Kashmiri lifestyle

The Tale of Nallai Mar

The Tale of Nalamar

Srinagar, a place of utmost heritage, crawls towards the history of its roads and canals. Belonging to the horizons of the Old City, the endless history makes a tale and sings along the ways of Srinagar. One such waterway is the Nallai Mar. Nallai Mar as the name suggests is the canal. But, in today’s time, there is no canal. All we can see is the road that links Noorbagh to the Babadham area of Srinagar. Let’s go on a journey of knowing its history. How did it turn into a road? How did it affect the people? How is today’s Nallai Mar? 

What is Nallai Mar? 

Nallai Mar
Image Source: Kashmir Life

Nallai Mar was the water canal distributed in the old city of Srinagar area of Kashmir. It is also called Mar Kol. It was an irrigation canal running through the old city of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It has connected the Brari Nambal lagoon to the Khushal Sar lake. It provided navigability between the Dal and Anchar lakes of Srinagar.  Unfortunately, it was filled up and transformed into a road in the 1970s. Indeed, the wide road we see today did provide easy connectivity but suffocated other waterways connected to it, especially Brari Nambal. 

Who built the Nallai Mar? 

The canal (Nallai Mar) was built during the rule of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin who was the ruler with great affection. That is why he was famously called Budshah. Nallai Mar befitted the city with transport in several ways. However, with the arrival of modern efficient transport, it gradually lost its zest. Because of that, eventually, it was filled up to construct the path for a road through the old city of Srinagar. 

In addition, Nallai Mar was a busy canal with a load of boats and shikaras for the transport of goods as well as people. Indeed, Nallai Mar was a business hub as well as a way of transportation. At that time Muslims used to go to Qamar Sahab (RA) and Pandits to Kheer Bawani by boarding a boat through the Nallai Mar. 

Filling up of the Nallai Mar

Filling Of Nallai Mar
Image Source: Kashmir Life

The filling up of the Nallai Mar  is considered an ecological disaster. It is due to several reasons, one being the choking up of Brari Nambal and its effect on the whole water system. There was a huge environmental issue due to the filling because there was the choking of several waterways including Dal Lake. It leads to the contamination of various waterways like Jhelum River and Anchar Lake. 

The filling up of Nallai Mar led to the stagnation of Brari Nambal.  Eventually, choking the beauty of the heritage of Dal Lake. It was evident at that time that Brari Nambal had clean fresh water. But with the advent of the construction of Nallai Mar, it turned into a stinking burial ground. 

Geographically, Nallai Mar began from Brari Nambal and had two diversions. One moved through into Khushal Sar, Gilsar and finally emptied into Anchar lake through Eidgah. The other diversion emptied into River Jhelum while passing through Noor Bagh. 

An eminent poet of Kashmir said in the praise of Nallai Mar that if the river Jehlum was Srinagar city’s heart, Nallah Mar was its soul. 

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