Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Takht-i-Sulaiman



In Dera Ismail Khan, the highest peak of the Sulaiman mountains range is known as Takht-i-Sulaiman at 3,487 metres (11,440 ft). In Balochistan, its highest peak is Zarghun Ghar at 3,578 metres (11,739 ft) near Quetta city. Takht-i-Sulaiman is situated in the territory of Sheranis, near Darazinda village. Legend has it that at Darazinda or 'Dar-i-zindan" which literally means prizon-house, were imprisoned the restive genii, at the orders of King Solomon, after whom Suleiman Mountain range and Takht-i-Suleiman (height 11,070 feet) are named. [Indus, Volume-11, Page-15]

Ethnologically, the Sulaiman mountain is considered by some to have been the birthplace of the Pashto-speaking races. Moroccan Travelar Ibn-i-Batuta ( 1304 – 1368) says;
".. Their (Afghans') principal mountain is called Kuh Sulaiman. It is related that the Prophet of God Sulaiman (peace be upon him) climbed this mountain and looked out over the land of India, which was [then] covered with darkness, but returned without entering it, so the mountain was named after him. It is in this mountain that the king of Afghan resides" ["The Travels of Ibn Battuta", Volume 3, p-590]

Many legends attach to it. According to some, Noah's Ark alighted here after the Deluge; while others (from this the mountain derives itsi name) connect it with Solomon, who, as the story goes, once came to Hindostan to marry a lady named Balkis. While returning from India with his bride in a flying throne, the lady requested Solomon to stop for awhile, to enable her to take a last fond look at her native land. Thereupon the throne alighted on this peak, which has ever since borne the name of Takht-i-Suliman, or Solomon's Throne. From these and other legends connected with this mountain, the shrine situated near its summit has been for many centuries the place of pilgrimage of adventurous pilgrims.

In 1891 two British officers Major Maclvor and Captain A.H.McMahon reached either the shrine or the summit of the peak of the Takht-i-Suliman and gave the following details about their adventure ;
"We found ourselves on June 28, 1891, at the Pezai spring, on tho western slopes of the range — the highest point at which spring water on that side is obtainable. At dawn on the 29th we commenced the actual ascent, and by the evening, after a hard day's climb, reached the crest-line at the point where the famous shrine is situated. Here we found a couple of rough stone hut shelters erected by pilgrims, in which former visitors had each in turn left cooking-vessels and supplies of flour and rice for the use of them who might come after them. The actual shrine was close by, and within a few yards, but far from a pleasant place to get at. The face of the mountain at this point on the eastern side is a sheer precipice of many thousands of feet. The shrine is some 20 feet down below the edge of the precipice, and consists of a small ledge of rock about 4½ feet long by 3 feet wide, with a slight artificial parapet of rocks on the outer sides, about a foot in height. It is reached by four foot-holes cut or worn away in the rock. The hand and foot-hold is good, but the edge of the precipice appears slightly to overhang the little ledge below, and the sensation therefore experienced in going down or coming up over the edge of the precipice is only equalled by that of seeing some one else do so. All pilgrims apparently do not enter this shrine, but content themselves with looking down into it from above. Those who do descend have a small token in the form of a small piece of stick, which they fix into the interstices of the little rock parapet. Both of us descended, and left our stick tokens. The look down into space from this little ledge does not tempt one to make a very long stay there. 
 The crest of the mountain at the shrine is not the highest point, which is at one of the three knob-like peaks at the south end of the crest. These we determined to ascend, if possible, next day, notwithstanding the assurances of our native guides that these peaks were quite inaccessible. After a cold night on the crest, on the ground, where some snow was still lying in patches, we commenced a bard day's work. Each of the three peaks before us was separated from the place in which we were and from each other by precipitous gaps in the crest-line, and the ascent certainly did not appear hopeful. Without describing the many adventures of the day, it will suffice to say that we both succeeded in reaching the tops of all three peaks, and also, I am glad to say, in discovering a possible way down again—a matter which at one time appeared somewhat doubtful.
 This is the first occasion on which Europeans have reached either the shrine or the summit of the peak of the Takht-i-Suliman. No one has, as far as I know, gone up to ether place since. [The Geographical Journal, Volume 4, Issues 2-6, p-486]



Ziarat on the Takht-i-Sulaiman, 1909.


People offering prayers at the Takht-i-Sulaiman (FR Dera Ismail Khan)


Koh-i-Sulaiman