BY, SYED KALEEM GEELANI
Anantnag 13 Feb: The famous Mughal Sarai located at Omoh village of Verinag is in collapsing danger. Its one & the half kilometers away from the famous tourist destination Verinag Spring. The sarai was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Once a resting place for Mughal emperors, the monument is not resting place for dogs.
A portion of the monument has already collapsed and the other portion is on the danger of falling down. The sarai has now became a resting place for cattle and dogs and animal shit lies scattered all around outside as well as inside. A old aged local said that he has seen the building in better times. The building had dozens of rooms & it was used as a shelter by nomadic people during their journey towards Jammu or Kashmir.
This sarai had a beautiful architecture & used to attract large number of tourists who visited Kashmir. From the outside it looked like a single long structure but this monument was having dozens of rooms inside. I remember the nomadic people who would pass by in different seasons along with their livestock, staying in the sarai for a night or two,” a local resident said. Our elders tell us that many Mughal kings used the sarai for both residential and official purposes.
The shame is that the heritage has been converted into a place of wastage & playground now. One cannot bear to go into it because of the animal shit and human excreta lying there. At a little distance from Verinag spring, the sarai, if preserved, could have emerged as a prominent tourist spot. But the authorities allowed this heritage to be ruined,” said an another local.
A well maintained Hindu temple is located at the opposite side of this sarai but unfortunately due the detoriating condition of this sarai, its unable to catch the eye of tourists who pay their obesience at temple.
The locals appealed the Tourism Minister, MLA & concerned officials to save the heritage from collapsing down & take necessary steps for maintaining the infrastructure, architecture & beauty of this famous Mughal Sarai.