Hari Parbat or the Sharika Peeth is a popular temple in Srinagar and is commonly known as Shri Jagat Amba Sharika Bhagwati as well as the Maha Tripura Sundari. In the nearby regions, it is known as the Rajeshwari or the Hari Temple.
The temple is under the protection of the Indian Army and the devotees take special permission from the Army before visiting. This is the one of the ancient and holiest temples in the region of Kashmir and the temple is situated on a holy hill called Hari Parbat at the fringe of the Srinagar city. The presiding Goddess has 18 arms and is regarded as the reigning deity (‘isht’ Devi’) of the Srinagar city.
The Goddess has been exemplified by a Swyambhu Shrichakra (Mahamaha Shrichakra), also called the Maha Shri Yantra, which entails of the circular spiritual impressions and triangular patterns with a dot (Bindu) at the center and is extremely significant in terms of religious importance among the followers of the Goddess. The Hari Parbat hill is considered extremely holy due to the presence of the temples of Sharika Devi and is highly revered especially by the Kashmiri Pundits.
The entire Hari Parbat is considered as a sacred place in the region. There are the number of hallow temples on its all sides represents the different deities. Devotees undertake a circumambulation of the whole hill rock of the Hari Parbat in the form of Parikrama, which starts from the Lord Ganesha shrine located on the south western corner of Hari Parbat. Temples that fall on the Parikrama way are the Saptrishi Sathapna (Satresh), next pious place is the Sathapna of the Goddess Kali which is marked by small temple which comprises eight Bairvas called as Asht Bhairav. Further in Parikrama route is a vast stretch of open space known as Devi Angan, which was play field of the cosmic mother. The next on the parikrama is the Sthapana of the Hari that is represented by a rock located on north eastern face of hill rock.
The devotees at the temple offers “Teher Charvan” which are the traditional offering consisting of rice boiled with turmeric powder and mixed with oil, salt and cooked liver of goat that is given to the almighty Goddess on the occasion of Sharika Jayanti. This Jayanti is locally known as Chout Kharoun. Magh month is considered very distinct because of the Navratri (locally known as Navreh or the New Year day of Kashmiri Pundit).
Special prayers and worships are offered by devotees in this month, further; the next temple is Amber Koul and opposite to it lays the temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi Sthapana. Then Sathapna of Lord Vamdev is located on left side of Parikrama route. On the left side of the Vamdev temple is Sathopa temple. The next temple is located left down of Vamdev who is considered as the Divine consort of the Goddess Reghnya. Last spot of the parikrama is the small Hanuman temple which is located on the right side of foot hill. The circumambulation of the Hari Parbat ends at Kathi Darwaza.
Hari Parbat History
- Hari Parbat is a fort perched on the top of the Sharika Hill and originated in the western side of the Dal Lake which overlooks the city of Srinagar. Hari Parbat was constructed in the time of Mughal emperors. It is located on the embankments of the Dal Lake which sparkles like a quicksilver delusion below the saffron sunbeam and the beautiful Shikaras sailing and adorning the water increase the natural beauty of the region. The fort has mind blowing beauty of its surroundings. The fort has an high altitude which provides an attractive view of the Dal Lake having the astounding fringes of Chinar trees and the landscaped Char Chinar which stands in the midst having a lush of Foliage makes the place look wonderful.
- Originally the Hari Parbat fort was constructed during the 18th century by Atta Mohammad Khan, a Governor of Afghanistan but fortification of the outer wall was done by Akbar, the Mughal emperor in 1590. At that time its construction cost was around one crore and ten lakh rupees, and this large amount was taken from royal treasure. Its masonry work has been done by Indian artisans very skillfully.
- According to the ancient scriptures, the tale of the Hari Parbat is that the region where the hill stands presently was surrounded by huge lake and was inhabited by a demon called Jalodbhava (water demon). The inhabitants called on the Goddess for the help and she converted herself into a bird and dropped pebble on the head of demon, which grew larger and larger until it crushed the demon. The pebble transformed into the Hari Parbat and is said to be home of for all the gods of the Hindu pantheon.
- Another myth is there were two demons named Chand and Mund and they lived in Kashmir valley. Chand conceded himself in water near the present location of the Hari Parbat and Mund was present somewhere above the present Dal Gate. Both Chand and Mund together endangered the people of the valley. To safeguard these people God appealed as ‘shakti’, who expected the form of a Hari (Myna) and flew to the Sumer, brought pebble in her beak and threw it on Chand. That pebble transformed into and grew as a mountain, crumpled the demon and was later termed Hari Parbat.
Architecture of Hari Parbat
There is a Guru Dwara of Guru Hargobind Singh in the vicinity of the Hari Parbat. There are two Darwaza; Sanghi and Kathi of old wall, that stretches to 5 kms and has a height of 10 meters. Kathi is the major entrance which has beautiful Persian inscriptions all around it.
This fort also has a temple of Sharika Goddess. There are Guru Chatti Padshahi and the Sixth Sikh guru’s shrine outside the southern gate of the fort. It is called as the Chatti Padshahi. The hill, which rises to 122 mts from the floor of the valley and is bounded by orchards of almond trees where people gather for picnics during months of summer and springs.
Significance of the Hari Parbat Temple
After visiting the Hari Parbat, King Chakreshwar is believed to have worshiped all the Gods and Goddesses of Hindu Mythology and had obtained all his worldly desires and wishes. Therefore, it is believed that Saints and Yogis achieved the ultimate on worshiping at this Sharika Peeth. Thus most people visit the temple to get all their wishes fulfilled.
Hari Parbat Temple Timings
The temple is open for all devotees at any time of the day. Also people of all caste or creed can visit the temple as it does not distinguish between them. The timings for the temple are from 6AM to 10PM. Tuesday is considered a special day for all devotees and a large number of worshipers visit the temple. On fulfillment of wishes people offer gifts and sarees in the temple and promises are also made before the deity.
Festivals Celebrated At the Hari Parbat Temple
The Chakrishwar Shrine is a popular place of worship in the temple. Goddess Sharika had look as if here at Hari Parbat as a ‘shila’ (small rock) which has augmented the religious implication of the hill top. Sharika Bhagwati’s birthday is celebrated on the Ashad Navami (Har Navum) which is an imperative occasion in the temple. Other propitious days when worshiping prayers are offered at the Sharika Temple Peeth are the Phagun Krishna Ashtami (Hora Ashtami), Ashad Shukla Saptami, Ashtami and Navami (Har Satum, Har Aatham and Har Navum).
Poojas and Ritual at Hari Parbat Temple
The temple is devoted to Goddess and hence the customs are the same that are offered to the Goddess in the region. The Kashmiri Pandits implore here with special chants and mantras and the poojas last as long as the implication of the occasion. During Navratri, special poojas are performed here and the Goddess is offered special prasadam and is decorated with all beautiful clothes. There are many fairs and procession carried out in and near the temple during this time of the year.
How to Reach By Rail, Road and Air
Tourists have to take special permission from the army department to visit this temple. Jammu is a major city of India and is well connected to all parts of the country by trains, airways and road. Following are the major roadways, railways and airways of the city:
By Bus: Hari Parbat is easy to access by roadways. There are several private bus service providers who run deluxe bus packages from nearby cities to Srinagar and are connected to Chandigarh and Jammu etc. The package tours expense around Rs. 4/- to Rs. 5/- per km.
By Rail: Jammu is the nearby railway station to Srinagar, found at 290 kms away. The Railway station of Jammu is well linked to different main cities of the country by rail services. There are direct train services available from Chennai, Delhi, Trivandrum and Bangalore.
By Air: The Srinagar airport connected to major cities of the country. There are effective flights between Srinagar and Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Shimla. The frequency is generally once or two times a day which is standard amongst all the airlines.
Hotels in Srinagar
Srinagar is a major Indian city and thus has many 3-Star, 4-Star, 5-Star hotels as well as many luxurious resorts like Hotel Akbar, the Lalit Grand Palace and Vivanta Dal View by Taj. The city has a major attraction in the form of the houseboats that are dwelled by many tourists and many inns, cottages and private residences are also present in the city.
Nearby Temples and Attractions
Srinagar is a wonderful city poised with natural beauty and nestled among mountains. The city is situated on the banks of the Jhelum and has many diverse temples of great architectural grandeur. The city has beautiful gardens and lakes. Some of the major tourist attractions of Srinagar are the Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bag and Jami Masjid.
Following are some major temples in Srinagar:
- Shankaracharya Temple, Srinagar: Adi Shankaracharya had visited this temple and hence it derived its name. The temple is a soaring imposing structure and highly visited.
- Martand Sun Temple, Anantnag, SrinagarThe Anantnag temple is popular among the devotees who visit the Amarnath temple and the temple is a work of genius architectural labor. This temple was built by the King Lalitaditya of the Surya (Solar) dynasty.
- Pandrethan Temple, Srinagar: An old stone structure, the Pandrethan temple is a major temple that is associated with the Emperor Ashoka and is one of the major attractions of the city.
- Sharika Devi Temple, Hari Parbat, Srinagar: This is a temple laced with many mystical theories from the ancient Hindu mythology. The temple’s presiding deity is Sharika Devi who is also the major deity of the Srinagar city.
- JwalaMukhi Temple, Khru, Srinagar: The picturesquely placed temple is atop a hillock and is a popular draw for the tourists.
- Rameshwaram Shiva Temple, Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar: The popular Shiva Temple has religious significance and has associations with Hinduism, but also Sikhism.
- Bhuteshwara Temple, Srinagar: The temple was constructed in the 12th century and is blessed with great architecture and thus holds great importance among the locals.
- Mamal Shiva Temple, Pahalgam, Srinagar: The popular Shiva Temple is one that has exceptional popularity amongst the faithful devotees and the devotees throng the temple in spite of its ruined condition.
The Hari Parbat Temple of Srinagar has been a significant temple and carries special importance among the Kashmiri Brahmins. The temple is dedicated to the presiding deity is visited by many people and the city of Srinagar is also an important destination for many people and is visited by many tourists. The temple is a place with immense natural beauty in and around the temple and thus the place is worth a visit.