Ziarat Kaka Sahib
About an year ago I wrote a post about my visit to a shrine in Lahore and for years I had no idea whose shrine that was. Sounds silly, but as I had explained in my post, it was evening and though there were plenty of lights on but I couldn’t pay attention to the board affixed on top of the entrance. The girls accompanying me didn’t talk about it either so we paid our respects and left. Ironically, I so wanted to visit Data Darbar Lahore but never got a chance. I mentioned that earlier that I’m not very fond of visiting shrines, however, if I get a chance I don’t let it go.
Similarly, I don’t plan to visit such places but there was one shrine that I had heard a lot about and for some reason I always wanted to visit it. Maybe that reason had to do with the goat – brought from Kaka Sahib (village). The goat stayed in our home for about two years until she was stolen. We never found out who took her away but really she was so quiet and made a wonderful pet. Other than (the goat attachment) one of my aunts and a domestic help would draw such a fantastic verbal sketch of the area that made me yearn to see it as well.
One day finally, we got a chance to see the shrine. The shrine is located in District Nowshera (Khyber Pukhtunkhuwa). From Peshawar it takes about 45 – 50 minutes to get there. The drive is pleasant with beautiful, rugged mountains on one hand and the orchards on the other. On our way, we were stopped several times by Frontier Corp. They asked us where we were going and what was the purpose of our visit. It sounds absurd to answer such interrogative questions in your own province and country but given the security situation it was acceptable. The Taliban had been threatening to take over the shrine. They had destroyed many shrines on previous occasions so the security was beefed up. It is apt to remind that the Taliban ideology has no place for maintaining and visiting shrines.
Kaka Sahib’s real name was Syed Kastir Gul and he belonged to the tribe of Kakakhel. He is thought to be the Sufi of his times hence his shrine attracts hundreds of people from all over. Traditionally, people visit Kaka Sahib’s shrine for physical and psychological cure and according to many people they were healed. The shrine is nicely kept and unlike many other shrines it is usually not cramped with people. The crowd is quite decent – the way I prefer. The chances of eve-teasing are low and in case of an unpleasant incident there is an option of informing the (shrine) council and they’d take care of it. The use of intoxicating drugs is prohibited and like most shrines it too offers public meals.
There is a small market close by that sells toys, clothes, jewelery and other everyday items. It was fun walking in the not-so-well-lit alleys of the market. I couldn’t resist to buy a Chinese made digital FM radio. It worked but was far from better due to poor signal reception. That small market had only one restaurant, which sold the traditional chapli kebab and naan. On our way we had bought a deep fried fish. In addition, we brought our own food so we didn’t go inside the restaurant despite an old man’s loud, vocal publicity that they cook the best kebabs in the whole town.
The aroma of kebabs was appetizing. It was lunch time and we were in search of a nice place to sit and have our lunch. There was no proper place so we drove down a bit, pulled over by the roadside and spread out sheets in a place that was between the graves and the mountain. It by no means was a good place to eat but we had no other choice. I hoped the dead didn’t mind our presence as we ate, laughed and littered like true humnimals (Human + Animals).
It didn’t feel strange a bit while we were eating because we all were hungry but later when I thought about having lunch amid the dead – it gave me creeps. There was another family, who pulled over by the other side of the road and the men, women and children started climbing up the hill with food, mats and a bag of oranges with them. I wish there was a nice place to sit. I know it wasn’t a picnic park but still… nobody thinks about setting up public facilities in general. To sum up, Ziarat Kaka Sahib is a nice place to see. I’ve a good memories of that visit.
Check this site for the photos of Kaka Sahib shrine.