Shaikh Nooruddin is an unparalleled saint and Sufi poet whose poetry has been infusing vibrance is thousands of inanimate souls. Born in a newly converted Muslim family of Kaimuh
(Kulgam), in the north west of Kashmir Shaikh Nooruddin struggled hard to bring about, through his excellent poetry, the religious, political, social and cultural transformation in Kashmiri people. As a result of it, he is popularly called “Alamdar-i-Kashmir” (the upholder of the banner of Kashmir) and “Shaikh-ul-Alam” (the leader of the world). People from all walks of life and all shades of opinion held him in high esteem and get inspiration and
guidance from his poetry, which has become the most important part of Kashmiri folk literature.
According to a legend, Hazrat Zainuddin Wali, a disciple of Sheikh Nooruddin Wali known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir or flag-bearer of Kashmir, he was born in Banderkot, Kishtwar in Doda district. It is said that once he took very ill and his mother was weeping bitterly.
All of a sudden, a person with a radiant face appeared before her and on the promise that she would bring the child to him in Kashmir after he regained health, he cured him through his spiritual power. Over a period of time, the mother forgot the promise and her child was again taken ill. This time, however, she knew the reason and proceeded to Kashmir along with her son.
The person who had appeared before the lady was Sheikh Nooruddin Wali. She recognised him at the first sight as the one who had visited her at Kishtwar and embraced Islam. The Sheikh named the child as Sheikh Zainuddin who later became his favourite disciple.
It is said that when, on the command of Sheikh Nooruddin, Zainuddin Wali arrived at Aishmuqam, the cave on the hillock was infested with poisonous snakes. The reptiles vacated the place for him to meditate. Legend has it that the disciples of Zainuddin carried the snakes in baskets to a nearby place that later came to be known as “Puhir Paejin” or a basket of snakes.
The saint passed away in 1448 AD. When his disciples brought the coffin for burial of the body, they were astounded to see it empty. In desperation they left the place and during the night, one of the disciples saw Zainuddin in his dream asking him to raise a mausoleum at the same place where the coffin was placed. Besides Hazrat Zainuddin Wali, 18 of his disciples are also buried in the premises of the shrine.
The shrine is visited by people throughout the year. The relics at the shrine include a holy staff gifted to Sheikh Nooruddin Reshi by Mir Sayed Ali Hamadani, the 14th century preacher who influenced en masse conversion of Kashmiris to Islam. The 8-feet long rod covered in green cloth is originally believed to be of Hazrat Owais Qarni, the exalted Muslim who had the distinction of being a companion of Prophet Mohammad without having met him during his lifetime.
At the time of a natural calamity like an epidemic, the blessings of the rod are invoked by taking it out and offering mass prayers.