Hari Parbat Fort


On the strategically and spiritually significant Koh-e-Maran hill, north of the city centre, is this powerful qila (fort), which dates to the 6th century. The hill was further fortified by Emperor Akbar in 1590, but most of the upper walls date from the 1808 constructions of Pathan governor Atta Mohammad Khan.

Inside the fort walls is the Sri Sharika Temple, home to the city's 18-armed guardian goddess. Local Hindus believe Sharika (a form of Durga) and Vishnu liberated Kashmir by defeating the lake demon, Jalodabhava, on this hill.

Approach the fort from the northeast, not from the south side. The fort access lane starts with a checkpoint; then a sweaty 10-minute walk along fairly obvious shortcuts brings you to a second sign-in, 15 minutes' walk up steps to the fort's uppermost tower. Autorickshaws can reach the second checkpost.

You can normally just buy a ticket at the road entrance, but in times of tension you may have to first apply for a stamped permissory note from the TRC or Naagar-Nagar Interpretation Centre (passport copy required).