Shah Allah Ditta Caves – A 2400-year-old Natural Wonder

One of Earth’s most unusual and intriguing places is the Shah Allah Ditta caves. They provide a rare window into a different world frequently obscured from view. They have a unique narrative to tell, one with an intriguing past.

It can be fascinating and adventurous to explore caverns. It’s a fantastic way to venture outside and see new sights. Our planet’s history, ancient faiths, and old beliefs can be learned from caves, which can serve as an educational resource. Isn’t it interesting to understand what life must have been like back then? How did people live in the past? What were their daily routines and religious practices?

Attractions and Location of Shah Allah Ditta Caves

Shah Allah Ditta, also known as “Sadhu ka Bagh,” is rapidly becoming more well-known and attracting visitors. The ancient Buddhist caves are located in the Margalla Hills near the capital, adjacent to the mausoleum of Hazrat Shah Allah Ditta, a saint from the Mughal Empire.

The Shah Allah Ditta caves are situated on the route leading to Khanpur. The mausoleum and graveyard of Shah Allah Ditta are not far from these caverns. On the cave ceilings of Shah Allah Ditta, there is 2,400-year-old Buddha art from the Buddhist era. A mosque and a stepwell is known as Losar Baoli were built by Shahab-ud-Din Ghori and are located near the slope and the caves. The mosque’s walls are broken, and the road is in bad shape.

Although not a well-known tourist attraction in Islamabad, the Shah Allah Ditta Caves are intriguing. A minimal number of people visited the caves in the past. Visits from travelers have increased recently—particularly those with a more substantial interest in history or practicing Buddhism or Hinduism.

The entire week, tourists visit the Shah Allah Ditta caverns. However, the place is busiest on Saturday and Sunday, particularly between 5 and 6 o’clock. Many people take advantage of the weekend off from work or school. Weekends are ideal for visiting Shah Allah Ditta and discovering these caverns’ stunning beauty and fascinating history.

Preservations of Shah Allah Ditta Caves

The Natural History Museum, NUST’s Mass Communication Department, the Taxila Institute of Asian Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, and the Department of Architecture have urged the government to protect these Mughal-era cultural landmarks.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), after realizing how vital it was to safeguard this 2,400-year-old archaeological monument, eventually approved the plan in October 2010. The plan calls for the upkeep of the Buddha caves and the adjoining “Sadhu ka Bagh” park. The first historic landmark in Islamabad that the government decided to preserve is the old Saidpur Village, located at the base of the Margalla hills.

Although the executive committee of the Prime Minister’s Endowment Fund gave Rs3.6 million (about $27,000) in June 2018 for the site’s development and conservation, it has not yet implemented any practical actions.

History and Origin of Shah Allah Ditta Caves

There are still gardens, ponds, and springs close to the Shah Allah Ditta Caves. The only remaining fruit trees in the area are a few banyan trees. The park next to the caverns was watered with water from the same spring.

Shah Allah Ditta lived in this garden and was buried there during the Mughal era when India was the center of Sufism in Arabia and Central Asia. The well-known Sufi Shah Allah Ditta is now associated with the location once thought to be inhabited by sadhus, monks, or yogis.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam are just a few religions that have honored these caverns throughout history. In addition to passing through this location, many historical figures such as Panini (a renowned Sanskrit grammarian), Alexander the Great, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka the Great, Kautilya Chanakya, Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, Data Ali Hujwiri, Sher Shah Suri, and the well-known Mughal Emperor Jahangir also stayed and quenched their thirst with the cold water there.

Archaeology of Shah Allah Ditta Caves

Archaeological evidence indicates that before Muslim saints took authority during the Mughal Empire, Buddhist monks, and Hindu sadhus later visited the caves and platform-like constructions nearby for meditation.

The Shah Allah Ditta caverns exhibit evidence of widespread, long-term human occupancy. The caves comprise two naturally created permeable sand rock shelters on either side of a hot spring. Near the caves, there is also a stunning and captivating waterfall.

The paintings seemed Hindu and most likely portrayed the god Vishnu (savior). Upper and lower sections make up the cave’s interior. Mud plaster is used to decorate the cave’s walls. Additionally, the residents’ whitewash has become black because of the smoke from the fires they formerly lit.

In front of the cave, you can see the remains of a square storage tank and a tiled channel formed of line stone blocks set in lime mortar. Before India gained independence, there were many Hindu houses in Shah Allah Ditta hamlet. They remained there until 1947, using the caves for religious rituals.

Hiking In Shah ALLAH Ditta Village

A new trail will be installed in Shah Allah Ditta. The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) intends to construct a new walking trail next to the Shah Allah Ditta caves to draw more local and foreign visitors to this important landmark.

The IWMB chairperson reportedly visited the historic location and asked the pertinent officials to put together a proposal to build a walking track. Although the picturesque area is protected by the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP), there is no reliable patrol mechanism to guarantee its security.

Shah Allah Ditta Waterfall

There is a beautiful waterfall near the Shah Allah Dita caves; tourists love to see it as it is one of Islamabad’s most beautiful and serene locations.

Residential Land of Shah Allah Ditta

There are many residential areas for sale near Shah Allah Ditta as it is beautiful, and their market value is extremely high. There are many farmhouses near this place, which is a good investment for the future.

Mountain View from the Caves

The caves, located in the Margalla Hills, provide a great perspective. The caves are a superb example of Mother Nature’s artistry and were formed over thousands of years. The caves are open for independent exploration as well as guided tours.


Shah Allah Ditta Caves are open 24 hours, but it is advised to visit them before sunset to have a safe and wonderful experience.


 PWC8+R3C, Road,  Shah Allah Dita, Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory 44000

Shah ALLAH Ditta Caves Resort

Several resorts around the Shah Allah Ditta Caves include Serenity Resort and Sunset Resort. They offer basic amenities like food, WIFI, parking, and hot water. Interestingly, unlike other popular touristy places, their resorts are reasonable and easily accessible.

Wrap up

Shah Allah Ditta Caves is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the country. Forgotten for a long time, CDA has started to take the land back from land grabbers and preserve the centuries-old wonder. Relics from the Buddhist era dating back to the 8th century can be found here. They are also famous for being close to the shrine of Shah Allah Ditta. You can also see the marked location where Alexander set foot and was welcomed by Raja Ambi. With funding from the Japanese government, CDA plans to preserve the Shah Allah Ditta caves, also known as Sadhu ka Bagh.


How old is Shah Allah Ditta cave?

Shah Allah Ditta caves are a 2400 years old archaeological site. An essential national heritage must be protected against exploitation and damage. It goes back to the time of Alexander the Great.

How are Shah Allah Ditta caves?

Located in the Foothills of Margalla, the Shah Allah Ditta Caves are made of limestone and date back to 2400 years when Buddhists performed their religious rituals here in the caves. Buddhist murals can be easily seen on the walls of the caves.

Is there any restaurant in Shah Allah Ditta caves

Even though there are no restaurants in the  Shah Allah Ditta Caves, you can easily find one in the vicinity, only a few miles from the site.

Is Shah Allah Ditta under CDA?

After much tug of war with land grabbers, the Shah Allah Ditta caves and their surrounding land is under CDA again. One hundred canals of land were retrieved just recently. With funding from the Japanese Government, CDA plans to preserve the site as soon as possible.