Pride of place for Indian tricolour in the heart of Kashmir! This is the Independence Day gift from the Indian Army to the nation. Trust the Indian Army to change the way the rest of India thinks about Kashmir. And no surprise that the patriotic soldiers have chosen the Independence Day of 2021 to usher in this big change– one that symbolises nationalism with loads of Kashmiriyat ! So on August 15, you would be waking up to a truly new dawn in the history of Kashmir and India. Don’t be surprised, if you see a massive Indian tricolour fluttering proudly, high and tall, in the heart of Srinagar. And, tourists and denizens would be able to see this Indian flag from miles away. No, this historical spot is not Lal Chowk.
Hari Parbat Flag Story
A massive 24 x 36 feet, supported by a 100 feet pole, Indian flag is a new chapter in the history of this state of strategic importance. The unfurling of the flag – atop the Afghan built historic Hari Parbat fort, on Independence Day by the Jammu & Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha – marks a new beginning for Kashmir & ‘Kashmiriyat’ .This is peak of the ongoing Tiranga Yatra in the terror-hit Kashmir Valley. Interestingly, the Tiranga Yatra – hoisting national flags at all government offices in Srinagar- is an initiative by an Army officer started on the Republic Day this year. This was later formalised by LG Manoj Sinha
Historic Hari Fort was chosen to be covered under ‘Tiranga Yatra’ at a meeting, headed by the Divisional Commissioner of Srinagar, of top officials from different departments. Since the meeting on 30th June, 2021, lakhs of rupees have been spent on ground work for the milestone in the history of Kashmir. A major chunk of the cost is being borne by the Flag Foundation of India run by the industrialist Naveen Jindal. As part of the agreement with the foundation, the Indian Army has taken upon itself to follow all protocols in respect of taking care of the flag – from maintenance to change when necessary.
‘Kashmiriyat’ Of Hari Parbat
Hari Parbat is a symbol of communal harmony and it silently tells the story of Kashmir as it was and as it should be.
Hari Parbat houses the ancient temple of ‘Maa Sharika’ popularly called Sharika Devi Temple. Goddess Sharika is believed to have 18 hands, and it is revered by the Kashmiri Pandits as ‘Pradyumana Peeth’. Many mythological stories are heard about the Hari Parbat, one of these talks about the place being the abode of many Hindu Gods.
Kashmir is often referred to as the land of Sufis. And, the Makhdoom Sahib Dargah at the southern end of Hari Parbat captures the stamp of Sufism over Kashmir. The Dargah has been built in honour of a 16th century famous Sufi Saint, locally referred to as Hazrat Sultan and Sultan-ul-Arifeen. Below the Hari Parbat Fort is a mosque, built by Mughal princess Jahanara Begum, in memory of a 17th century Qadri Sufi Saint – Shah Badakhshi.
Living the spirit of ‘Kashmiriyat’, Hari Parbat is house to two Gurudwaras also. Near the Kathi Darwaza in Rainawari, is Gurudwara Chatti Patshahi. It is said that Guru Har Gobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, stayed here while he was travelling in Kashmir. Gurudwara Guru Nanak Dev has been built to honour the first Sikh Guru and founder of Sikhism. It is said that Guru Nanak Dev visited the place thrice and interacted with followers on his way back from Leh. At that time, the fort was not here and he used to sit on a pedestal, built especially for the founder of Sikhism, by Mughal emperor Akbar’s general Mohammad Ata Khan.
History of Hari Parbat Fort
The outer wall of the Hari Parbat Fort, also known as is believed to have been built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1590 as part of his plan to build a new Capital. However, the plans did not fructify and the site was used to house the Mughal soldiers. The fort, as it exists today, was built in 1808 under the Durrani Dynasty of Afghani Ahmad Shah Durrani, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. He is regarded to be the founder of Afghanistan.