Srinagar: Even as heritage week is being observed across the state, many of the monuments in Kashmir are facing utter neglect, even in the heart of capital Srinagar.
Among the neglected monuments the Mughal era Pathar Masjid, and the Sultanate era Budshah Tomb, located in old city are also bearing the brunt of encroachments defacing the structures.
The Pathar Masjid or (the stone mosque) located in Zaina Kadal, also known as Shahi Masjid was built by Nur Jahan, wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir.
The roof and walls of the unique mosque built in stones has turned black due to fungal growth and lichens. The mosque is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the local residents said that the department was not paying any attention to the monument.
“We have approached the ASI officials many times, and asked them to maintain the site as this is one of the important and famous masjid in the Downtown area, but the officials are not paying any heed,” a local resident said.
“The best thing of this Shahi Masjid is that it is in a rectangular form, built in limestone. But it has developed cracks at the edges. The officials visit but only pass the buck,” Abdul Rahman, a shopkeeper in the area said.
Rahman added that no one is able to recognize the Masjid from its back side, because of wall. He said the encroachments have changed its shape, despite the officials knowing about the state, nobody is doing anything.
The rear side of the mosque is surrounded by shops belonging to Jammu & Kashmir Wakf Board – in violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
As per the act, the area falling within 100 meter of the limits of a protected monument is prohibited for constructions.
On the other side of the locality, the Budshah Tomb is a similar story of neglect.
Situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, the tomb was built by Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin, popularly known as Budshah, in memory of his mother in the 15th century.
The tomb is built of bulbous bricks, decorated with blue tiles, which are not so visible because of neglect.
The tomb is in a poor condition, while adjoining four auxiliary rooms are filled with scrap.
Beside the main tomb is a graveyard where Budshah along with wives and children is said to be buried. However the historical graveyard is in shambles.
“We are not able to understand why authorities have totally ignored these monuments,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, a shopkeeper.
“The Arabic words of the gravestone are not readable anymore, officials come and visit the site but do not maintain it. No one can recognize which grave is of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin and which ones of his wives and children,” he said.
Officials of the ASI department told Kashmir Reader that they would look into the matter.