In a city of many mosques and Sufi shrines, Srinagar's Jamia Masjid is the biggest and to my mind the most imposing. It was built in around 1400 and rebuilt and renovated several times down the centuries, particularly after fires or damage caused by other forms of commotion.
Its most impressive feature: the wooden columns, 370 of them, all the trunks of deodar trees. They give a real majesty to the mosque.
And from the Jamia Masjid you get a stunning view of Hari Parbat fort - on top of one of two landmark hills which overlook Srinagar (the other is Shankacharya hill, on the summit of which is a Shiva temple dating back a thousand years). Hari Parbat fort was built two-hundred years ago by the Afghans who then ruled Kashmir, and did so with much barbarity. The fort itself remains in army use and is not open to the public.
The Jamia Masjid is in the old city and is the spiritual and political base of Srinagar's Mirwaiz, the hereditary chief priest. The current occupant is a very personable man, Umar Farooq, who is in his mid-forties. He's the leader of one of the rival Hurriyat (it means freedom) Conferences - there are basically three largely antagonistic organisations - and is one of Kashmir's most influential separatist leaders.
Friday Prayers at the Jamia Masjid is often a flashpoint, as the crowds leaving the mosque clash with Indian security forces. In the immediate surroundings of the mosque, there's anti-India graffiti, of which this struck me as the most telling ( a 'lack' or 'lakh' is 100,000).
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!