Charari Sharief

Charari Sharief (variously spelled Chrar-e-Sharif, Charar i Shareef, etc.) is a town and a notified area committee in Budgam district in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India.

Charari Sharief has an average elevation of 1,933 metres (6,345 feet) above mean sea level.

As of 2011 India census,[2] Charar i Sharief had a population of 15000. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Charar i Sharief has an average literacy rate of 59%, lower than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 58% and female literacy of 38%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The town was Given the Status of Block in January 2014. The town is divided into 10 Wards. Each ward has a municipal councillor.
The famous mohallas of Charar-i-Sharief are: Talab-e-Kalan or Bada Talab, Trajibal,Court Road, Gulshanabad, Nowhar, Jabl-e-Noor, Wazabagh, Alamdar colony, Zaloosa & Kumar Mohalla
Charar-i-Sharief is considered one of the most sacrosanct Muslim shrines in India. It is situated approximately 28 km from Srinagar, en route to Yusmarg. The Shrine of Charar-i-Sharief is approximately 600 years old. Popularly known as the “Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali”.

This historical town is famous for the tomb of Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani, who preached Islam through his poetry. Every year Urs is celebrated at Charar-i-Sharief. Thousands of people from all faiths visit the shrine.
This is the only town in valley which was to be developed as a Model Town. The initiative was taken by the then governor of Jammu & Kashmir Jagmohan. But this project remained unfulfilled.
The whole town of Charar-i-sharief got burnt down in 1995 during the fierce encounter between Indian troops and Mujahideen (Including Major Mast Gul). An estimated 800 residential houses, 500 Shops and many other non-residential structures were gutted in this fire. The town has since been rehabilitated by grant of 31 crores, 16 crores were announced by Gulam Nabi Azad then Urban Minister of Union of India and 15 Crores were provided by State Government. The town is the MATAMAL (Maternal House) of Gulam Nabi Azad. The 1995 fire episode engulfed the 700-year-old shrine and Historical Khaniqah [Masjid]

Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Wali
The tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, popularly known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir (flag-bearer of Kashmir), is situated 28 km in the southwest of Srinagar at Charar-i-Sharief. The land where the shrine is situated belonged to Sangram Dar, a disciple of Alamdar-e-Kashmir, who had constructed a mosque there. It was here where Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani would say his Friday prayers. According to a legend, following the death of Alamdar-e-Kashmir, his coffin, after flying some distance, descended at the site where the shrine lies and where the great Sufi saint has been laid to rest.

Charar-i-Sharief is considered one of the most sacrosanct Muslim shrines in India. It is situated approximately 28 km from Srinagar, en route to Yusmarg. The Shrine of Charar-i-Sharief is approximately 600 years old. Popularly known as the Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, (also known as Nund Rishi) the shrine was built to commemorate Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, a Sufi saint. The life of the Sheikh is full of legends and tales. He was born as Nund Reshi or Sahazanand to Salar Sanz in 1377. It is said that he refused to drink milk till the third day after his birth, when a Yogini (female saint), Lal Ded (Lal Ded is known as Lal Ishwari among Hindus and Lal Arifa among Muslims) fed him with her own milk. When Lal Ded held the newborn Shaikh-ul-Aalam in her lap she whispered in his ear and said (Chai Mali Chai Zaina Yali Na Mandchookh Chaina Kyazi Chukh Mandchaan) Later, she left the house after saying that the child would be her spiritual heir.

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani or Nund Rishi was the first one to start Rishism in the valley. Later, this Rishism got renowned as Rishi Mat, a Vishnav Mat. The saint preached communal harmony, non-violence, vegetarianism and tolerance to the people. He gathered many followers who called him by different names. Some of the names conferred on the saint are Sheikh-ul-Alam, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, Alamdar-e-Kashmir, Sarkhel-e-Rishiya, etc. Apart from preaching, the Sheikh made numerous contributions in the field of philosophy also, in the form of verses and poetry.

The saint led a very simple life throughout. It is said that nine lakh people gathered at the Shrine of Charari Sharief within two days of his death, in 1438. The King Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin also took part in his funeral procession. Charar-i-Sharief served as his final resting place, where his mortal remains were buried. The Charar-i-Sharief of Kashmir, India, has been destroyed twice. The first time, the shrine and its surroundings suffered ruination due to the presence of armed rebels and then the longest siege laid by the Indian security forces. However, the shrine was reconstructed on the lines of central Asian architecture. In 1995 the shrine was once more destroyed between the exchange of fire fight between the armed rebels and the Indian security forces. Despite this, the shrine continues to be revered and respected by both Hindus and Muslims.