LG Manoj Sinha sahab, the shrine if developed with all amenities will not only attract tourists but will also generate employment for local youth
Kashmir is the only region in the Indian subcontinent which is known as Reshe Vaer (abode of saints). These saints or holy men are commemorated and enshrined in different parts of the valley. People visit their shrines from every nook and corner to seek spiritual guidance and mental peace. One among these shrines is that of Hazrat Baba Shukar-ud-din Wali (RA), at Kraale Sangi (Sharikot Hill) in Watlub, Sopore. This shrine is visited by devotees throughout the year and is popularly known as Babe-Shukrun.
Born at Arith Pargana, Machhama district Budgam, in 790 Hijri as per Islamic calendar, Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) was a holy person who came under the influence of two pious and great personalities, Shaikh-ul-Aalum (RA) and Hazrat Zainudin Reshi (RA). It is believed that Shaikh-ul-Aalum (RA) sent him to Ashimuqam, Islamabad, to meet Hazrat Zainudin Reshi (RA), from whom he received spiritual knowledge and guidance. After a few years, he was told to go to Sharikot Hill in Watlub, Sopore, and meditate there. Here, the Peer Baba assisted the locals and performed miracles. As his fame grew, people from all religions flocked around him to seek help and spiritual guidance in different matters.
Baba Payam-u-din Reshi (Baba Reshi) of Tangmarg (Gulmarg) was once his assistant who later became a disciple. Baba Reshi (RA) impressed with his services and was blessed by Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) to get settled in Tangmarg area. His shrine is popularly known as dargah of Baba Reshi. One can easily look at the shrine of Baba Reshi (RA) from the Ziarat of Baba Shaukar-ud-din (RA), provided there is no murkiness in the sky. Baba Reshi Sahib (RA) had gifted Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) a decorated wooden door which is permanently displayed at the entrance of the shrine. One must not forget to look at this door and feel the craftsmanship by touching it when one happens to visit this famous shrine.
Baba Reshi (RA) used to carry water in a bucket up the hill for his Peer, for which Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) blessed him with the highest place where he (RA) could always look at his most obedient disciple. It is the best example of the teacher-disciple relationship. Good and obedient students always live up to the expectations of their mentors in life who in turn bless them with the highest place of honour.
Hundreds of devotees visit this shrine to seek peace and spiritual guidance. Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. Known among people as Topandaz-e-Kashmir, Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) is believed to neutralise evils. People in general visit Baba Reshi; Baba Shukar-ud-din Sahib is visited by special devotees throughout the year. However, the managing body of the shrine should develop the shrine as per the facilities of Baba Reshi (RA). The devotees should be provided all types of facilities which will not only boost the income of the Ziarat but will also enhance the number of devotees every year.
When the road to Gulmarg and Sonamarg can be developed and broadened, why the road to the shrine can’t be widened and macadamised? A broad road going towards the shrine can not only attract the drivers to go uphill but it will also ease the rush of vehicles when devotees throng the shrine during Eid festivals.
No doubt the Ziarat Intizamiya Committee has its responsibilities. However, facilities like road, water and electricity are certain services which one always expects from the government of the region. As such I appeal to the honourable Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Sahab to visit the sacred shrine some day out of his busy schedule and notice the state of development of the shrine in terms of road, electricity and water facility. Sir, the shrine if developed in a modern manner, it will not only attract tourists but it can also boost the economy and help in generating the employment for the local youth.
The government should make pleasant ‘view-point sites’ at different locations on the road going to the shrine. Making such spots can add to the overall attraction of the Kraale Sangri and attract visitors in large number towards the shrine, especially in spring and autumn seasons. From this Ziarat one can have an awesome view of Wular Lake, Asia’s largest fresh water lake. This lake is an important source of recreation and tourism. J&K Government should develop separate road connectivity to the village called Zurimanz for the devotees and develop the lake bank in a beautiful manner so that more and more people get attracted towards it and love to enjoy the boating.
The village Zurimanz which is situated in the foothills of the Sharikot hill is famous for many things like nadru (lotus-root), trout fish and gaer (singadhay) which can be sold by the locals seasonally in the market of the Baba Shukar-ud-din Sahib’s shrine. This will not only help the locals of the village to earn their livelihood but will also add to the popularity of the shrine. The tourists who visit the village in summer months quite often complain that the village requires road connectivity and that the lake lacks cleanliness and dredging.
The shrine also lacks separate toilet facility for ladies and gents. There is only one washing point and that too is not properly maintained. Last month when I visited the Ziarat with my better half, I realized that the Ziarat Intizamiya Committee has also not provided facility for ablutions for the devotees.
Every year on 27th of Jamadi-us-Sani the Urs of Baba Shukar-ud-din (RA) is celebrated. Let’s hope that some devotement is done by the authorities concerned for the devotees at the shrine before the coming Urs. The sooner, the better.
—The writer is a columnist and teacher by profession. email@example.com