(Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili, 68, was born in Srinagar. He received his early schooling from the Government Middle School, Nowhatta, Srinagar, and from M.P. High School, Baghi Dilawar Khan in Srinagar. Mr. Fazili completed his F.Sc. from the Sri Pratap College in Srinagar, and received his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Annamalai University with honours grade. He joined the J&K government service upon graduation and steadily rose up the ranks to the position of Chief Engineer at his retirement. He managed a number of important infrastructure projects during his government service, including the Model Town Chrar-i-Sharif, Lower Jhelum Hydro Electric Project, Solid Waste Disposal Scheme Srinagar City, Circular Road Project Srinagar City, etc. He has numerous publications to his credit, including Srinagar the Sun City, Our Ancestors and Saints of Kashmir, etc., which were presented in seminar and symposia. He writes for various journals and is presently working on the Jhelum Valley Civilization.)
EVOLUTION OF SRINAGAR THE SUNCITY (272 B.C to 2000 A.D.)
Sri stands for the Sun and Nagar for the city hence The Sun City.
272—231 B.C.——King Asoka founded Sri Nagra at Purana Dishtina (now Pandrethan)—old capital. A Sun temple having a pyramidal roof, stone carvings are the only remains of the original old capital.
631 A.D.—— King Parvarsena ii built his town close to Kohi Maran (hillock) which lies in the centre of the present city. He named it as Parverpora. Although safe from floods, the site had a limited area.
725—753 A.D.—King Lalitaditya burnt down Parverpora and built his capital Parihaspora about 20 Kms. away from the Srinagar city centre.
9th century A.D.—Suyya –the Minister engineer of King Awantivarman undertook the drainage of Kashmir valley, which was mostly submerged, thus vast lands for cultivation and also for the settlement were made available.
1128 A.D.—Zulchu Khan invaded Kashmir and burnt the city of Lalitaditya.
14th century.—King Rinchan Shah (Sultan Sadr-ud-Din) built his city at Budhgair on the right bank of river Jhelum. Central Asian architecture was introduced by the Muslim missionaries. The tomb of the first muslim missionary Bulbul Shah Sahib still exists aloft in Budhgair. ( A recently discovered manuscript records burial of Sayid Mohammad Baqir in 655 AH in Theun village near Wusan Kangan, who had come from Iran along with 1002 Sayids—a century earlier than Bulbul Shah.)
1342-54 A.D.—Sultan Ala-ud-Din extended Rinchan’s city along right bank of river Jhelum and built a new town Ala-ud-Din pora—now covering Khankahi Mualla and Malik Angan.
1429-70 A.D.—king Zainul Abidin built his capital 3 Kms. away from the city on north side and named it Nav-Shahr (new town) and opened a navigable channel (Nalla Mar) between Dal and Anchar Lake and also built the first bridge on river Jhelum called Zaina Kadal leading to the expansion of the city on the left bank as well.
15th. Century—Muslim rulers added 5 more bridges on river Jhelum.
1566-1752 A.D.—Mughals constructed mosques, gardens, a rampart/ fortification around central hillock of Kohi Maran, where King Akbar had built a township named Nagar nagari.
1752-1829—In Afghan rule Amir Mohammad Khan (1770-76) built a fort named Shergarhi on left bank of river Jhelum and a bridge on river Jhelum called Amira Kadal.
1810 A.D.—A dominant fort was built by Atta Mohammad Khan on the top of the hillock Kohi Maran.
1819-46 A.D.—In 1835 in Sikh rule Mahan Singh constructed gurdawara Chatti Padshahi. A navigable flood spill channel—Tsunti Khul constructed from Ram Munshi Bagh to Basant Bagh.
1846-1947 A.D.—Dogra rulers selected Shergarhi as their palace but later on shifted to Lake Front and used the Shergarhi as secretariat.
2nd half of 19th century—devastating floods, fires, famines and earthquakes struck the city but restoration was made simultaneously.
1890’s—Residency established, new schools, 1st intermediate college (S.P. College) and Central Library opened and piped water supply to city started.
1921-31—A silk factory and Govt. Woollen mill, Banihal Cart Road connecting Jammu and Rawalpindi constructed. Barbar Shah Bridge constructed, Gupkar road widened, Boulevard on Dal fringe connecting city with Mughal gardens, housing colonies came up at Wazir Bagh, Ram Munshi Bagh, Karan Nagar, Amar Singh Degree College, and S.M.H.S. Hospital got established.
1947—Dogra rule ended.
1947-1999—Srinagar city recorded a faster growth, but in a most haphazard manner. Small housing colonies of Jawahir nagar, Balgarden, Nursingh ghar, Sutra Shahi, Batamaloo, Chanapora, Bemina, Lal Bazar, Buchpora etc., Construction of Kashmir University, Regional Engineering College, Medical College, New Secretariat building, a good no. of educational institutions, hospitals,3 no. stadiums, fruit mandi, industrial estates, HMT, Bemina Woollen Mills, National Highway by-pass (17) Kms. got constructed.
1947-2000 A.D.—There was a sizable increase in other physical and social infrastructure but not commensurate with the population growth in the city.
Srinagar Municipality was established in Dogra rule in 1886. In 1960 it covered an area of 28 Sq. Kms. in2000 SMC consisted of 17 wards with 952 mohallas and/ or villages and covered an area of 177 sq. Kms.
The 1st Master Plan 1971-1991 was extended till 2000 and a new Master Plan for 2000-2021 was prepared by the SDA and approved by the Govt. for implementation. It was recommended that an Apex Agency headed by a Senior Officer be appointed for ensuring periodical review of the Master Plan, its implementation and achievements of targets, monitoring of urban growth and development, failing which this Master Plan will be another plan on the shelf. We have lost 10 golden years and zonal plans are yet to come up and future progeny will curse us for the haphazard growth of the expanded city.