In Kashmir shrines impart an identity to the places where they situated. One such place is Aishmuqam; a township around 76 km from Srinagar, just off the main road from Islamabad to Pahalgam. The Shrine of Zain ud Din Rishi is perched at top a hillock, some hundred meters above the road level & is clearly visible in all its majesty from the road.
Reshi Naama, by Ghulam Mustafa Shah, ancestor of the Shahs of Aishmuqam, writes about Zain ud Din Rishi as a highly revered folk hero who was son of Jaising, the Hindu Rajput ruler of Rukan, a principality near Bandarkot in Kishtwar, named Zia Singh or Zaina singh at birth. His father got killed by the enemies when Zaina was a small kid, so Zaina was brought up by his mother.
It is said that he once fell grievously ill and no doctor could cure him. His mother cried out to god and soon Hazrat Noor ud Din Rishi, travelling through Kishtiwar, met her. He cured her son by spiritual healing and told her that she should bring her son to Chrar-e-Sharif. The mother, however, forgot her promise and Ziana ones again fell ill. The mother realising her mistake travelled to Kashmir and met Hazrat Noor ud Din at Bamzu in presence of Baba Bam ud Din. Noorani renamed the young lad as Zain ud Din, who now formally took oath of allegiance to him in the Rishi order and was left in the care of Baba Bam ud Din Rishi.
Soon Zaina acquired such an exalted spiritual status that Noor din Noorani was moved to remark, My Zaina was stream of water of life (Amrit) he served God so much that he has gone ahead of his teacher.
After achieving a particular spiritual status Baba Zain din was instructed to settle in the cave at Aishmuqam which was inhabited by large number of serpents and scorpions. After cleansing the cave Baba spent many years here in stern meditation surviving only on dry wild walnut kernels. Once a disciple handed him some pepper, after knowing the price Baba spat out the pepper and asked the disciple to never offer him such worldly things.
Zain ud Din Rishi led a life of great simplicity and always spread the message of social equality. Once Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin came to Aishmuqam. They was nos special reception to the King. After a long wait he left Aishmuqam without meeting Zain. Disappointed, he took it as in insult and issued an edict for exiling Baba Zain ud Din to Tibet along with his disciples. While in Tibet Baba continued spreading the message of Islam, making lot of people join the Rishi order. Meanwhile Zain-ul-Abidin developed a serious ailment which none of his royal doctors could cure. Realising his mistake the King sent his son Haider Khan to Tibet to ask him for mercy and bring him back to Kashmir. Baba Zain ud Din Rishi relented, came back to Kashmir, and forgave the king, who soon recovered.