Saidpur is a village tucked away amongst the Margalla hills that has a diverse community consisting of three different faiths and a culturally significant past
Saidpur village is situated at Margalla Hills near Daman-i-Koh, Islamabad. It is one of the oldest settlements in Pakistan with a history dating back to the reign of Emperor Babar. Sultan Said Khan, the son of Sultan Sarang Khan, gave Saidpur its name. The monuments and buildings in Saidpur village are intriguing because they reflect the culture and history of the three religions that coexisted at the time: Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism. The village is also a symbol of tranquility because of the exemplary peaceful coexistence of a diverse range of people, with a temple, a Gurdwara and a Church in close vicinity. Because of its attractions and ancient structures, the village is a popular tourist destination.
Saidpur dates back to 1530 AD, when it was established by Mirza Fateh Ali as Fatehpur Baoli.
The name Fatehpur Baoli was then changed to Saidpur during the Mughal emperor’s war against Afghan warriors. The land was gifted to Said Khan Gakhar by the emperor to show his gratitude for his family’s contributions.
This village is noteworthy due to its stunning location. It is also culturally significant as a model of coexistence and diversity. The Rama Temple, also known as the Raam Kund Temple was built in the 16th Century for Hindu devotees by Raja Maan Singh. Close to the temple is a Gurdwara, which was established by Sikhs in the 20th Century. The Gurudwara is next to a seminary where Guru Nanak’s teachings are taught. These historic places are now tourist destinations. The pleasant ambience and art museums are a breathtaking representation of the Punjab and its culture.
During the day, the village is crowded with tourists intent on photographing the area’s natural beauty as well as the temples. The actual hues of the city come out at night as glimmering lights pop up in every building.
The residents of this town are known to greet visitors with warmth and amusement, narrating tales from its past. The diverse population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in this village adds to the beauty. They have long coexisted without conflict. Every year, a festival takes place at the pond where Rama and his family once stopped to drink water. Hindus from all over the world attend this event to pay their respects.
During the day, the village is crowded with tourists intent on photographing the area’s natural beauty as well as the temples. The actual hues of the city come out at night as glimmering lights pop up in every building. Saidpur is also famous for its traditionally crafted pottery which visitors can purchase as souvenirs. These historical sites have been maintained to demonstrate the village’s heritage, culture and folklore. Some older temples have been restored and converted into high-end restaurants with a very unique atmosphere. Des Pardes and Andaaz are two very popular restaurants in Saidpur that attract a large number of visitors.
Saidpur embodies the diversity of its past, its present and its future, representing cultural practices, artifacts and architecture that are quintessentially Punjabi.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has taken important measures to maintain the village’s traditions and culture due to its significance as a hub of heritage, with the development of art galleries and local businesses to boost the local economy. In 2006, the site was designated as a historical destination.
Saidpur village is a must-see spot in Pakistan, brimming with culture, charm, scenic beauty and amazing eateries. It is also a beacon of hope and prosperity that presents a tangible example of peaceful co-existence, diversity and our heritage.
The author is a politics and international relations graduate from Muslim Youth University, Islamabad.