By Jamal Shahid
Most citizens of Islamabad know Saidpur as a sleepy village lying in the foothills of the Margallas with a mystic past and breathtaking natural beauty.
But a massive facelift has turned the once dusty village into a tourist attraction – thanks to the former CDA chairman, Kamran Lashari.
Before the facelift, the only visitors to the village used to be people out to buy flower pots or sacrificial goats – and nature lovers and the curious out to have a whiff of rural life and of the glorious Kichnar trees in bloom during spring season. Not only the magic wand of Mr Lashari given a fairyland touch to the physical structures in the village, it has also enhanced the natural beauty of the serene place.
Old-timers are in for a surprise when they enter the remodelled Saidpur. A modern urban concept greets their eyes instead of the old crumbling village.
People who visited Saidpur on the cloudy Sunday described the few hundred metres drive to the village off the Khyaban-i-Iqbal as exhilarating. That was just the beginning.
Nestled in the grove of Banyan trees, said to be hundreds of years old, and clean fresh water stream. As the visitor breathes deep the pure air and feasts his eyes on the nature, the village appears as an oasis of beauty and solitude.
“The winding paths and salubrious weather gives you just the right setting for short forest strolls or quiet getaways,” said Imran Haider, who could not resist visiting the Saidpur village again and bringing his family along to share the inner joy that it brings.
Though some archeologists say
they should have been consulted to preserve the historical integrity of the place when CDA was developing the village, the resort has become popular with the citizens of Islamabad who want an occasional break from the city humdrum.
Many found it providing a more relaxed, family-friendly experience than its glamorous neighbours, the Daman-i-Koh and Pir Sohawa resorts.
“Some mountains are known for their wild side while others offer a milder experience that families can enjoy. Margallas have all that and probably more. There are not so many places where hills have as many sides,” said Mrs Rashid who lives in F-6 and usually prefers to take her evening walks with her husband towards the Saidpur.
Truly exquisite in its setting, Saidpur village is less frequented by visitors than the locations up the hills.
Surrounded in lush, tranquil wilderness, the historical village is furnished with rustic fittings and will soon offer amenities like a range of local food outlets.
With lush fauna all over and the hills within touching distance, Saidpur is the serenity the citizens of Islamabad dreamed of and which Kamran Lashari made them accessible.