Shah Allah Ditta Caves are located in the village of Shah Allah Ditta, a more than seven hundred years old village nestled in the Margalla Hills of Islamabad, was actually named after a Mughal period Darvesh. The caves, on both sides of a spring under the shadow of deep-rooted Banyan trees, contain traces of human existence from ancient times and are believed to have been a meditation site of Buddhist monks in the 4th century BC. Hindu families lived in Shah Allah Ditta until the partition of the subcontinent and the caves were used for their daily worship. Shah Allah Ditta is a model village and a major tourist attraction in Islamabad worth a visit for locals and foreign tourists alike.
The village was located on the historic route between Afghanistan and the Subcontinent. The pathway right next to the village was said to have been used by Alexander the Great to invade the subcontinent by defeating the local king Porus. Moreover, the lion king Sher Shah Suri and Mughal rulers and emperors often passed through while traveling from Afghanistan to the subcontinent. Its history, therefore, dates back to the Gandhara civilization of Taxila.
The caves on both sides of the spring are located on a fair elevation. Historically these Shah Allah Ditta Caves were used for spiritual meditation and are believed to have attracted monks and priests from all over the region who sought peace and enlightenment. There is also a Buddhist stupa deep inside the gorge approximately a 1.5-hour walk from the caves. The tomb and shrine of Shah Allah Ditta are also located in the vicinity.
Physically the Shah Allah Ditta Caves have slightly eroded in places over time yet still are well preserved and the area around them has been conserved by the CDA as ‘Sadhu ka Bagh.’ There are remnants of an ancient water well that lies at a short distance from the caves and was believed to have it constructed by Mughal Emperor Akbar. However, one can enjoy the typical village environment with natural streams all around the area, enhancing the serenity of the village.
Besides the caves, there is much more to enjoy. The model village is continuously developing. Food outlets, live music, horse riding facilities for children, Archery and Paint Ball, Rock Climbing and Camping facilities, walking trails to the hilltop, construction of the road leading to the summit of the hills offering magnificent views, and its cool climate make this place a great retreat in summers and a must visit tourist spot.
Shah Allah Ditta Caves are situated to the west of Islamabad, near the D-12 sector of Islamabad, about 15 km from Golra interchange, in an ancient village, once called Sadhu Ka Bagh. It is easily accessible and highly recommended to visit, particularly in summer.