Recently, a sudden blaze struck the ancient shrine of Khankhah-e-Moulla located in the Fateh Kadal locality of downtown Srinagar. Fortunately the blaze was doused within minutes by the alert fire tenders with the full cooperation of the public when the alarm bell was rung.
Khankhah-e-Moulla literally meaning the “High Hospice” was the place chosen by the Iranian missionary known to Kashmiris as Amir Sayyid Ali Hamadani with sobriquets like Amir-e Kabir and Shah-i-Hamadan. He originated from Hamadan, the Hamatana of Herodotus’ description situated on the western border of Iran with Iraq. Mir Sayyid Ali arrived in Kashmir in about 1372 A.D. and set up an Estrada on the sprawling premises of the Hindu temple of Kali on the eastern bank of the Jhelum in Srinagar. From this platform he used to deliver sermons to the people of the city for conversion to Islam. Later on a hospice was raised on the spot to be renamed Khankhan-e-Moulla. It remained a holy shrine for the people after their conversion and ever since has been a most venerated place for the devotees of the Hamadaniyyeh order of Sufis and others as well. There used to be a spring of water and a stone idol close to the river bank which the Hindus of Kashmir visited and applied red ochre after their tradition and called it Kali Devi. In this way it is one of the shrines in Kashmir venerated by both communities. That is its historical and cultural importance.
As this structure is made of timber and is of medieval construction, all precautionary measures must be taken to secure it against sudden fire or other mishap. It is the heritage of the people of the Valley.