Shar-i-Shali Village is located in the foothills of a beautiful mountain range in the southeast of Kashmir Valley. Lofty Mountains, numerous springs, religious and cultural sites along with the saffron farms make this area a great tourist attraction. The village is around 21 Kms from Srinagar located at the eastern edge of the world famous saffron growingfiels of Pulwama district, Village Sharaar-Shali, which refers to the two Kashmiri words: ‘ Sharaar’ meaing Fire and Shali’ the staple crop, paddy. Although the locals call Shar-Shali as Shaar, offical records refer to this village as the former. It is surrounded by hamlets of Androsaa, Wuyan, Bathen, Khrew, Ladhou, Goundbal, Mandekpal, Nag-ander, Zandtrag. the area is home to many revered Muslim and Hindu shrines including the shrine of famous Kashmiri poet Wahab Sahab, commonly known as Wahab Khaar.
Shar-i-Shali Village (Profile)
Shar-i-Shali is a historic village having its roots in the early habitation of Kashmir. It is said that in Shar-i-Shali, there used to be sizeable population of ironsmiths (‘Khars’ in Kashmiri language) who made iron tools from crude iron ore scattered in nearby dense Wuyan-Khre foresh area. Shal-i-Shali is surrounded by gourgeous mountains from all threee sides. The mountains covered with dense forest of fir and deodar give a treat feeling of adventure and serenity.
The area is located at an average elevation of 1,607 meters from the sea level. It is slightly at an elevated position from the capital Srinagar whose altitude is 1585 meters. Shar-Shali is accessible from two directions, one from khrew town and another from Pampore town through a lovely serpentine road leading through saffron fields. Saffron cultivation that has been going on in this area since ancient times, has given a distinct identity and fame to the villages of this plateau.
Situauted amidst Himalayan Ranges with blossoming scenery, pulwama district has produced poets whose contribution to the mysticism and the mystic poetry has been widely acknowledge through centuries. Legendary mystic poetess, Lalded, was born at, Padmanpora, now Pampore, a village of Pulwama district.
Wahab Khar and Soccha Kral are two other great names in the Kashmir Mystic poetry who where bon in this culturally significant setting. Shaar Sali is dotted with numerous Sufi shrines which are held in high esteem by the people belonging to all faiths and communities. Village Shaar Shali is the seat of the famous poet “Wahab Khar” who lived in early twentieth century and left for heavenly adobe on 2nd March 1910. His shrine is a major pilgrim attraction through out the year. thousands of devotees gather on his death anniversary at Wahab Nagar.
Temple Jawala-Mukhi – referring to a volcano, is situated on the top of the small hillock in village Khrew of Tehsil Pulwama. This sgnificant temple of Kashmir is dedicated to Jawala Bhagwati – the goddess of fire. The temple is reached by a flight of stone steps. Mela Jawala Mukhi is held here annually on the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Savan (July-August) which is attended by large number of devotees. This festival is a major event for Kashmiri Pandits as well as Muslims. Muslim peasants setup about 250 to 300 stalls for the sale of different kinds of commodities. Hindu shopkeepers run confectionery shop and other stalls in which earthen tray with ghee and cotton wick are made available to the pilgrims. At bottom of the hillock is a spring where people take a dip before making the ascent.
Comprising of Mundakpal, Wahab sahib, Basheer and Razori Gujjar habitations Takia-e-Nyam Shahb is part of a adjacent circuit of village hamlets. Takia-e-Nyam Sahab is located at the eastern edge of the world famous saffron growing fields of Kashmir Valley. Apart from agricultural and horticultural activities like cultivation of paddy, apples, saffron and walnuts, stone quarrying from the nearby hillock is also livlihood activity. The Nyam Sahab spring was the main source of water for the Shaar pastures. A favorite area for trekking and camping in the past, these activities are again being promoted by the tourism Department.
Ladhu is a historical village, which has remains of an ancient glorious temple. About two miles southwest of Shaar, these well preserved remains of the temple represent the traditions of the classical temple architecture of the valley. Scholars have been linking it with Gandhara style of architecture. Built of massive clear water spring. Ram Chand Kak in his famous book, titled ‘ Ancient Monuments of Kashmir,’ says ‘ the temple has external wall without decoration, their bareness being only partially relieved by a cornice which consists of three courses of stone adorned with projecting fillets. The corner pilasters are quite plain, and headed by a semicircular, almost horsehoe-shaped arch surmounted by a single storied pediment of very slight projection. Itnerallly the temple is circular witha diameter of 17 feet and 6 inches. The smaller temple is similar to the bigger one. Internally the temple is 6 feet square and the ceiling consists of three courses of over lapping stones. Inside the spring is Shiva Linga made of lime stone.”
To the left of Ladhu is Knonmoh, the birth place of Bihan, one of the most famous Sanskrit poets of 11 Century AD. Khonmoh is also known for its sacred spring called Damudar nag. Besides, there is a Sharda epigraph at Khonmoh near Bunshwar. It is a heavy inscription carved on a major rock.
Ladhu is also famous for its stone quarries. This area is the main source of softest stone which are used in making artifacts, grave stones, plaques etc.
The Department of Tourism has constructed a tourist lodge and cafeteria in the premises of the erstwhile Shooting Lodge. This lodge was constructed during early 20th centaury for use by the game enthusiasts. This lodge is located on the foothills of the forest and games area of Shar-i-Shali. The whole area in and around Shar-i-Shali gives a rich experience of culture, archaeology and natural heritage of Kashmir.