By Beenish Maqbool
ISLAMABAD, Dec 27 (APP):Saidpur Village- located at the foot of green hills (Margallas) of Islamabad is the country’s unique place having a rich history of culture and religious heritage with a wide and varied spectrum of quaint buildings showcasing ancient civilizations.
The village is an excursion point for local and foreign visitors who make their way to the village to witness the stark contrast between city and village life. Saidpur village is a peaceful place perfectly offering glimpses of multicultural heritage; occupying a unique place at scenic Margalla hills, Saidpur is a worth visiting and historically fascinating place holding the culture and history of three buildings standing closely together, a Mandir, a Church and a Gurdwara.
The place narrates tales of different eras as it was believed to be the oldest village in Pakistan. The village is home to a small 16th century temple called “Rama Mandir” or “Ram Kund Temple”, dedicated to “Rama” who according to Hindus’ beliefs lived in the area with his family during 14 years of their exile.
Hindu commander Raja Man Singh later converted Saidpur into a place of Hindu worship by constructing temples which have been preserved to show the history and culture of Hindus in the region.
Alongside the temples, 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.
After that, the village had been named after Sultan Said Khan, son of Sultan (king) Sarang Khan who was the owner of the village in the 16th century.
The work to convert Saidpur into a multicultural and historical tourist attraction was started by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In 2006, the Saidpur Village was remodeled as an Arts and Craft Village by CDA of Islamabad with an aim to preserve its centuries-old cultural heritage and promote tourism in the area, while allowing visitors to have a glimpse of rural life of Pakistan in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the capital city.
Talking to APP spokesperson of CDA Mazhar Ahmed said, “CDA has developed Saidpur into a model village and given life to this place and have brought a huge number of tourists that highlights the importance of the site,”.
The objective of the project was to conserve the culture of the village, located in the suburbs of Islamabad, as well as turn it into a tourists spot, he added.
He said the temple where once upper-class Hindus used to take Prasad, now serves as a dining place of Des Pardes restaurant .He said before the independence of Pakistan, Saidpur was a predominantly Hindu village and the springs in the area were considered holy.
A local resident Muhammad Subhan Khan said hundreds of tourists visit the village daily to enjoy.
He said foreigners keep on visiting the village and were greatly impressed by the ambiance here.
There are many restaurants to present the cultured, local and continental food to visitors.
“It is a wonderful place to hang out with families where a cool breeze blows all the time and provides a natural environment with fresh air. The view is fabulous and the atmosphere is so peaceful and relaxing,” a visitor Maryum Sohail said.