Kathi Darwaza is the main entrance gate to the Hari Parbat Fort, which majestically stands atop a hill, overlooking Srinagar. As per the Persian inscription on gate, it was built in A. H. 1006 (A.D. 1597-98) by the orders of emperor Akbar.It is a fine specimen of the splendid Mughal architecture that evolved during the reign of the influential Mughal Empire. A domed chamber flanked by two bays is present at the centre of this imposing gateway. The ceiling and walls of this grand entrance are adorned with Persian inscriptions, which provide an insight into the Persian traditions followed by Mughals. The Kathi Darwaza was built in the rampart to serve as the principal entrances to the fort. Its chief decorations are arches and rectangular panels and two medallions in the high relief on the spandrels of the arch. .
The temple consists of a circular sanctum built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a long flight of steps flanked by two side walls. The plinth is surmounted by a parapet wall, the inner face of which is adorned by a range of arcuate recesses enclosed in rectangular panels. The upper part of the sikhara has disappeared. The temple is datable to circa seventh century A. D. The open area has been provided with some floories and beautificied.
The tomb was built by Sultan Zainul- Abidin. Its superstructure comprises of a main central dome with four smaller domes in the corners. It is embellished with glazed blue tiles. Another enclosure with gateway to the north of the tomb contains a number of tombs one of which is said to be of the king himself.
The mosque is said to have been built in A.D. 1623 by Empress Nur Jahan. Its façade consists of nine cusped arches including an arched portion in the centre. Its roof consists of twenty- seven domes which are partly ribbed and partly vaulted. The prayer hall has eighteen massive square columns.
Pari Mahal is a structure of six terraces built by Dara Shikoh. In the uppermost terrace, there are the ruins of two structures resembling a baradari and a reservoir.In the middle of second terrace is a large tank. The façade of the retaining wall is ornamented with series of twenty-one arches built in descending order. The third terrace has the main entrance. On either side of it are series of spacious rooms. The fourth terrace has remains of a tank. The fifth terrace has an arched retaining wall with pigeon holes. The sixth terrace has a rectangular tank in the middle and octagonal bastions at its ends. Fragments of earthen water pipes are still to be seen in the structure. The monuments is famous for its garden.
The site contains eleven megaliths five of which are erected and others have fallen. Excavation at the site has revealed a three fold cultural sequence, starting from the Neolithic period and succeeded by Megalithic and early historical cultures. Bone tools, stone tools and pottery have been unearthed, besides a number of dwelling and burial pits pertaining to the Neolithic period.
The most unforgettable and good-looking work of King Lalitaditya is the construction of spacious Martand temple, which the emperor got built in honor of the Sun God or Bhaskar. Lalitaditya was a Kshatriya of Surya (Solar) dynasty. The style of the construction of the temple and the skill exhibited in its construction is rare in the history of the world. Though the cities, towns and the ruins belonging to the era of Lalitaditya are not to be found so easily, the remnants of the big Martand temple, which the emperor had built at the pilgrimage of the same name, is an example of exclusive building skill of very old Hindus. They are praised for their design, beauty and art.
Martand holds a very high place in the world’s great architectural designs and is considered to be not only an example of the Kashmiri architectural skill but also has pride of having been set up at a prettier spot than those of Parthinan, Taj Mahal and St. Peters. A representative of all such great buildings and monuments or a combination and sum total of all the qualities, the ruins of the huge temple stand in a square field with snow-capped mountains as its backdrop. This temple has been built with strong and square limestones and exhibits the pillars of Greek pattern. Martand temple is said to be a mirror of the art and skill of Kashmiri Hindus. This way Lalitaditya should not be considered only a founder of a vast empire but also a founder of art and skill of Kashmiri Hindus for six centuries.
This well-preserved temple, dedicated to Vishnu, stands on a two tiered base in the middle of a quadrangle surrounded by a colonnaded peristyle. A lofty trefoil arch provides access to square sanctum. It is attributed to circa eighth century A. D.
Kashmir Hub offers tourists an opportunity to visit the holy temple of the Goddess Ragnya Devi. This pilgrimage destination is located in the village of Tulla Mulla, that is at a distance of 27 kilometers from Srinagar. This temple is popularly known as the Kheer Bhawani temple. Devotees fast and gather here on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May when, according to common belief, the goddess changes the color of the spring’s waters. The temple complex is known as
Kheer Bhawani because of the thousands of devotees who offer milk and kheer, a form of Indian desert, to the sacred spring, which magically turns black to warn of impending disaster.
The visit to the Kheer Bhawani pilgrimage during the annual festival can be the most thrilling experience. The festival of the Kheer Bhawani temple is extremely famous and devotees gather from far and wide to participate in the worship of the goddess Ragnya Devi. The festival ends with a maha yagnya. It has been a tradition among the Kashmiri pundits to visit the temple of Kheer Bhawani on all the nine days of the navratras. The tenth day of the festival is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami.
Devotees also throng on every Shukla Paksh Ashtami round the year & perform HAWANS to please the Maa Bhawani. The Historic Temple of Kheer Bhawani was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912 & later renovated by Maharaja Hari Singh Surrounded by steams, the place abounds in Chinar tree in-and-around the compound Complex within which is a hexagonal Spring wherein diety of Godess Ragyna is decorated in a small white Marble Temple. The legend goes that Lord Rama worshipped Mother Ragyna during his exile & desired Hanuman ji to shift the seat of Mother after the expiry of exile period, who bought it to Shadipora and was latter shifted to present site as per the wish of devine Mother Ragnya conveyed in dream to one Pandit Rugnath Gadroo, it is believed.
This temple was built by King Avanti Varman before he ascended to the throne of Kashmir. The temple is small but more ornate and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was destroyed by the earthquake and reclaimed after removal of debris. This temple was neglected more than thousand years (Temple also suffered from the iconoclasts) and buried the entire structure except the upper portion of the walls of the main entrance. The temple faced the destruction during the reign of Sikandar Butshikan in the 14th century.
It is constructed on two tiered base in the center of the paved courtyard. The walls of the entrance, sanctum and the pillars of the temple are ornamented with sculptures both internally and externally. The walls of the outer chamber represent the goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. The view of the courtyard from the gateway was extremely beautiful.
During the excavation of this temple by ASI (Archeological Survey of India) recovered large assortments of antiquities and most valuable were a series of sculptures. Which have been placed in the Srinagar Museum. I noticed a row of large jars on the courtyard of the temple, which used for the storage of grain or foodstuff. One jar among the row of jars has been brought to Srinagar, which bears an inscription stated the name of King Avanti Varman.
Presently the temple/site is maintained by ASI. The present condition of the temple is good but could be better as I found many artifacts were lying in the courtyard under the neglected situation. This could be a very good attraction for the tourists but unfortunately, most of the tourists are not aware of the temple. This temple is situated on the bank of river Jhelum, beautiful hills are there in the backdrop and ruins of the temple altogether will usher you to a different world.