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Neela Bothu: photographer's paradise where nature, legends unite

Place believed to be the spot where revered Sufi saint Bari Imam used to meditate in Margalla Hills

By Sajid Mehmood Qazi |
Photo: Sajid Mehmood Qazi
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PUBLISHED June 18, 2023

For a landscape photographer, travel is a must to discover exotic places and make interesting pictures, showcasing varied and interesting perspectives of life and culture of a particular area or people. Just recently, I discovered a quaint little place called Neela Bothu, an incredible site located in the Margalla Hills near Islamabad. Neela Bothu holds great religious and historical importance as it is believed to be the spot where the revered Sufi saint Bari Imam used to meditate.

According to a legend, Bari Imam was once sitting near the pond of Neela Bothu, and he felt thirsty. He requested for milk, and a devotee brought him milk from a cow grazing nearby. Bari Imam drank the milk, but soon after, the cow suddenly died. Upon seeing this, he offered prayers for the cow's revival. Miraculously, in response to Bari Imam's prayers, the cow came back to life.

Photo: Sajid Mehmood QaziPhoto: Sajid Mehmood Qazi

This story emphasises Bari Imam's spiritual powers and his connection to the divine. It highlights the concept of miracles attributed to Sufi saints, which are believed to be manifestations of the divine intervention and the saint's closeness to God.

The tale of the revived cow serves as a testament to the spiritual authority and blessings associated with Bari Imam. It further reinforces the belief in his ability to intercede on behalf of his devotees and perform miraculous acts. This legend has become an integral part of the folklore surrounding Neela Bothu and the spiritual legacy of Bari Imam.

Photo: Sajid Mehmood QaziPhoto: Sajid Mehmood Qazi

The folklore also attaches mystic connections to the fish of the area, which are considered sacred by the locals who believe that anyone who catches the fish either becomes blind or lands into serious trouble.

Over time, Neela Bothu has become a revered place for both tourists and devotees. People from different walks of life visit this historical site to pay their respects to Bari Imam and seek Allah’s blessings. The location offers breath-taking views of the Margalla Hills and provides a tranquil environment for reflection and spiritual contemplation.

Photo: Sajid Mehmood QaziPhoto: Sajid Mehmood Qazi

Beyond its historical and spiritual significance, Neela Bothu is situated in the lap of the magnificent Margalla Hills, a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Margalla Hills, with their rugged peaks, lush greenery, and diverse wildlife, offer a magnificent backdrop for explorers seeking solace in nature. Hiking trails wind through the hills, providing opportunities to discover hidden valleys, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe.

For birdwatchers, the Margalla Hills are a haven, home to a wide array of avian species. Melodious chirping of birds resonates through trees, creating a symphony that harmonizes with the peacefulness of Neela Bothu. Butterflies flit from flower to flower, adding vibrant colours to the natural tapestry of the hills.

Photo: Sajid Mehmood QaziPhoto: Sajid Mehmood Qazi

The Margalla Hills also house a myriad of flora, including rare and endangered species. Scent of wildflowers fills the air, captivating the senses and inviting exploration. From the vibrant purple of lavender bushes to the delicate blooms of jasmine vines, the Margalla Hills offer an enchanting botanical spectacle.

Neela Bothu, nestled in Margalla Hills, carries a historical connotation that has stood the test of time. Its association with Bari Sarkar and the mystical tales surrounding it have made it a site of pilgrimage and wonder. The natural beauty of the Margalla Hills further enhances the allure of this enchanting place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Photo: Sajid Mehmood QaziPhoto: Sajid Mehmood Qazi

As visitors immerse themselves in the tranquillity of Neela Bothu, they are greeted by the harmonious melodies of nature, captivating fragrance of wildflowers, and awe-inspiring vistas of the Margalla Hills. Whether seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply a respite from the chaos of daily life, Neela Bothu offers a sanctuary of peace and beauty that continues to captivate the hearts and souls of all who visit.

Sajid Mehmood Qazi is career civil servant who has a passion for landscape photography. All facts and information are the sole responsibility of the author