- Type: Attractions
- Localyte author: Usman Shaikh
- The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is developing Saidpur into a tourist attraction, and is spending a lot of money (nearly 400 million rupees) and efforts on resurrecting the old village and giving it a quaint look. A newly built adobe gate welcomes you to the village. Built somewhat in Pueblo style, the gate seems to have been virtually lifted from Santa Fe, New Mexico and planted in Saidpur, Islamabad. While the CDA's intentions and efforts to revamp Saidpur are commendable, there is this danger that they might end up reinventing it. Saidpur is a very old village — 4 or 5 hundred years old — with a history and heritage and, of course, its own myths and folklore. It is nestled in the Margallah hills overlooking Islamabad. Built along the slope of the hills, and gradually creeping upwards, the village presents a picturesque view, particularly in the soft light of morning or afternoon sun. The first thing you notice when you enter the village (and that is a big surprise), past a green domed mosque, is a Hindu temple, prominently situated and newly restored and painted. A little removed from the temple, to the left, is a small building with two orange colored domes. A plaque on this building, written in what appears to be Gurmukhi, suggests it might have been a gurdwara or a Sikh shrine. Between the temple and the 'gurdwara' is a neat, 2-storey building that was an orphanage (dharamsala) at one time. The temple is mentioned in the Punjab Gazetteer of Rawalpindi district of 1893-94, which suggests it is over a hundred years old. It's amazing that a temple and gurdwara survived in a village that had no Hindu or Sikh population since 1947. The secret of survival of the temple and the attached buildings, I found, was that soon after the Partition they were converted into a government school, and thus saved from being vandalized. Only recently the school was shifted and the temple and the 'gurdwara' renovated in their original form (a little overdone, though), and the orphanage was converted into a 'gallery' where old photographs of Islamabad, when it was just being built, are displayed.
- The description was provided by Usman Shaikh
- Saidpur, Islamabad Capital Territory
- No Sweat
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