Mughal Monuments Under Illegal Occupation
Imtiyaz Sofi, Kashmir Images
Srinagar: The Mughal Sarai in Shadimarg village of south Kashmir district of Pulwama, occupied by locals for decades, has turned into ruins for receiving no attention from authorities. This monument was constructed during Jahangir’s rule by his governor in Kashmir, Ali Mardan.
According to locals, there were 83 Kanals of land under the monument as per government records and practically there are only five Kanals of land under it. Rest of the land has been illegally occupied by local farmers.
The monuments are located at two places, now used by occupants as cow sheds and fire wood stores. There is also a mosque which is still used for prayers. According to local residents, there was a spring in one of the two compounds of these monuments, which was filled up and a house was constructed by a local resident there.
The residents claim that they are living inside these monuments for centuries.
“We are living inside these monuments since 300 years,” said a resident living in a house inside the compound of these monuments.
But majority of villagers believe that they have occupied these Mughal buildings illegally.
There are about seven Mughal monuments here within a distance of 19 kilometres. These monuments were used as accommodation for Mughal army and Royal tours. There were all facilities available in these Sarais (monuments), experts say.
The locals claim that they many times sought attention of tourism department towards these precious monuments, but to no avail.
The locals demand reconstruction of the monuments and relocation of people living inside them to other place so that remnants of Mughal architecture remain safe.
There is also huge potential for tourism as the monuments even in ruins provide a glimpse of the art and architecture of Medieval Kashmir.
“We ask for government intervention in development of these monuments and promoting a tourist friendly atmosphere around so that this site could add to local economy”, demanded a local shopkeeper.