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Anantnag District

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About the Anantnag district

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Anantnag District Information
Anantnag District, famous for countless springs and streams, is situated in South Kashmir having an area of 3984 Sq. Kms. The District consists of five Tehsils viz Anantnag, Bijbehara, Kulgam, Pahalgam and Dooru which have further been subdivided into twenty six Niabat Circles and 150 Patwar Halqas. There are 645 villages including 19 un- inhabited villages in the District. These villages are further grouped in 12 Community Blocks, namely Achabal, Breng, Dachnipora, Khoveripora, D.H. Pora, Kulgam, Qazigund, Qaimoh, Shahabad, Shangus, Pahloo and Devsar. Urban areas of the District consists of one T.A.C and nine NAC’s. The population of the District as per Census 2001 is 11.70 lac souls representing 11.6% of J&K State population. The level of literacy rate as per latest census is 44 % as compared to 54% at state level. The density of population is 294 Sq. km. and sex ratio is 922 females per 1000 males as per Census 2001.

Anantnag is one of the six districts of the Kashmir Valley situated in its south and south western direction. Geographically the district lies between 33o-20' to 34o-15' north latitude and 74o-30' to 75o-35' east longitude, bounded in the north and north-west by Srinagar and Pulwama districts respectively and in the north east by Kargil district. It is also bounded by Doda and Kishtwar tehsil of Doda district in the east and south east and bordered by tehsil Gool Gulab Garh of Udhampur district, Ramban teshsil of Doda district and tehsil Budhal of Rajauri district in the south and south-west. However, its western portion is contigous with Mendhar tehsil. Its entire southern sector and major part of the eastern region is strewn with thick forests and mountains. The height of these mountains in the east, south and west of the district ranges between 2438 meters to 3048 meters and in some areas, the peaks even soar to a height of 4572 meters. On the west the district is bounded by mighty Pir Panchal range mountains, through which passes the world famous Jawahar Tunnel.

Situated 55 Kms.of the south-east of Srinagar, Anantnag district is spread over an area of 3934 Sq.Kms.with a population of approx.8.50 lakhs. It is bounded by Srinagar district in the north,Pulwama districts in the north west and Kargil district in the north east. It is flanked by Doda and Udhampur districts in the east and south east and by district of Rajouri south west. The Anantnag district is called the Granary of the Kashmir Valley. It is the third highly populous district of the Valley after Srinagar and Baramulla. About 89 percent of the population lives in the rural areas and is mostly engaged in agriculture, the principal crops being rice and maize. The district is divided into 5 tehsils, 10 community development blocks, 8 towns, 149 panchayats and 645 villages. The tehsils include Anantnag, Doru, Kulgam, Pahalgam and Bijbehara. The blocks are Sahabad, Achabal, Shangus, Kulgam, Damhal Hajipora, Qaimoh, Breng, Qazigund, Khoverpora and Dachnipora. The population density per Sq.Kms.in the district is 165. Culturally, the district is no different from any other area of the Valley. Kashmiri and Urdu are the main languages of people while rice is their staple food.

The District is having largest number of health resorts in the State, of them particular mention is made of Verinag, Kokernag, Achabal, Daksum and Pahalgam. These health resorts attract a good number of tourists which helps in raising the income level of persons engaged in tourist industry.

The District is also famous for Holy Amarnath Cave situated in Pahalgam Tehsil where thousands of Pilgrims visit every year from all over the Country . The Cave is said to have been discovered by party of Kashmiri Muslim Shepard of Pahalgam area.

History
Anantnag has for long enjoyed the status of the second largest city of the Valley. The name of Anantnag District according to a well known archaeologist, Sir A.Stein from the great spring Ananta Naga issuing at the southern end of the town. This is also corroborated by almost all local historians including Kalhana according to whom the town has taken the name of this great spring of Cesha or Ananta Naga land of countless springs. The spring is mentioned in the Neelmat Purana as a sacred place for the Hindus and Koshur Encyclopedia testifies it. The district as well as its headquarter town are also called Islamabad. Regarding this second name no mention is to be found in the old chronicles of Kashmir. It is however, said that the name of Islamabad was assigned to the town by one Islam Khan who was the Governor of Kashmir during the Mughal rule in 1663 A.D., but the change in its nomenclature proved temporary and during the reign of Gulab Singh the town as well as district again resumed their old name, Anantnag, but stillbut still the name Islamabad is Popular among common masses, though officially the name Anantnag is used.

Before the advent of Muslim rule in 1320 A.D., Kashmir was divided into three divisions, viz; Maraz in the south, Yamraj in the centre and Kamraj in the north of the Valley. Old chronicles reveal that the division was the culmination of the rift Marhan and Kaman, the two brothers, over the crown of their father. The part of the valley which lies between Pir Panjal and Srinagar now called the Anantnag was given to Marhan and named after him as Maraj. While Srinagar is no longer known as Yamraj, the area to its north and south are still called Kamraz and Maraz respectively. Lawrence in his book ‘The Valley of Kashmir’ states that these divisions were later on divided into thirty four sub-divisions which after 1871 were again reduced to five Zilas or districts.

Anantnag like the rest of the Kashmir Valley has witnessed many vicissitudes and experienced many upheavals from time to time. Hugel found here some monuments of the Mughal period in ruins when he visited Kashmir in 1835. No significant ancient building or archaeological site is found in the district today except the Martand temple. What must have once been magnificent architectural show pieces like the Martand complex of temples situated at a distance of nine kilometers from the district headquarters or the palaces of Laltaditya and Awantivarman at Awantipora lying midway between Srinagar and Anantnag town are now in grand ruins. The majestic Martand temple is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. Its impressive architecture reveals the glorious past of the area. Martand temple is the clear expression of Kashmir’s pristine glory. The Mughal Emperors especially Jehangir developed many beauty spots of the district, but of their noble and magnificent edifices only fainted traces survive. All the same, even in their present ruinous conditions, these monuments do not fail to feast the eye or excite the imagination of admirers at large.

Climate
Anantnag District possesses all the typical characteristics of the climate of Kashmir Valley as a whole. In his introduction to the Rajtarangini Kulan or Kakhana Pundit says about the climate of Valley: 'It is a country where the son shines mildly, being the place created by Kashayapa as if for his glory. High school-houses, the saffron, iced water and grapes, which are rare even in heaven, are common here. Kailasa is the best place in the three worlds, Himalaya the best part of Kailasa, and Kashmir the best place in Himalaya'.

Sir Walter Lawrence writes in his book 'The Valley of Kashmir' that in latitude Kashmir corresponds with Peshawar, Baghdad and Damascus in Asia: with Fez in Morocco: and South Carolina in America, but it presents none of the characteristics of those countries. People have linked the climate of Kashmir to that of Switzerland until the end of may, and of Southern France in July and August. But is is impossible to speak of Kashmir as possessing any one climate or group of characteristics. Every hundred feet of elevation brings some new phase of climate and of vegetation.

Generally the year has been divided into four seasons and every season has got its own charm and particular characteristics. One can visit the district during any season, but the best period to visit this place is from the month of May to September. Spring Season lasts from March to May. The weather remains pleasant and snows start smelting from the plains and mountains. Summer Season lasts from the month of June to August. Weather is a bit hot and temperature may go up to 35oC. It rains heavily during this period. Autumn Season lasts from the month of September November. Weather remains pleasant but nights get colder. This season has its own charm and the trees start shedding leaves. Chinars present a fascinating look during this season. Winter Season lasts from December to February. This season is very cold and temperature may get below the 0o C. Snow falls during this period and whole valley presents a fascinating look. This season is ideal for winter games.

Meteorological Department has established its weather monitoring stations at various places in the district. The main stations are at Kokernag, Qazigund and Pahalgam. Data on rainfall is recorded through rain-gauge stations located at various places. The amount of rainfall received during the last 24 hours is recorded at 8:30 hours (IST) everyday. A day recording rainfall of at least 1/10the of an inch is taken as a rainy day. The data recorded at gauge stations in the district is given as under:- 

Language
Kashmiri is the most popular language of the district. Though the official language is Urdu, but Kashmiri is mostly spoken. Gojri is another language which is used by the Jujjar and Bakerwal tribes who are mostly living in the rural and upper reaches of the district. Pahari is also used by a small population. Most of the people can speak Kashmiri and Urdu languages. English is spoken by educated section of the society.

Folk Dances & Songs
Ru, Bandpather and Dambali are the folk dances. In Ru women stand in rows advancing and retreating, singing the Ru song. The song is pretty and dance is graceful. Some people consider Dambali or Zikr as a religious exercise. It serves the same purpose as the dancee of Darwesh. The mind is thrown into whirl, and the dancers fall into a religious ecstasy. Generally the Dambali is held at the annual fairs held at the various shrines. 

Bhand Pather is a traditional folk theatre style combination of play and dance in a satirical style where social traditions , evils are depicted and performed in various social and cultural functions. Bhand Jashan is performed by a group of 10 to 15 artists in their traditional style accompanied by light music for the entertainment of people.

Chakri
It is most popular form of Kashmiri folk music. It has some resemblance with chakra of mountainous regions of Uttar Pradesh. Normally Garaha, Sarangi, Rabab were the musical instruments used in the past. But now the harmonium too has made its way in its presentation.

Fairs
The annual fairs held at various shrines are red letter days in the lives of the people. Thousands crowd together and spend the day eating and buying fairings

Religion
Islam is the dominant religion and the Muslims form the majority of the population.  Next comes the Hindu population and in some villages there is a good number of Sikhs also. In spite of the existence of many religions people are quite liberal and possess and adopt a progressive way of life. Almost everywhere in the towns and villages Mosques, Shrines of Saints and Sofis (Reshis) and temples are found. 

Food 
People are fond of eating. The chief staples of food being rice, vegetables, oil, salt and pepper and milk. Poultry products are also used in abundance. The meat (mutton and beef) is also eaten very often. Fish is also eaten but not so commonly. Most of the people are fond of tea with salt and milk (Nun Chai). Tea with sugar is also finding its way into the homes. Kahwa (tea without milk mixed with other 11 ingredients) is also common. Both tea (Nun Chai) nad Kahwa are made in Russian Samovar, which is a popular institution is Kashmir. Tea is said to have been introduced in Kashmir by Mirza Haider from Yarkand. 

Kashmiri Wazawan: (Kashmiri Cuisine)
The history of modern Kashmiri cuisine can be traced back to the fifteenth century invasion of India by Timur, and the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir. The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the royal Wazwan. Of its thirty-six courses, between fifteen and thirty can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight by the master chef, Vasta Waza, and his retinue of wazas. Guests are seated in groups of four and share the meal out of a large metal plate called the trami. The meal begins with a ritual washing of hands at a basin called the tash-t-nari, which is taken around by attendants. Then the tramis arrive, heaped with rice, quartered by four seekh kababs and contains four pieces of methi korma, one tabak maaz, one safed murg, one zafrani murg, and the first few courses. Curd and chutney are served seperately in small earthen pots. Seven dishes are a must for these occassions-- Rista, Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Daniwal Korma, Aab Gosht, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba. The meal ends with the Gushtaba. Most commonly served are ristas or meat balls of finely pounded mutton and cooked in a gravy; seekh kababs; tabak maz or flat pieces of meat cut from the ribs and fried till they acquire a crisp crackling texture; rogan josh owes its rich red colour to the generous use of Kashmiri chilies. Chicken yakhni ows its cream colour and delicate flavour to the use of curd as a base. Dam aloo and chaman are the commonly served vegetarian dishes. Almost all the hotels serve the wazawan dishes on their menus.

Kashmiri Breads
All the local bakery shops serve Kashmiri breads like 'sheermal' and 'baqerkhani', without which no Kashmiri breakfast is complete. Kashmiris use a variety of breads seldom seen elsewhere. Tsot and tsochvoru are small round breads, topped with poppy and sesame seeds and traditionally washed down with salt tea. Lavas is a cream coloured unleavened bread; baqerkhani is the Kashmiri equivalent of rough puff pastry and kulcha is a melt-in-the mouth variety of short-bread, sweet or savoury, topped with poppy seeds

Dress
Besides other usual dresses, Pheran is the unique dress used by every Kashmiri. This garment somewhere between a coat and a cloak, is eminently suited to the Kashmiri way of life, being loose enough to admit the inevitable brazier of live coals which is carried around in much the same way as a hot water  bottle. Men's Pherans are always made of tweed or coarse wool; women's pherans, somewhat more stylized are most commonly made of raffel, splashes of ari or hook embroidery at the throat, cuffs and edges. The quality of embroidery and thickness of the raffel determines the price. 

Kanger
The useful Kangar, which forms so important part of the Kashmiri's life, must not be left unnoticed. There is a proverb 'What Laila was on Majnun's bosom so is the Kangar to a Kashmiri.' The Kangar is a small earthenware bowl of a quaint shape, held in a frame of wicker work. In the winter and even in the summer when the rains chill the air, hot embers are put into the Kangar and is slipped under the voluminous gown (Pheran) which all the Kashmiris wear. The Kangar has been stated to have been introduced from Italy, but as there is mention of it in Raj Tarangni it seems probable that it is indigenous. 

Customs of Birth, Death & Marriage
The customs and ceremonies ceonnected with birth marriage and death in Anantnag (Kashmir) are of some interest it may be of use to enumerate them at some length. It must be explained that the customs vary according to the position and wealth of families, and that there is some difference between the observances of the city people and the villagers, But the chief incidents in birth, marriage  and death are the same, and in the following description is given of the practices  of the average Hindu and the average Musalman. And inasmuch as the Musalman villagers and the Kashmiri Pandit are the most important and numerous classes in the valley, their customs and ceremonies have been set forth and attempt has not been made to give the special observances of the Hanji, Watal and other tribes.  Though these tribes have their special customs , the main ideas and ceremonies are practically the same as those which are found among the villagers. If a comparison be made between the customs of the Hindus and the Musalmans, it will be seen that there are many points of resemblance , and the curious prominence of the walnut and salt, and the use of the mendhi dye, will be noticed. Besides the mehnzsrat, or use of the mendhi dye, in both religions there is the laganchir or fixing of the marriage day; Phirsal, the visit paid by the bridegroom to the bride’s house after marriage ; gulimiut, the giving of money and jewels; the dress and the title of the bridegroom as maharaja and of the bride as maharani; chudsu, the giving of presents on the fourth day after death, and the wehrrwari and barsi, the celebration respectively of the birthday and day of death. The vernacular words must be given in the text, instead of relegating them to the glossary, for they have no English synonyms . they are words which one hears in daily intercourse with the people, and any one who has work in the valley will find that a knowledge of these words  and customs will give him a hold over the Kashmiris.

Historical Places and Monuments
Kashmir is the land of Saints, Sofis and Munis and Anantnag district being part of the Kashmir Valley is no exception. The Anantnag is bestowed with religious wealth in the form of numerous shrines and places of worship enjoying reverence and allegiance of people professing different faiths. There are numerous sepulchers of saints which have enchanting environs, while visiting these shrines, one feels in close proximity of Almighty.  Some of the shrines have historical importance in addition to religious significance attached to them. These shrines belong to both Hindus and Muslims and are visited by thousands of devotees. Some of the shrines are the world famous shrine of Amarnath Ji and other famous shrines of Reshis like famous shrine of Baba-Zain-ud-Din Wali (Aishmuqam), Baba Hyder Reshi (Anantnag), the last of the giants of the Rishi order in Kashmir about whose resting place the Alamda-i-Kashmir (Flag Bearer of Kashmir), Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Rishi had foretold his diciples, Baba Dawood Ghoni (Vailoo), Hazrat Noor Shah Bagdadi (Kund), Hazrat Sheikh Syed Samnani (Kulgam) and bab Naseeb-ud-Din Ghazi (Bijbehara). Besides, the shrines at Kabamarg and Khiram share the distinction of possessing the Holy relice of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The devotees of the district and other places visit these shrines particularly on days when the fstivals connected with the shrines are celebrated. A brief description of some of the important shrines and historical places of the district is given here.

Mattan
The temples of Mattan are located midway between Anantnag and Pahalgam. There is a Shiva Temple in the centre of a deep pond.

Martand Temple
Of all the interesting sights in the vicinity of Anantnag, the ruins of Martand hold the first place and they are easy to access, being just 10 Kms. from the main town Anantnag. It lies on the krewa above Islamabad , and is easily reached from Anantnag.(Islamabad),  Bawan and Achabal. The runis of the Hindu temple of Martand or, as it is  commonly called, the Pandu-Koru, or the house of the Pandus and Korus—the Cyclopes of the east- are situated on the highest part of a krewa, where it commences to rise to its juncture with the mountains. About 3 miles east of Islamabad, Occupying, undoubtedly, the finest position in Kashmir, this noble ruins is the most striking in size and situation of all the existing remains of Kashmir grandeur. The temple itself is not now more than 40 feet in height, but its solid walls and bold outlines, towering over the fluted pillars of the surrounding colonnade , given it a most imposing appearance.

There are no petty confused details, but all are district and massive, and most admirably suited to the general character of the building. Many vain speculations have been hazarded regarding the date of erection of this temple, and the worship to which it was appropriated , It is usually called the House of the Pandus by the Brahmins , and by the people “Martand”, or the sun, to which the temple was dedicated. The true date of the erection of this temple—the wonder of Kashmir is a disputed  point of chronology; but the period of its foundation can be determined within the limits of one century, or between A.D 370 and 500, The mass of building now known by the name of Martand consists of one lofty central edifice, with a small detached wing on each side of the entrance, the whole standing in a large quadrangle surrounded by a colonnade of fluted pillars with intervening , trefoil headed recesses. The length of the outer side of the wall, which is blank, is about 90 yards; that of the front is about 56. There are in all eighty four columns—a singularly appropriate number in a temple of the sun, if as is supposed , the number eighty four is accounted sacred by the Hindus in consequence of its being the multiple of the number of days in the week with the number of signs in the zodiac. The colonnade is recorded in the Rajatarangini as the work of the famous king Laltaditya, who reigned from A.D.693 to 729 . >From the same authority we gather though the interruption  of the verses is considerably disputed that the temple itself was built by Ranaditya and the side chapels, or at least one of them, by his queen, Amritaprakha . the date of Ranaditya’s reign is involved in some obscurity, but it may safely be conjectured that he died in the first half of the fifth century after Christ. The remains of three gateways opening  into the court are now standing. The principal of these fronts due west towards Islamabad. It is also rectangular in its details and built with enormous blocks of limestone, 6 or 8 feet in length, and one of 9, and of proportionate solidity, cemented with an excellent mortar. Fergusson gives the date of Martand as A.D.750, and fixes the reign of Ranaditya as A.D.578-594.

The central building is 63 feet in length by 36 in width,, and alone of all the temples of Kashmir possesses, in addition to the cella or sanctuary, a choir and nave, termed in Sanskrit the antarala and arddhamandapa; the nave is 18 feet square, the sanctuary alone is left entirely bare, the two other compartments being lined with rich panellings and sculptured niches. As the main building is at present entirely uncovered the original form of the roof can only be determined by a reference to other temples and to the general form and character of the various parts of the Maratand temple itself. It has been conjectured that the roof was of pyramidal from, and that the iterance chamber and wings were similarly covered. There would thus have been four distinct pyramids, of which that over the inner chamber must have been the loftiest , the height of its pinnacle above the ground being about 75 feet.

The interior must have been as imposing as the exterior. On ascending the flight of steps, now covered by ruins , the votary of the sun entered a highly decorated chamber, with a doorway on each side covered by a pediment with a trefoil headed niche containing a bust of the Hindu triad, and on the flanks of the main entrance , as well as on those of the side doorways, were pointed ad trefoil niches, each of which held a statue of a Hindu deity. The interior decorations of the roof can only be conjecturally determined, as there do not appear to be nay ornamented stones that that could with certainty be assigned to it. Baron Hugel doubts  that Martand ever had a roof, but as the walls of the temple are still standing the numerous heaps of large stones that are scattered about on all sides can only have belonged to the roof.

Cunningham thinks that the erections of this sun temple was suggested by the magnificent sunny prospect which its position commands. It overlooks the finest view in Kashmir, and perhaps  in the known world. Beneath it lies the paradise of the east, with its sacred streams and glens, its orchards and green fields , surrounded on all sides by vast snowy mountains, whose lofty  peaks seem to smile upon the beautiful  valley below. The vast extent of the scene makes it sublime; for this magnificent view of Kashmir is no petty peer in a half mile glen, but the full display of a valley 60 miles in breadth and upwards of 100 miles in length the whole of which lies beneath the “ ken of the wonderful Martand”.

Shrines
The most important shrine is of Amarnath cave situated about 48 KMs from Pahalgam which attracts devotees from all over the world. It is located in the upper reaches of the Distt at an altitude of about 13000ft. from the sea level. Shrine is believed to be an abode of lord Shiva.

There are famous temples at Anantnag,Deviangan,Bijbehara, Akingam,Lukbhavan, and Goswami Gund,Nagdandi Ashram.

Ziarat Hazrat Zain-ud-Din Wali
The shrine of Hazrat Azin-ud-Din Wali is situated on a hill lock, about 20 Kms. short of the famous hill resort of Pahalgam overlooking the bewitching Lidder Valley. The road to the shrine branches off to the right from main Anantnag-Pahalgam road. A few hundred metres walk or drive takes one to the foot of the stone stair leading to the shrine. The mausoleum is located inside a deep cave atop the hill, about 100 meters high than the main road.

Village Aishmuqam is very well known in every part of Kashmir on account of the historical shrine of sheikh Zain-ud-din who lived in the 15th century A.D. and was one of the principal disciples of Sheikh Nur-ud-din, the leading Rehsi of Kashmir.

It is commonly known in Kashmir that Sheikh Zain-ud-din, who was known by the name of Zia Singh before his conversion was a prince and belonged to the ruling Rajas of Kishtwar. His father Yesh Singh, the then Kishtwar ruler, is said to have been assassinated when Zia Singh was only 13 years old. Zia Singh is believed to have been suffering from some disease which took a serious turn leaving no aspect of his recovery. Sheikh Nur-ud-din is said to have passed through Kishtwar just at that time and having heard of his miraculous performances, Zia Singh’s mother begged of the Sheikh to visit the patients and to pray for his recovery. The Sheikh agreed to pray on the understanding that Zia Singh would meet him in Kashmir after the recovered. Zia Singh did not however keep his promise and after sometime he was agsin confined to bed. His mother kept on crying day and night until she had a vision in which the Sheikh Zia Singh’s mother promised that she would fulfil her obligation this time if her son would recover again. With the restoration of his normal health, Zia Singh proceeded to Kashmir to meet his benedictor. The mother and the son undertook the hazardous journey from Kishtwar to Bumzua, a village about 8 miles south of Aishmuqam, where Sheikh Nur-ud-din was staying at that time. It was at this place that both Zia Singh and his mother embraced Islam under the maens of zain-ud-din and Zoon Ded respectively.

Among the local inhabitants  the legend has it that Zain-ud-din medicated for a long time in village Mandjan of Tehsil Sopore where he attained spiritual  perfection, It was at this stage that Sheikh Nur-ud-din advised him to migrate to the cave at Aishmuqam and to meditate there for the remaining period of his life. On his arrival, sheikh Zain-ud-din found the entrance to the cave blocked  by snakes, cobras and reptiles, It is said that the saint carried with him a club which he had received from his master. Seeing the serpents he placed the club on the ground and it was instantaneously transformed into a dreadful cobra. The snakes in the cave got awestricken and not only surrendered to the Sheikh but also vacated it and migrated to the village Phuurpujan which is about 16 miles to the east of Aishmuqam. 

The exact date of the death of the saint is not known. His urs or anniversary is, however , being celebration on the 13th day of Basakh corresponding to 25th of April. Two mosques on unknown as Khankah are also attached to the shrine. The Khankah  besides being used for prayers is also a repository of the relics of the saint which are held in high esteem.These consist o a bow, a patten, a wooden bread, a rosary, a wooden club and a copy of Quran. It is said that the saint observed fasts frequently and whenever he felt hungry he licked th wooden bread to satisfy his appetite. These relics are publicly displayed whenever the village meets with some catastrophy, such as a femine, epidemic, etc. The shrine attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the valley every year. On the date of anniversary of the saint congregational prayers are held which are attended to by no less than 20,000 people.

According to the legend, the festival continues to be celebrated from pre-Islamic times and dates back to about 2,000 years. The shrine of Zain-ud-din is respected by all communities and they actively participate in the celebration of the anniversary. There is no restriction to the entry into the shrine which is open to visits by persons of either sex and of any community.

Ziarat Baba Hyder Reshi (Reshi Maloo)
The tomb of Baba Hyder Reshi popularly known as Harda Reshi or Reshi Molu, the saint at whose anniversary local people of the area abstain from flesh eating for one week, is visited by both Muslims and Hindus alike. The shrine is one of the famous places frequented by people from all over the valley. It is Situated in Mohalla Reshi Sahib in Anantnag Town. The body of the saint is enshrined alongwith 21 of his disciples in the tomb.

Born on 29th Rajab, 909 Hijri ( 17-1-1504) A.D. in village Dandar of Tehsil Anantnag in the house of Sheikh Abdulla a blacksmith by profession, Baba Hyder Rehsi is said to have performed graet miracles in his very childhood. He used a look after cultivation, tend cattle, and spent his life in complete celibacy. His spiritual guode had been Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom Sahib, a great saint of Kashmir whose shrine is situated on the hill of Hari Parbat located in Srinagar city. From him, he is said to have received religious education and spiritual inspiration.

Baba Reshi came into  prominence when the then ruler of Kashmir Ali Shah Chak and the prince Yousuf Shah Chak started paying courtesy calls on him. The one time graet scholar and chief Qazi of Kashmir Baba Dawood Khaki also used to visist him. Rehsi Saheb possessed graet spiritual powers and abstained throughout his life from eating meat and onions. Some of the miracles attributed to him are given below:

An eighty tear old devotee of the saint Ab.Rahim Badal who was a rich man had no issue and had given up all hopes to have one. One day he visited the saint asked for what was apparently impossible. The saint offered an apple to his devotee. After nine months a male child was born in his house who was named Mohd Sharief. However, the child’s mother died. The child refused to suckle any other breast. When brought before him, the saint put his own finger into the child’s mouth which he at once  started sucking. The child in his own adulthood attained spiritual enlightment  and later joined as one of the disciples  of the saint. The saint is said to have passed away in 976 Hijri ( 1568 A.D.) at the age of 67 years in deep meditation. The relic has been passed from Khalifa Hazrat Ali to Shiekh Shahad-ud-din Sohrawardi and afterwards it is said to have been presented to Baba Reshi by Hazrat Makhdoom Sahib when the former accepted him as his spiritual guide. There is also a rosery and a walking stick of the saint preserved in the shrine of Reshi Sahib.

Masjid Syed Sahib
The mosque of Syed Sahib has been constructed in the memory of one Hazrat Syed Mohd. Inayat-ullah Qadiri Samnani who came to Kashmir along with other disciples from Samnan city (Central Asia) in the year 936 Hijri (1528 A.D.). He undertook the construction of the mosque in the town in the same year which is now situated at the foot of the Anichteep of the Martand Plateau. The saint died at the age of 75 years in 995 Hijri on Friday the 6th Shaban (27-1-1587) A.D. His body is buried in the nearby shrine. The death anniversary of the saint Hazrat Syed Sahib is observed every year according to Islamic calendar on 8th of Shaban.

Khir Bhawani Asthapan (Devibal)
Devibal temple is situated in mohalla Khaki Sahiban and is just adjacent to the mosque of Hazrat Sheikh Baba Dawood Khaki. It is dedicated to the holy spring of Khir Bhawani which issues here and is now enshrined in a small stone-built one storey temple. It attracts a good number of devotees and is considered a holy place by the entire kashmiri pandit community. It attracts a large congregation every day and is said to have the same importance as that of Khir Bawani temple in Tulamula of Srinagar district. According to a local legend it is believed that once the famous saint of the town Reshi Molu, held in great esteem by Muslims and Hindus of the valley alike, had prayed for the holy “Darshan” of Goddess Durga and requested her to show her presence in the town. She is believed to have acceded to his request and later appeared in his dream in which she is said to have communicated to him that She is already present in the from of small spring. According to another belief it is believed that Wazir Panu had a dream in which Goddess Durga told him that She was living underneath the spring. He located the spring and asked one of the priests namely Balkak to look after it. Maharaja Pratap Singh while on his way to Jammu or Back to Srinagar would stop here and pray in the name of the Goddess and offer lot of milk in the spring. He also donated some cultivable lands in the name of the shrine. The water that issues from the spring is reported to be changing colours.

Chapel of John Bishop
A small Chapel located in the premises of John Bishop Memorial Hospital, Anantnag is situated in the eastern end of the town in mohalla Sarnal and is the only praying ground for the Christians of the town. The Chapel was built in 1942 primarily to meet the needs of protestant Christians of the town and the Christians employees working in the John Bishop Memorial Hospital as also the then high protestant Christians officials posted in and around the town.

Uma Devi of Uma Nagri
Goddess Uma is said to have selected Her abode in the lap of great Himalayas in Kashmir in Umanagri, Uttersoo in Anantnag Tehsil. She is believed to have manifested herself in in the form of a stream and appeared in the shape on “Omkar” in five springs. It is said  that one Shri Shiv Ram Ji who later assumed the name of Swami Shivananda  had attained the high reputation and  sincerity and that while supervising the collection of paddy in the adjoining village of Brah, one of the peasants  pointed out to him the grain husks sticking  to his shawl and reminded him to swift  them off before leaving the grain-store. This sarcastic remark had a shocking effect on him and he is said to have thought of detaching himself from the worldly things and started meditating round the clock at Snusha a secluded place near Brah. He is then said to have had a divine vision of Mother Uma directing him to go to her abode at Village Uttarasoo. Accordingly, he located the place and went into deep meditation on the specified spot. He lit a continous pyre (Dhooni) at the place of his meditation near the spring. A Vedic Yagh is since then being performed on the anniversary of the Swami Sivananda in the month of ‘Phusa’ every year and the relics  of the Swami are still preserved at the Dhooni Sashib which are worshipped by numberless devotees. The situation of the shrine comprises 5 springs located in the form of divine Omkara. Out of these springs, 2 merge into a single spring thereby signifying the communion  of Shiva and Shakti. The sacred shrine attracts large pilgrims and is revered by all faiths.

Nagdandi
About two kilometres away from the historical and picturesque town of Achabal, on the right side of the road to Uma Devi (Brari-Aangan), there is the Ramakrishnan Mahasammelan Ashram, which was founded by late Swami Ashokananda, more than forty years ago. It is a fairy big Ashram now, a compact complex of some buildings and a small temple dedicated to Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa, at the foot of wooded Achabal hills. The Samadhi of Swami Ashokananda is within the precincts of the Ashram.

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