Pakistan is a mystical land. From the beautiful valleys in Northern areas to cosmopolitan and cultural cities to spectacular dessert plains- Pakistan has legendary tales and folklore stories to boast about.
Discover these legends, and intrigue yourself!
1. Lake Saif ul Malook
This mountainous lake located in Kaghan Valley is truly a fascinating sight to behold. Those who visit, are awestruck by the enchanting beauty and tale associated with the place. But humans are not the only ones enraptured by this paradise on Earth. According to the myth, fairies on a full moon come down from heaven to bathe here.
Once, a prince named Saif ul Malook while exploring the area saw a fairy dancing on the surface of the lake. Intrigued by the magical creature, he stole her clothes and wouldn’t return them until the modest fairy agreed to marry him. She was the Queen of the fairies, and the most beautiful of them all. The Prince and the fairy both fell in love but their union enraged the fairy’s demon lover, who flooded the entire valley and trapped the Queen of the fairies in the mountains. When the floods subsided, the prince kept waiting for his love to return but in vain.
There are two endings to the myth- some say the prince’s soul still wanders the lake at every full moon, waiting to reunite with his lover. While others believe the prince braved all odds, fought the demon lover and rescued the fairy from the mountains…
2. Ansoo Lake
As the name suggests, this picturesque lake is in the shape of a tear drop. Considered as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, the myth behind this natural wonder is tied to the legendary tale of Lake Saif ul Malook. Only accessible by hiking, and situated in Kaghan Valley, it is widely believed that the lake was created from the tears of jealousy shed by the fairy’s demon lover, Deuo Sufaid (the white giant.) He trapped the fairy Badr-Jamal but knew she loved the Prince Saif ul Mulook and wanted to marry him. Thus, Ansoo lake was a result of the Deo’s sorrow.
The lake is said to have been discovered recently by Pakistani Pilots in 1993. Hence, the myth is still widely believed to be true by many locals.
The story of Anarkali is a traditional legend- one full of mystery, suspense, and passionate romance, passing on from generation to generation in Pakistan. It is a tale of forbidden love between Anarkali, a courtesan, and prince Salim, the son of the Great Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
Anarkali was very attractive, and Prince Salim fell in love the moment he laid his eyes on her. Eventually, their love blossomed but when the Mughal emperor, Akbar, found out about the love affair between the two, he was furious. As the son of a Mughal emperor, Salim was expected to marry a woman of great status. When the prince disobeyed his father, Akbar ordered the arrest of Anarkali. The passionate affair ended in the tragic death of Anarkali, who was buried alive, and encased in a brick wall.
When Prince Salim, succeeded to the throne after his father’s death, he constructed a tomb around the final resting place of Anarkali. The Tomb of Jehangir (the Imperial name Prince Salim took at the time of succession) still stands in Lahore. An inscription written on the grave in Persian reads : “If I could behold the face of my beloved once more I would give thanks unto my God unto the day of resurrection.”
4. Sohni Mahiwal
In a village along the Chenab river in Punjab, there lived a beautiful girl named Sohni. She was the daughter of a very well known potter, who was visited by traders from around the world.
One day, a young trader from Uzbekistan visited Sohni’s father to buy some pottery. While examining some of his designs, he saw Sohni, and couldn’t take his eyes off her. The next day he returned to buy some more designs. He was so struck by Sohni’s beauty that everyday he visited the potter’s house just to catch a glimpse of her. The trader’s caravan left, but he stayed in town.
Sohni knew that the trader only came to see her day after day. As time passed by, the trader’s wealth dwindled and he was hired by the potter as their water buffalo herder. He became known as Mahiwal. As their love affair flourished, Sohni’s father became suspicious of their union. He married Sohni off to another potter in a nearby village. Mahiwal, distraught, bought a small hut across the river from Sohni’s house.
One night, while Sohni’s husband was away, she decided to swim across the river to meet Mahiwal. Since she did not know how to swim, she held on to a baked pot and successfully made it across the river onto Mahiwal’s arms. Their meetings became regular but as love never hides, Sohni’s sister in law found out. She replaced the baked pot with an unbaked one. The following night, when Sohni began her journey to swim to her lover, she sensed something was not right. The pot began to melt and she called for her Mahiwal. He heard her cries and swam as far as he could. But the currents were so strong that he was unable to save her. Holding on to each other, they both drowned in the Chenab River.
5. Katas Raj Temple
The Katas Raj situated in the district of Punjab is a Hindu Temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. There are many myths and legends associated with the place- one of them surrounding the mythical pond, around which the structure is built. As the legend goes, the pond which has clear green water, is due to the creation of Lord Shiva’s tears. When his wife Satti passed away, Lord Shiva cried so much that his tears created two holy ponds- one in Katas Raj Temple and one in Ajmer, India.
Another legend suggests that the pond believed to be filled with Lord Shiva’s tears have magical powers. Even nowadays, Hindu worshippers perform pilgrimages to the Temple and hold the belief that by bathing in the pond, they can seek forgiveness of their sins.