Chehel Abdal

Chehel Abdal

In the heart of Chakwal, amongst the throes of history, ancient ruins and expansive fields, lies the legend of Chehal Abdals’ Peak. The Chehal Abdal Peak is a 3701ft high peak, which the highest point of the Chakwal district. Located just outside the town of Basharat, the hilltop is frequented by hopeful people who come to have their prayers answered. It is a widely held superstition that praying at the peak will have all your desires fulfilled. 

The path to the peak is a rocky one. Small boulders of rock scattered all over make for bumpy ride on a 4x4 vehicle. It is what one can call a jeepable track, although people can be seen taking their motorcycles and pick-ups there. We, however, opted to walk.  As we made our way to the start of the trek, we were quickly approached by two locals on a motorbike, who warned us not to go so close to sunset.

“Sir, raasta mushkil hai aur buhat dur hai. Aapkay saath ladies hain. Aap mut jayien”. (Sir, the road is difficult and it’s really far off. You have ladies with you. Don’t go”)

Assuring them we would be fine, we quickly set off. Being the ‘lady’ in question, I was determined to reach the top as quickly as possible.

The trek was a little above an hour, and made for an excellent hike. Beautiful fields and tree lined pathways made for an exquisite experience, and the golden hour bathed everything in its warm orange hue. We hurried up the pathway as a race against time, pausing only occasionally to take a picture or admire the pretty view that was slowly being revealed to us.

The end of the road brought us to the base of the shrine, where a short 1-2 min walk lead straight to the door of the shrine.  We were rewarded with a spectacular sight. The views from the top were stunning. Miles and miles of land stretch out as far as the eye could see, and little villages dotted the land here and there amidst the green fields. 


It was a 270 degree view of the horizon. The sun was hanging low on one end of the horizon, a beautiful orange and red orb, inching its way slowly down. And the moon was rising on the other end, a bright white half crescent, shining brightly against a darkening blue sky. 

The Significance of Chehal Abdal Peak:

According to the locals, the shrine up top is not a shrine at all. It is, in actuality, an alter, or a baithak, which is a place to rest and pray.  Salman Rashid breaks down the name “Chehal Abdal” in his article ‘Heritage, Chillas and Picnics’. According to him, the word “Abdal” signifies one of the stages to the attainment of being a ‘Wali’, or trusted deputy of God. The Persian word “Chehal” means 40. Hence the term ‘Chehal Abdal’ signifies the attainment for spirituality for 40 days.  

Legend has it that 40 pious brothers stayed at this peak for a long time, and prayed to God. The peak was named after them, and eventually gained the symbolic status of a shrine, where people all over come to pray, in a bid to get closer to God.

  Salman Rashid, however, states that the presence of the alter was possibly from pre-Islamic times, where the altar was possibly used to offer sacrifices to the Dharti Ma (Mother Earth). 

Whatever the true story of Chehal Abdal Peak might be, it has gathered a spiritual significance over time. It is where people come to pray and get closer to God. It is where prayers are heard and spirituality is experienced. 


 After having spent an hour watching the orange and yellow sunset over the beautiful fields of Punjab, we headed back to the track. Locals had warned us that the area can get dangerous at night. Whether they meant danger from animals or human, we didn’t know, but we heeded their advice and made our way back down as quickly as possible. Just as we were about to reach our car, I glanced back and saw a little fox staring at me curiously from a distance. That was enough of an indication for me to respectfully leave the space, and let the night animals enjoy their beautiful habitat in peace.



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