Chrar-e-Sharief is a shrine revered by both Muslims and Hindus dedicated to Sheikh Nooruddin, who was arguably the greatest mystic-saint of Kashmir. The Islamic militants burned it down in 1995 at the behest of Pakistan. An example of the composite culture of Kashmir, the Sheikh was born as Nund Reshi or Sahazanand in 1377. His tale is full of wonders. His ancestors migrated from Kishtwar to the Valley. His father, Salar Sanz, who was a pious man, was influenced by the spiritual teachings of the Sufi Saint, Yasman Reshi, who arranged his marriage to Sadra Maji.
It is said that for three days, the infant Nund refused to be breast-fed until on the third day, a Yogini (a well-known female saint), Lal Ded entered the house and fed the child her own milk. After that, she left the house prophesizing that the infant would be her spiritual heir.
While personifying the Hindu-Muslim culture of the Valley, Nund, was later named as Naruddin meaning ‘the light of faith’. He fully believed in the immanence and transcendence of God and hoped for a society based on moral values and preached against indulgence.
It is said that all his life he wore a coarse pheran and within two days of his death in 1438 at Charar, nine lakh people are said to have gathered at the Shrine, including the King, Sultan Zainul Abdin. The saint is known to have preached against communal hatred and in one of his teachings, he wrote: “We belong to the same parents. Then why this difference? Let Hindus and Muslims together worship God alone. We came to this world like partners. We should have shared our joys and sorrows together.”