Hassan Abdal is 55 km west of Rawalpindi. It is a beautiful historical town in Northern Punjab and also a junction on G.T Road that enroute and connect, Peshawar to historical Khyber pass, Hazara to magnificent Karakuram highway that goes up to China and to twin cities, Rawalpindi – Islamabad.
The famous Chinese traveler Xuanzang who visited the place in the 7th century A.D. mentions the sacred spring of Elapatra about 70 li to the northwest of Taxila which has been identified as the spring at of Gurdwara Panja Sahib. The town is mentioned in Ain-i-Akbari in the context that Shams al-Din built himself a vault there in which lies Hakim Abu’l Fath buried. Akbar’s visit to the town on his way back from Kashmir is also mentioned.
William Finch who travelled through India between 1608 and 1611 describes Hasan Abdal to be a “pleasant town with a small river and many fair tanks in which are many fishes with golden rings in their noses …; the water so clear that you may see a penny in the bottom”.
The town was seat for Mughal warring expeditions to the northwest frontier. The Mughal emperor Jehangir mentions in his Tuzk-e-Jahangiri this town by the name of Baba Hasan Abdal where he stayed for three days. He also praises the city in these words: “The celebrated place at this station is a spring which flows from the foot of a little hill, exceedingly clear, sweet and nice…”. Hasan Abdal was visited by various Mughal kings on their way to Kashmir
Raja Man Singh built the nearby Wah Gardens during the reign of Akbar. The terraced gardens were divided into four parts. Shah Jahan rested at Hasan Abdal’s Wah Gardens on his four expeditions to Kabul. Emperor Aurangzeb stayed at the for over a year beginning in 1674, in order to quell the Afridi Revolt. The presence of Emperor Aurangzeb at the gardens convinced many local Pashtun tribes to abandon the rebellion, and join forces with the Mughals.
“The Muslim version of the story is that one Hasan, a Gujjar, had many buffaloes; that a Faqir named Abdal came and asked him for a draught of milk. Hasan said, I would gladly give you some, but my buffaloes are at present dry. Abdal laid his hand on one of them and said, “Now milk it.” He did so, and soon gave him a copious draught. Abdal expressed his gratitude to Hasan, and asked what he could do for him. Hasan replied that they were much straitened for want of water, on which Abdal struck the neighbouring hills in two places, from which the two streams of Hasan Abdal have come forth. On the departure of the Faqir, Hasan said the spot should hereafter be called after them jointly
The town has a Sikh Temple known as Gurudwara Panja Sahib, one of the most sacred places of Sikhism. Twice a year, many pilgrims come to visit here from all over the world, especially thousands of Sikhs and Hindus visit the Gurudwara on the eve of Besakhi mela. Thou, the Gurudwara is open for everyone to visit, but visitors will have to respect the Sikh religion’s privacy. The Gurudawara is beautiful from the inside, the place where the hand print lies in the center of the Gurudwara
The other historical place is a tomb erroneously called Lala Rukh Tomb. There is a grave inside a square walled Garden and a fresh water fish pond near the tomb. On the nearby hill there is a meditation chamber attributed to 15th century’s Muslim sufi saint Baba Hasan Abdal also known as Baba Wali Qandhari with local folks. The city is named after this saint. The saint stayed in Hasan Abdal from 1406-1416 AD but died and buried in village Baba Wali near Qandhar (Afghanistan).
Also, there is a military style boys residential / boarding school known as Cadet College Hasan Abdal. One can climb over the steps leading to the hill, for offerings and to have a panoramic view of this beautiful little town, Hasan Abdal.