|Archaeoilogical & Historical Sites|
This small pass is located 26 km west of Islamabad on G.T. Road. Margallah is mentioned by historians and emperors like Alberuni, Ferishta and Jehangir. Today, it is a pass between the ancient capital of Gandhara, that is, Taxila, and the modern capital of Pakistan, i.e., Islamabad. There is an obelisk right on the top of the Pass, built in 1890 in memory of Brig. Gen. John Nicholson (died on 23 Sept.1857) of the British army, by his colleagues. A small part of the ancient Shahi (Royal) Road can be seen just across the pass, left of G.T. Road. This road was first built by the Persians in c.516 BC and later developed by the Afghan King Sher Shah Suri in 1540s. An inscription on the western side of this stone pavement shows that is was again repaired in 1672 AD.
Once a major campsite of Mughal rulers, Wah Gardens is located 12 km west of Taxila on G.T. Road. The gardens were developed with magnificent trees and water channels by successive Mughal emperors. Tapering cypress trees, loved by the Mughals, line the canals through which cool waters once flowed between elegant Romanic pavilions and cascading into large reflecting basins. The gardens are being restored to their original beauty, by the Department of Archaeology, Govt. of Pakistan. Entry fee is Rs.4 per person.
Hasan Abdal & Gurdwara Panja Sahib
Hasan Abdal is 48 km from Rawalpindi. It is a beautiful, quiet place and a convenient halting point on G.T. Road enroute to Peshawar or Abbottabad. This town has a particular association with Mughals and Sikhs. It was mentioned by Emperor Jehangir in his memoirs and frequently visited by successive Mughal Kings, on their way to Kashmir. It remained a holy place for various religious groups through the ages. It has a Sikh Gurdwara (temple) known as Panja Sahib having a scared rock with the handprint of their religious leader, Guru Nanak. Twice a year, Sikh pilgrims visit this Gurdwara from all over the world.
On the nearby hill, at an altitude of 714 meters, there is a meditation chamber related to a 15th century Muslim Saint, Baba Wali Qandhari, popularly known as Baba Hasan Abdal. The saint stayed in Hasan Abdal from c.1406 - 1416 AD but died and buried in village Baba Wali near Qandhar (Afghanistan). The devotees and visitors climb over the steps leading to the hill, for offerings and to have a panoramic view of Hasan Abdal.
Just opposite the eastern gate of Gurdwara Panja Sahib, there is a small mosque and chilla gah (meditation cell) of Baba Wali. Behind the mosque is a fresh water pond with big Mahasheer fish. Adjacent to the pond is a building called Maqbara Hakeeman. Two Royal Hakeem (doctor) brothers namely, Abual Fateh Gilani (died 1589 AD) and Hamam Gilani (died 1595 AD) are buried here on the orders of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Both, the fishpond and the tomb were built by Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi, Akbar’s minister, between 1581 and 1583 AD. A paved path leads from the fishpond to a small, walled garden. The garden has two graves, one in the center and the other in a corner. The central grave is wrongly attributed to a so-called Mughal Princess, Lala Rukh. However, it is not known that who is buried here.
The remains of a Buddhist Stupa lie about 32 km south east of Rawalpindi in Mankiala village, 2 km off the G.T. Road. Apparently, this stupa was built in the reign of Kanishka (128-151 AD). According to a legend, Buddha had sacrificed parts of his body here, to feed seven hungry tiger-cubs. In 1930, several gold, silver and copper coins (660 - 730 AD) and a bronze casket having Khroshti inscriptions were discovered from this stupa.