Srinagar Knowledge Guide
The Burzahom archaeological site 10 km from Srinagar has revealed the presence of neolithic and megalithic cultures.According to Kalhana's 12th century text Rajatarangini, a king named Pravarasena II established a new capital named Pravarapura (also known as Pravarasena-pura). Based on topographical details, Pravarapura appears to be same as the modern city of Srinagar. Aurel Stein dates the king to 6th century. Kalhana mentions that a king named Ashoka had earlier established a town called Srinagari. Kalhana describes this town in hyperbolic terms, stating that it had "9,600,000 houses resplendent with wealth". According to Kalhana, this Ashoka reigned before 1182 BCE and was a member of the dynasty founded by Godhara. Kalhana states that this king adopted the doctrine of Jina, constructed stupas and Shiva temples, and appeased Bhutesha (Shiva) to obtain his son Jalauka. Multiple scholars identify Kalhana's Ashoka with the 3rd century Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka despite these discrepancies. Although "Jina" is a term generally associated with Jainism, some ancient sources use it to refer to the Buddha. Romila Thapar equates Jalauka to Kunala, stating that "Jalauka" is an erroneous spelling caused by a typographical error in Brahmi script.Ashoka's Srinagari is generally identified with Pandrethan (near present-day Srinagar), although there is an alternative identification with a place on the banks of the Lidder River. According to Kalhana, Pravarasena II resided at Puranadhishthana ("old town") before the establishment of Pravarapura; the name Pandrethan is believed to be derived from that word. Accordining to V. A. Smith, the original name of the "old town" (Srinagari) was transferred to the new town.
Srinagar in 14th to 19th centuries
The independent Hindu and Buddhist rule of Srinagar lasted until the 14th century when the Kashmir valley, including the city, came under the control of the several Muslim rulers, including the Mughals. It was also the capital during the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak. Kashmir came under Mughal rule, when it was conquered by the third Mughal badshah (emperor) Akbar in 1586 CE. Akbar established Mughal rule in Srinagar and Kashmir valley. Kashmir was added to Kabul Subah in 1586, until Shah Jahan made it into a separate Kashmir Subah (imperial top-level province) with seat in Srinagar. With the disintegration of the Mughal empire after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, infiltration in the valley of the Afghan tribes from Afghanistan and Hindu Dogras from the Jammu region increased, and the Afghan Durrani Empire and Dogras ruled the city for several decades. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler from the Punjab region annexed a major part of the Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, to his kingdom in the year 1814 and the city came under the influence of the Sikhs. In 1846, the Treaty of Lahore was signed between the Sikh rulers and the British in Lahore. The treaty inter alia provided British de facto suzerainty over the Kashmir Valley and Maharaja Gulab Singh, a Hindu Dogra from the Jammu region became a semi-independent ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Srinagar became part of his kingdom and remained until 1947 as one of several princely states in British India. The Maharajas choose Sher Garhi Palace as their main Srinagar residence.
After India and Pakistan's independence from Britain, villagers around the city of Poonch began an armed protest at the continued rule of Maharaja Hari Singh on 17 August 1947. In view of the Poonch uprising, certain Pashtun tribes such as the Mehsuds and Afridis from the mountainous region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, with the backing of the Pakistani government, entered the Kashmir valley to capture it on 22 October 1947. The Maharaja, who had refused to accede to either India or Pakistan in hopes of securing his own independent state, signed the Instrument of Accession to India in exchange for refuge on 26 October 1947, as Pakistani-backed tribesmen approached the outskirts of Srinagar. The accession was accepted by India the next day. The government of India immediately airlifted Indian Army troops to Srinagar, who engaged the tribesmen and prevented them from reaching the city.In 1989, Srinagar became the focus of the insurgency against Indian rule. The area continues to be a highly politicised hotbed of separatist activity with frequent spontaneous protests and strikes ("bandhs" in local parlance). On 19 January 1990, the Gawakadal massacre of at least 50 unarmed protestors by Indian forces, and up to 280 by some estimates from eyewitness accounts, set the stage for bomb blasts, shootouts, and curfews that characterised Srinagar throughout the early and mid-1990s. Further massacres in the spring of 1990 in which 51 allegedly unarmed protesters were allegedly killed by Indian security forces in Zakura and Tengpora heightened anti-Indian sentiments in Srinagar. As a result, bunkers and checkpoints are found throughout the city, although their numbers have come down in the past few years as militancy has declined. However, frequent protests still occur against Indian rule, such as the 22 August 2008 rally in which hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri civilians protested against Indian rule in Srinagar. Similar protests took place every summer for the next 4 years. In 2010 alone 120 protesters, many of whom were stone pelters and arsonists, were killed by police and CRPF. Large scale protests were seen following the execution of Afzal Guru in February 2013. In 2016, after the death of militant Burhan Wani a militant leader, there were mass unrest in the valley and about 87 protesters were killed by Indian Army, CRPF and police in the 2016 Kashmir unrest. The city also saw increased violence against minorities, particularly the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits, starting from mid-1980s and resulting in their ultimate exodus. Posters were pasted to walls of houses of Pandits, telling them to leave or die, temples were destroyed and houses burnt; but a very small minority of pandits still remains in the city. The recent years have seen protests in Srinagar from local Kashmiri pandits for protection of their shrines in Kashmir and their rights.
Places of worship
There are many religious holy places in Srinagar. They include: Hazratbal Shrine, only domed mosque in the city. Jama Masjid, Srinagar, one of the oldest mosques in Kashmir Khanqah-e-Moula, first Islamic centre in Kashmir Aali Masjid, in Eidgah Locality Hari Parbat hill hosts shrine of Sharika Mata temple Zeashta Devi Shrine a holy shrine for Kashmiri Hindus Shankaracharya temple Kheer Bhawani Temple Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi, located on Hari Parbat Pathar Masjid All Saints Church, Srinagar Holy Family Catholic Church (Srinagar)Additional structures include the Dastgeer Sahib shrine, Mazar-e-Shuhada, Roza Bal shrine, Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, Pathar Masjid ("The Stone Mosque"), Hamza Makhdoom shrine, tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin, tomb of Pir Haji Muhammad, Akhun Mulla Shah Mosque, cemetery of Baha-ud-din Sahib, tomb and Madin Sahib Mosque at Zadibal.The Sheikh Bagh Cemetery is a Christian cemetery located in Srinagar that dates from the British colonial era. The oldest grave in the cemetery is that of a British colonel from the 9th Lancers of 1850 and the cemetery is valued for the variety of persons buried there which provides an insight into the perils faced by British colonisers in India. It was damaged by floods in 2014. It contains a number of war graves. The notable interments here are Robert Thorpe and Jim Borst.