loh-e-dandi pir sohawa

Highest Point on Loh-e-Dandi to Pir Sohawa Hike

There isn’t any other hike in Islamabad that combines Sufi spirituality with beautiful views like this climb from Loh-e-Dandi to Pir Sohawa.

The grand finale is watching the sunset at Charouni Top high-point.

  • The time to get to the top is 3 h
  • The difficulty level is moderate
  • Women and children can go up to Loh-e-Dandi Chilla Gah, but not farther ahead
  • People above 60 cannot go.
loh-e-dandi pir sohawa hike
loh-e-dandi pir sohawa

Bari Imam to Charouni Top has three legs

  • Loh e Dandi parking at Noorpur Shahan behind Bari Imam to Loh-e-Dandi Chilla Gah – 1 h
  • Loh e Dandi Chilla Gah to Pir Sohawa Islamabad grill – 1 h
  • Pir Sohawa to Pir Charouni top – 1 h
oh-e-dandi pir sohawa
road from pir sohawa to pine forest

PRO TIP 1

This trekking route is completely safe, but I do carry a knife just in case.

Bruti Fall from distance

The top things to see in Loh-e-dandi hike are

  • Bari Imam Shrine at Noorpur Shahan
  • Listen to live music on the cemented steps to the Chilla Gah
  • The fairy, giant and lion rocks at 0.5 h distance on the trail
  • Views of Bruti waterfalls on the way.
  • Loh e Dandi Chilla Gah and langar khana
  • The thieving monkeys of langar khana.
  • Bari Imam’s real chilla gah above the langar khana between giant rocks
  • The dried up waterfall of Loh e dandi
  • Colorful Shrine at Loh-e-dandi
  • The ridge where wind picks up a significant speed
  • Pir Sohawa pine forest and picnic spot before Islamabad Grill Pir Charouni Top at the height of 1600 feet.
BBQ spot

Top hidden picnic spot in Islamabad

Pir Sohawa pine forest just below the Islamabad grill is the best-hidden barbecue picnic spot for families as you can take any car up there and it is safe too.

Where to park my car?

I parked my car at Loh e Dandi parking at Nurpur Shahan and then collect my car from Loh e Dandi parking by

  • Taking a lift with random strangers from Pir Sohawa to Marghzar zoo
  • Careem hail ride from Marghzar zoo to Loh e Dandi parking.
Legend of Pari, lion and deo who werer frozen in time.

History of Bari Imam and Loh e Dandi

Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi (1617–1705), or Bari Imam was a Sufi of the Sunni Qadria Order, who wandered all across Hazara mountains and eventually settled in Noorpur Shahan town in present day Islamabad.

This wandering dervish’s enrapture style of self-effacing mysticism found resonance in the local Hindu population in the 17th century who quickly converted to Islam.

Do not be fooled by his preference of living with marginalized and the outcasts, he was formally trained by the Qadriya Sufi order in the renowned monastery of Ghorghusti, Attock and even in Persia.

Bari Imam is recognized as the patron saint of Islamabad.

The pariah of society, such as dancing girls, transvestites, destitute and rejects all thronged to this saint’s doorstep to seek solace –which they did receive.

After climbing for two hours on a steep hill, even an enduring skeptic like me felt some pangs of peace.

Bari Imam meditated for 12 years on the cliffs high above Noorpur Shahan, and Loh-e-dandi in the midst of waterfalls.

The waterfalls have since dried up and Noorpur Shahan has become a filth depot.

real meditaion site of Bari Imam

History of Bari Imam Shrine at Noorpur Shahan

Eventually, his shrine was also built at Noorpur Shahan, called Bari Imran Shrine, which is near Quaid e Azam University.

Noorpur Shahan was originally called Chorpur; “Chorpur” as in the place of thieves.

Highway robbers of Chorpur lived in the mountains of Margalla to steal from trade caravans traversing through the Margalla Pass.

It makes sense to make Chorpur your bandit headquarters as the highest point of Margalla Range is right above this town, called Charouni Top.

The bandits could see trade caravans and security troops coming in for miles and could plan their assault and escape accordingly.

Now I know why the guy at Noorpur Shahan did not return my 20 rupees change.

Even Aurangzeb Alamgir, the Mughal paid his respects to this ascetic Pir by building him a larger premise to hold annual Mela.

My Climb from Loh e Dandi parking to Pir Sohawa

The first leg of my hike from Loh e dandi parking to the Langar Khana was not too great, especially because there are too many desperately poor people there.

I enjoyed the second leg of my hike from Bari Sarkar Langar Khana to Pir Sohawa viewpoint, as no one is allowed to climb above this site.

There is a Rangers’ soldier positioned there to discourage people from climbing up, but I managed to give him the slip.

The soldier said there have been muggings on the second leg, but I experienced no such thing.

If the authorities are concerned about muggings, I suggest they look for the muggers instead of denying people of Rawalpindi/Islamabad of such a wonderful recreation.

There is no water on the second and third leg to drink

 

At one ridge along the trail, the wind speed picks up significantly and gets scary.

I got to Pir Sohawa viewpoint and saw several families barbecuing in the pine forest.

After reaching the main Pir Sohawa road, I asked a local for the route to Pir Charouni Top and pointed westwards.

Pir Charouni is also a moderate hike.

The icing on the cake after a long hike would be to wait for the sunset at Pir Charouni.

Panoramic view from Bari Sarkar’s Chilla Gah all the way to Margalla Pass is beautiful, especially on a clear day after a rainfall.

These trails are not for mountain bikes, because the rocks are too steep in some places.

PRO TIP 2

Do not miss the musicians on the trail. They are pretty good.

Conclusion

This is probably the 13th hiking trail in Islamabad that I have completed and I strongly recommend the Loh e dandi hike to adventure and Heritage enthusiasts.

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loh-e-dandi pir sohawa
you come across many Meditation sites while on the track
Man made meditation rooms
loh-e-dandi pir sohawa
loh-e-dandi pir sohawa

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