Squatting atop the hill called Hari Parbat or Koh-e-Maran or Predemna Peet is a Mughal fort that lords over Srinagar.
The fort, west of the Dal lake in old Srinagar, was originally built during the reign of Akbar. The present structure, however, was constructed by then Afghan governor of Kashmir, Atta Mohammad Khan, in 1776. The fort can be reached either from Rainawari through Kathi Darwaza Gate or from Hawal through the Sangin Darwaza. From the fort, one can catch a breathtaking view of Srinagar and its surroundings.
The outer wall was built by Akbar in 1590 at a cost of more than one crore rupees. This sum was sent from the royal treasury in Agra and along with it came skilled Indian artisans. The inscription in Persian at the Kathi Darwaza commemorating this work can be read even today. Akbar is said to have intended to lay the foundation of a new capital inside the fort and call it Nagar Nagor. The great emperor, however, could not see through the project to completion. It then fell to the Aghan governor to built it.
The western slope of Hari Parbat houses a Parvati temple while the southern slope has the shrines of Sufi saints Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib and Akhund Mullah Shah. The fort is currently occupied by the army and visitors need to get entry permit from the Archaeological Department’s office at Lal Mandi in Srinagar.
The legend goes that this hill was once a large lake inhabited by the demon Jalobhava. To escape from him, the people called on Sati Mata for her help and, taking the form of a bird, she dropped a pebble on his head. The pebble increased in size as it fell and crushed him.
Hari Parbat is revered as that pebble and it became the home for all 33 crore gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hari Parbat consists of a type of basaltic rock favourable to the growth of almond trees, and it is no wonder that a beautiful almond orchard, called Badam vaer, blooms in its foothills.