Shah Allah Ditta
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Shah Allah Ditta is a centuries-old village located at the foothills of the Margalla Hills in the Islamabad Capital Territory. The village is named after a Mughal period Dervi. A dervish or darvesh (from Persian) is someone guiding a Sufi Muslim ascetic down a path or "tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity. A tiny percentage of dervishes were Jews. Their focus is on the universal values of love and service, deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. In most Sufi orders, a dervish is known to practice dhikr through physical exertions or religious practices to attain the ecstatic trance to reach God. Their most common practice is Sama, which is associated with the 13th-century mystic Rumi.
Shah Allah Ditta village is believed to be more than seven hundred years old and was used as a route from Kabul to the Gandharan city of Taxila by Alexander and Sher Shah Suri while Mughal rulers and other emperors often passed through while travelling from Afghanistan to the Hindustan. The geography is a 2,400-year-old archaeological site. Relics of the Buddhist era dating back to the 8th century can be found here along with burnt diyas and trees with amulets tied to them.
Shah Allah Ditta caves are located on the route leading towards Khanpur. These caves are next to the shrine and tomb of Shah Allah Ditta. 2,400-year-old Buddhist era murals of Buddha appear on the walls of caves at Shah Allah Ditta. Archaeological evidence indicates that the caves and the platform-like formations surrounding the area were first used for meditation by Buddhist monks and later by Hindu sadhus before Muslim ascetics took over during the Mughal period.
Marked on the ground close to the caves the location where Alexander arrived and was received by Raja Ambi, King of Taxila. The road next to the caves that lead to the main top of the mountain, Shah Allah Ditta road, is said to be built on the exact path followed by Pashtun emperor Sher Shah Suri during his visit.
Moving up the mountain from the caves, there is a stepwell called Losar Baoli and a mosque built by Shahāb-ud-Din Ghori. The mosque has broken walls and the road leading to it is dilapidated.
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