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Hari Parbat Fort

Hari Parbat Hill lies on the west of Dal Lake in Srinagar, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. This Mughal structure was built by an Afghan Governor Atta Mohammed Khan in 18th century. Laterm a long wall was constructed in 1590 by Emperor Akbar. Surrounded by commendable structures from all religions, this fort sits at the top giving a spectacular view of Dal Lake.

This fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and still stands impressive with old apartments and tall pillars. Hari Parbat provides a top view of Makhdoom Sahib that lies at its foot. Other attractions near the fort are Sharika Devi Temple and Lalmandi Chowk. Hari Parbat is a sacred hill for Hindus because it is home to a Sharika Temple. This temple is known to have presence of Goddess Durga.

The fort can be reached by foot or by a taxi amidst almond orchards soaring high especially during full blossom in April.

History of the Fort

The first protection walls to this fort were provided by Mohammed Khan. He built this outer wall and nestled a capital city inside named as Nager Nagor but this vision could never be completed. The present temple was reconstructed in 1808 under the rule of Shuja Shah Durrani and hence this fort is also called as Durrani fort sometimes.

The temple goddess at Sharika Mata temple is an 18 handed deity. This goddess is represented as a swayambhu chakra, also called as mahashriyantra which is kept in many homes as a good luck charm. She also believed to be a form of goddess Durga.

Legendary Origin

According to one legend, at the place Hari Parbat stands today was a huge lake. A demon named Jalobhava resided here. Local inhabitants prayed goddess Parvati to get rid of the demon. She took a small pebble and threw it on the head of this demon. The pebble kept growing until it completely crushed his head. Locals believe this pebble turned into the present Hari Parbat and became the home of gods and goddesses.

Another story tells that there were two demons, Tsand and Mond who lived in this valley. They both troubled villagers here by hiding at where the present day Hari Parbat and Mond at Dal Lake Gate. Goddess Parvati came to rescue villagers by taking the form of a small bird and threw a pebble on Tsand which grew into a large size and transformed into Hari Parbat. That is how Parvati is worshipped here as Sharika. This part of the hill is also called as Predemna peeth.

How to Reach

Jammu can be accessed by road as it is connected with well maintained roads to most of the major cities in the region. Distances from major cities are:

Delhi to Srinagar 860 km

Gulmarg to Srinagar 43 km

For railway travellers the closest railhead to Srinagar is at Jammu at a distance of 290 km. Jammu and Srinagar are connected by frequent bus and taxi services.

Srinagar hosts a domestic airport which is connected via Delhi for international flights and all major cities are connected directly to Jammu by various airlines.

Best Time to Visit

Summers are pleasant at Srinagar with a lively Dal Lake. Summers months are from April to September and are ideal for sightseeing. This is the peak time for tourists and travellers. Temperature goes up to only 30 degree C and minimum up to 14 degree C.

Winters are chilly and freezing temperatures. Dal Lake freezes at this time due to extreme cold. Temperature remains constant at near 0 degree C for some days. This is not a good time for travellers and can be associated with heavy snowfall.

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