responsibilities, yet, certain facilities like road connectivity, water and electricity is always expects from the government.
The progress of the shrine can attract tourists, boost economy and help in employment generation for the local youth. Kraale Sangri overlooking Asia’s largest fresh water fabulous Wular Lake, in spring and autumn season, looks mesmerising.
The writer is teacher at Govt. Middle School, Shangergund (Dandusa), Rafiabad
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.