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Home » Monuments In Kashmir » The Hari Parbat Fort In Kashmir

The Hari Parbat Fort In Kashmir

The Hari Parbat Fort In Kashmir

The Hari Parbat Fort In Kashmir

The hill of Hari Parbat crowned by the Pathan fort which is visible from every part of the city, has from time immemorial been a place of great sanctity in Kashmir
Legend, corroborated by modern science, informs us that the valley was, in prehistoric times, a vast lake, which must have been one of the most beautiful in the world. In this lake dwelt the water-demon Jalodbhava. The Sarikamahatmya tells us, circumstantially, the story of the defeat and destruction of this demon: how the monster wrought havoc among the mountains of the adjacent districts, but being invulnerable in his own element, and declining to fight at a disadvantage on land, continued his life of depredation in impudent security for a long time; how the gods fumed and stormed in impotent rage, and finally resolved to lay the matter before the Almighty Mother Sati, the controller of the titanic forces of nature; how she assumed the form of a Sarika bird (maina) and taking a pebble in her beak dropped it at the spot where she knew the demon was lying, lulled into false security; and finally how the pebble swelled into gigantic proportions and crushed the demon by its weight. The pebble to this day survives under the name of Hari Parbat, and a depression in the ground outside the Sangin Darwaza of the fort wall is pointed out as the spot wherefrom the panting breath of the demon forced its way out, as he was struggling under the crushing weight over him. The legend adds that the gods in grateful memory of their deliverance took up their abode here, which accounts for the fact that every individual stone, large and small, on this hill is reverenced by the orthodox Brahmans as the representative of one of the thirty-three crores of gods which comprise the Hindu pantheon.

In modern times, both Hindus and Muslims have appropriated parts of the hill for their shrines.The fort which crowns the summit is a commonplace structure (Plate XI), but this cannot be said of Akbar's rampart and its gates, Kathi Darwaza and Sangin Darwaza, and the mosque of Akhun Mulla Shah, which are well worth a visit. The rampart, which is for the most part in ruins, is nearly 3 miles in circumference. The Kathi Darwaza seems to have been the principal entrance, judging from the fact that the inscriptions have been put up only here. It is a very simple structure, comprising a domed chamber in the middle with two side-recesses. Its only external decorations are rectangular and arched panels and two beautiful medallions, in high relief, on the spandrels of the arch.

The Sangin Darwaza, The Stone Gate, differs from Kathi Darwaza in being more ornate. The exterior is decorated by two corbelled windows, and there are two stairs, one on each side, which give access to the roof.

According to tradition, which is still living, the construction of the Hari Parbat, or, as Akbar named it, Nagar-Nagar, rampart was started as a relief work, to alleviate the distress of the people during a famine. The historian Suka states that the emperor, on hearing of the hardship inflicted upon the citizens by the troops, who for want of accommodation had been quartered upon them, had a cantonment built on the slopes of the Hari Parbat hill, which from that time became a fiourishing settlement