Needless to say, Jammu & Kashmir is heaven on earth. Known for its natural beauty, snow capped mountains, beautiful lakes and stunning gardens, Kashmir is a place that tops the chart of every avid traveller. Besides all these, Jammu & Kashmir also holds religious importance. From Vaishno Devi Mandir, Dargah Hazratbal to Holy Family Catholic Church, Jammu & Kashmir bestows beautiful pilgrimage sights. So, next time you plan a religious trip to Jammu & Kashmir, make sure you don't miss out on the following places:
Khanqah of Shah Hamdan, Srinagar
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Khanqah of Shah Hamdan, popularly known as Shah-i-Hamdan Mosque, was built on the right bank of
Jhelum River by Sultan Sikander in 1400 AD. This beautiful shrine houses a wooden structure which is covered with magnificent carved roof and holds hanging bells. You can witness attractive historical inscriptions and religious sermons which are carved beautifully inside the shrine.
Open only to Muslims, non-Muslims are strictly not allowed inside; they can only view it from outside. On the sixth day of Dul Hajj, several devotees visit the shrine and offer prayers on the death anniversary of the saint.
Kheer Bhawani Temple, Srinagar
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Besides its beautiful architecture, Kheer Bhawani Temple is popular for its unusual tradition of serving kheer
to the deity. Devoted to Ragnya Devi, the temple is situated in the centre of the stream, surrounded with Chinar trees.
Devotees visit the temple in the month of May on the eighth day of the full moon. Also, it is believed that on this day, the deity changes the colour of water in spring.
Imambara Zadibal, Srinagar
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Imambara Zadibal is one of the most ancient shrines of India which was constructed in 1518 by Kaji Chak, minister of Sultan Mohammed Shah. The shrine flaunts beautiful Persian architecture. From 1548 AD to 1872 AD, the building ablaze eleven times and each time it was rebuilt. It can accommodate more than 32,000 visitors at a time.
Peer Baba, Jammu
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Peer Baba is devoted to the famous Islam Saint Peer Budhan Ali Shah. It is said that the dargah
protects the grave of saint, who existed for 500 years, gulping only milk. Regardless of religion, people visit the dargah every Thursday. Also, it is believed that the wishes of those devotees get fulfilled who offer flowers or chaddars
at this holy place.
Martand Sun Temple
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Located on the top of a plateau, Martand Sun Temple is dedicated to Lord Bhaskar, the Sun God. The temple belongs to medieval era and was constructed by King Lalitaditya, a Kshatriya of Surya dynasty. The most highlighting feature of the temple is a colonnaded courtyard, which has a temple located in its centre. Built with 84 columns, the architecture of the temple is considered to be one of the best works of King Lalitaditya.
Shankaracharya Temple, Srinagar
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Located on the top Takht-e-Suleiman, Shankaracharya Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage destinations, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Raja Gopadatya in 371 BC, and initially was called as Gopadri.
Besides religious importance, Shankaracharya Temple is known for its architectural beauty. It has a high octagonal platform that supports the temple structure. There is an inscription in Persian language inside the temple that dates back to the reign of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan.
Raghunath Temple, Jammu
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Raghunath Temple, one of the largest temple complexes of the Northern part of India, is devoted to Lord Rama. The temple comprises seven shikhars,
a portrait of Maharana Ranbir Singh, and an image of Lord Hanuman on the entrance. Apart from the main shrine, there are other shrines that encompass several incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Vaishno Devi Mandir
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Located in the Trikuta mountains of Jammu & Kashmir, Vaishno Devi Mandir holds the position of most auspicious places for Hindus. It is situated around 13 kms from Katra, and temple is dedicated to Vaishno Devi, popularly known as Mata Rani, Vaishno and Shakti. It is believed that whatever you wish for, mother fulfils the demand.
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Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Amarnath Cave is located at a distance of 141 kms from Srinagar where pilgrims can reach via Pahalgam. Reaching here is quite adventurous as it is surrounded by eye-pleasing mountains. The cave is open only for a short period of time, between July and August, and it is covered with snow for rest of the year. Amarnath cave is 40 m high and stalagmite is formed with freezing water drops that fall from the roof of the cave.
Located on the western shore of Dal Lake, Hazratbal Mosque is known for its pristine white marble elegance. It is said that the mosque houses a hair of Prophet Muhammad which is exhibit on religious occasions to the public. It is known for being the only domed mosque in Srinagar. Friday is considered to be an auspicious day to visit the mosque.