Saints and Shrines
centuries the Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir have
lived together. The Kashmiri Muslims have been
influenced by the Hindus, and the Hindus have been
influenced by the Muslims.
Kashmir is the only place
in India where Muslims have surnames such as 'pandit'
and 'bhat'. The Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims have a
distinctive culture and way of living. Even the
sufis of Kashmir are of a special type.
How Sufism came to
Kashmir is a long story. The famous sufis of
Kashmir are Sayyid Bulbul Shah, Sayyid Ali Hamdani,
and Mir Mohammad Hamdani. It is claimed that Hindu
thought and religion greatly influenced Kashmiri
sufis. The result was that Kashmir produced sufis
with a different outlook. Some people call these
sufis "Muslim risi:s''.
Among the "Muslim
risi:s", the most famous risi: is Sheikh-nur-ud-din.
Out of love and veneration, the Hindus and Muslims
call him Nandirishi. The Kashmiri Pandits
also call him Sahzanand.
The shrine of Nandrishi
is locat.ed in Chrar-e-Sharief. This is a small
village about five miles from Nagam. Both Hindus
and Muslims go to this shrine to offer flowers.
It is difficult to say
when Nandrishi was actually born. It is said by
some that he was born in 1377 in a village called
Kaimuh. People also say that Lalded nursed
Nandrishi as a child. In addition to this, there
are many other stories about him that are popular
in Kashmir. Some of these stories must be true,
while others must have been created by the people.
Many stories are also
told about Nandrishi's parents. Some say that his
parents made a living by stealing and robbing,
which made Nandrishi unhappy. But others say that
his father, Salar Sanz, was a pious man.
It is said that Nandrishi
left home when he was thirty years old He
meditated for twelve years inside a cave. This
cave was in a forest where he could not get much
to eat. When Nandrishi completed his meditation,
he spread his ideas among the Kashmiris.
Many Kashmiri Hindus and
Muslims became Nandrishi's disciples. They
renounced the world and took shelter in a
ziya:rath. They gave up eating meat and observed
celibacy. They devoted themselves completely to
meditation in their ziya:rath. On their death,
these rishis were buried in their ziya:ratsi.
Kashmiris have great reverence for these
ziya:ratsi and devotedly go there to place flowers
on the graves. These shrines are still found in
Kashmir. Two well- known shrines are in Aishmukam
and Anantnag. Janakrishi lived in Aishmukam, and
Rishmol lived in Anantnag. There are three famous
shrines in Srinagar. Batmal, Thagbab Sahib, and
RishiPir lived in these.
Out of all these rishis,
Nandrishi is considered outstanding. That is why
his sayings are uttered by Kashmiris with great
Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri
by Braj B. Kachru
Department of Linguistics,
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Hazrat Makhdoom Sahib,
a Sufi saint.
The shrine of Makhdoom
The beautifully inlaid
doorway to Shah Hamdan's shrine.
Pather Masjid, the
valley's only unconsecrated mosque.
Walli with Baba Nassar-ud-Din,
the great saint who
propounded Kashmiri Sufism.
En route to Lolab
valley, the Sufi shrine of Shah Walli,
who was reputed to have the
power of raising the dead.
The shrine of Bamadin
The shrine of Baba Reshi.
the tomb of Jesus.
The steps to the
shrine of Zain Shah at Aishmuqam,
where also is found
Asa-i-Sharif or the Staff of Moses.