Rebuilding the shrine

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Dastgeer Sahib Shrine in Srinagar’s Khanyar area caught mysterious fire on June 25, 2012. The flames subsequently reduced the 200-year-old shrine into a heap of rubble. And soon state government started restructuring the structure. After one and half years, the concrete structure has been erected on the earlier place. Bilal Bahadur recollects some past and present glimpses of the shrine.

Glory

A legend has it: An Afghan traveller on a visit to Kashmir presented the then governor of the state, Sardar Abdullah Khan, with a holy relic belonging to the renowned sufi saint Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani.

A legend has it: An Afghan traveller on a visit to Kashmir presented the then governor of the state, Sardar Abdullah Khan, with a holy relic belonging to the renowned sufi saint Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani.

The relic was deposited with Syed Buzargh Shah, a prominent qadri order sufi of that time.

The relic was deposited with Syed Buzargh Shah, a prominent qadri order sufi of that time.

The shrine was enlarged in 1877 A.D. by Khwaja Sanaullah Shawl.

The shrine was enlarged in 1877 A.D. by Khwaja Sanaullah Shawl.

There are five Graves Situated inside it. It is said that it is of the one of the members of Shiekh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA).

There are five Graves Situated inside it. It is said that it is of the one of the members of Shiekh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA).

The wooden shrine was an architectural marvel of Kashmir and was covered with traditional Khatamband ceilings.

The wooden shrine was an architectural marvel of Kashmir and was covered with traditional Khatamband ceilings.

It is the center of the activity hub of the Khanyar and is surrounded by a large market. On the Urs of the Shiekh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA), thousands of people from all over Kashmir go there to pray and watch the ziyarat.

It is the center of the activity hub of the Khanyar and is surrounded by a large market. On the Urs of the Shiekh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA), thousands of people from all over Kashmir go there to pray and watch the ziyarat.

Tragedy

And then on June 25, 2012, a fire broke out.

And then on June 25, 2012, a fire broke out.

Fire tenders were rushed to the spot to bring the blaze under control at the shrine that was mostly made up of wood.

Fire tenders were rushed to the spot to bring the blaze under control at the shrine that was mostly made up of wood.

However ancient relics of the saint, housed in the Shrine were saved and retrieved. Officials said since they were kept in a fire-proof safe they remained unharmed.

However ancient relics of the saint, housed in the Shrine were saved and retrieved. Officials said since they were kept in a fire-proof safe they remained unharmed.

Aftermath

Locals soon started cleansing process

Locals soon started cleansing process

And emotions and devotion never had a hiatus

And emotions and devotion never had a hiatus

And then, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the Dastgeer Sahib shrine would be restored within two-and-a-half year to its original structural characteristic.

And then, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the Dastgeer Sahib shrine would be restored within two-and-a-half year to its original structural characteristic.

And this is the present structure which has replaced the earlier one.

And this is the present structure which has replaced the earlier one.

Saleem Beg said INTACH had a digital map of the shrine which was given to government for reconstruction of the shrine on the same pattern.

Saleem Beg said INTACH had a digital map of the shrine which was given to government for reconstruction of the shrine on the same pattern.

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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