Saidpur Village reflects history, culture, religious heritage of three eras

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By Raiq Qureshi & Taj Nabi Khan

ISLAMABAD, Jan 05 (APP):Located at slopes of Margallah Hills in federal capital of Islamabad, the architectural design of almost eroded buildings of Saidpur Village has a rich history of culture, religious heritage and influence of three eras of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh.

Saidpur is one of the oldest villages of Pakistan. It is more than five hundred years old village known for its rich heritage, culture, history and folklore.

The village mentioned in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri as “a place beyond Rawalpindi” has a unique attraction in its serene environment; anyone who passes by it falls in love with it. Jahangir, thus, married the owner of the village – the daughter of Said Khan.

After witnessing the majestic beauty of Saidpur village, without any hesitation, Jahangir would be called the son-in-law of Islamabad (capital of Pakistan).

There is completely a different experience to visit Saidpur in the day light and in the calm evenings. One can feel the difference of two different times by looking at the surroundings.

During day time, especially in holidays, the place is packed with people while in the evening; the place narrates its own tales of different eras. Both summer and winter has its own charm in the village.

According to the history, in 1530 AD, Mirza Fateh Ali founded the village. Initially, it came to be known after him as Fatehpur Baoli. However, later, when the area was given to Said Khan Gakhar by the Mughal Emperor Akbar for his family’s services in the fight against Afghan warrior Sher Shah Suri, the name of the village changed from Fatehpur to Saidpur.

The village was named Saidpur after Sultan Said Khan; son of Sultan Sarang Khan during the rule of Mughal Emperor Babar Sultan Sarang Khan was the Lord of Pothohar region (from Jhelum to Attock). Later, Said Khan gifted this place to his daughter who was married to Mughal emperor Jahangir son of Mughal emperor Akbar.

Saidpur is a worth visiting and historically fascinating place in Islamabad holding the culture and history of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs all together at a time.

Jahangir’s biography, Tuzk-e-Jahangiri mentioned him staying in Saidpur while he was on his way to Kabul. The village used to be a garden resort at that time.

Talking to APP, Mohammad Saad, a visitor at the place said, “It was not the taste of food or name of the restaurants that attracted me. It was rather the aroma and cultural history of the village that fascinated me”, he added.

A Hindu commander Raja Man Singh later converted Saidpur into a place of Hindu worship. He constructed small ponds and temples for the worship of Hindus. Those temples have been preserved to show the history and culture of Hindu in the region.

Alongside the temple, a Gurdwara was also built by the Sikhs, probably in the 20th century. Attached to the gurdwara is a big-sized room, which served as a school for teaching the philosophy of Guru Nanak. Until the Partition, Waheguru and the goddesses of Kali and Lakshami resided side by side.

The apron of the temple where once upper-class Hindus used to take Parsaad, now serves as a dining place of Des Pardes and Andaaz- a high-end restaurants, catering to elites only. The temple, empty and in shambles, stands ready for a selfie with the visitors.

A local resident Shahban Ali said that the gardens mentioned in the biography of Jahangir have now vanished due to the climate changes and lack of care. But the recent restoration and preservation in 2006 by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) have given life to this place and have brought a huge number of tourists that highlights the importance of the site.

The work to convert Saidpur into a multicultural and historical tourist attraction was started by CDA in 2006 under the supervision of Chairman of the Authority Mr. Kamran Lashari.

Saidpur was successfully converted into a beautiful quaint village in 2008. The government of France has provided technical assistance to Pakistan in this work.