We caught it’s glimpse, as we were travelling alongside Dal Lake. This was the first day in Kashmir and we were out on a day tour of Srinagar and surrounding areas. This felt like a long day, especially after a sumptuous wazwan (traditional Kashmir lunch) and it had started having it’s effect on us. Tugga fell asleep by the time we reached there.
We were at Hazratbal. Considered as Kashmir’s one of the holiest Muslim Shrine, this is a place of utmost serenity and calmness. The reflection of the pristine white marble elegance of Hazratbal in the Lake creates a mystical and peaceful ambience. ‘Hazrat’ means respected and ‘Bal’ meaning place and hence this is considered as the holiest shrine in Srinagar
The place is rather famous since legend states that it houses a holy relic, the Moi- E – Muqqadas or the hair of Prophet Muhammad. The piece of the hair can be seen only on special days of festivals. The present building was built by Muslim Auqaf trust and it took 11 years (from 1968 – 1979) to complete the it. As the story goes, the hair arrived in Kashmir in the year 1699 during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. Originally an Ishrat Mahal (pleasure garden) was constructed by Sadiq Khan – Subedaar of Emperor Shahjahan to keep the relic. It was known as Sadiqabad then. It got converted into a prayer house under the instruction of Emperor Shahjahan. However, during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb, the Moi e Muqqadas was shifted to Hazratbal.
As I was alone, I didn’t enter the main building but the photographer in me was curious enough to move around. There are moments in life when an experience is not satisfying till such time you share the same with your loved ones. I missed Tugga most here. The main building has lots of pigeons who come, rest on the ground, someone offers them some food, they eat and then the pigeons fly together flipping their wings for a while and settles down once again at another place.
As we reached there at a time when the light was quickly fading out, the time known as ‘the golden time’ of photography, I found this little girl who had come with her parents and was playing with the pigeons. It was as if she had been included in the group and she was playing with her friends. I got some wonderful shots. Did I do justice – now when I look back, I would say no. I could have taken better pictures. Did I miss Tugga who was tucked away in the car with his mother – yes. Did I miss my childhood? Oh yes and I did walk towards the flight of pigeons for few times to watch them fly together.