Rawal Dam Colony is the new name for a small hamlet of about a 100 households of mixed Hindu, Muslim and Sikh families that lived here before 1947. This was mostly a farming village with Muslims doing the actual labor, Hindus owning the farms and Sikhs’ enjoying their special privilege as ‘friendly’ indigenous people to the crown. This village overlooked the fertile catchment areas around Korang River, after the river coming from Murree hills slowed down here.
Three streams from Margalla Hills fed this plain beside Korang. Rawal colony sits on top of a rocky outcrop that was the perfect site for a mixed community, trying to feel safe from the sea of Muslims’ all around. Fortunately, it was also the perfect spot for an irrigation dam and a pond, which is exactly what Pakistan built after 1960.
Rawal village was a symbol of interfaith harmony. It had a Hindu temple , a Sikh Gurdwara and a mosque, all on top the rocky mound. The Sikh Gurdwara couldn’t last long and its roof caved in after 1960, the Hindu temple was whitewashed over several times and has lost all its priceless paintings and frescos. Only the mosque still stands proud and fresh, despite being a hundred years old.
Legend has it that the Hindu temple was built at this rock formation in reverence to ancient settlers that lived on this rock. Evidence also points to the same in the form of potshards and unusual caverns.
Rawal temple still has its Dharamsala intact, although certain grave robbers have tried to find the elusive pot of gold by burrowing under its floors. In fact, this temple is a lesser religious center called the ‘Shawala’ meant to act as a replacement for the real thing— Krishna & Kalyan Das Mandir in Rawalpindi City. There were a few other Shawalas around Rawal Dam, one was submerged, and the other withered away.
The best thing about the place is that Irrigation department has restricted access to the site and you have to grease-palm to get in. It is more green, airy and beautiful, as a result. The view of Rawal Lake, Margalla hills and Rawalpindi city above tree top level in spring is breathtaking. CDA has a gorgeous guest house on top of another hill and it’s the place to hang out. Watching the Spillways open and water gushing out during monsoon is quite an experience.
Rawal Dam Hindu temple is just 35 minutes from Rawalpindi. The place also has a Canoeing and Yacht club which is also dysfunctional.
Any other country would be making billions from this place from religious tourism. Even I know a certain Mr. Dhār dying to visit his childhood home.
On the Northern Bank of Rawal Dam is the Lake view park. Their Aviary (bird) pen, boat rides, All Terrain (ATV) track, paintball and Golf range are fun to go to. The best thing about the place is their Gol Gappay, ice cream cone, and French fries. A lot of female university students visit the place, so it has a lot of scoping potential as well. Lake View Park is fast becoming the center for music and dance parties as well.
Adjacent to Lake View Park is a lovely marsh where flora and fauna live, untrammeled by urban noise and pollution— this is a must visit place for a boat ride amongst ducks, birds and gulls and even a horse ride.
Do visit these places, it’s worth it.