Is it not an irony, or the dishonesty of the historians, or the regional antagonism, that a shrine that attracts fifteen lakhs devotees annually and is the most significant one in the state of Jammu-Kashmir has no written record on it? Similarly, the chroniclers have altogether ignored Hazrat Ghulam Ali Shah. No written material is available. This author has therefore, spoke to all such persons as are related to the shrine to piece information. They include Khatib Jama Majid Shahdara, Abdullah Shah, Zubair Shah, Javed Shah, and the superintendent (gaddi-nashin) and cashier, Iqbal Sahib, Zubair Shah, related to Ghulam Shah, and has gathered the following biographical details painstakingly.



Name and Parentage

Ghulam Ali Shah was the name and called by the titles of Ghulam Shah Badshah, and Baba Sahib and his monastery Baba ka durbar. The names of his parents were Idris Muhammad Shah and Ghulam Fatimah. His father was a well-known mystic saint whose tomb stands in Rawalpindi. His grandfather was Syed Ayaz Shah. Ghulam Ali Shah was Syed of pure descent through Imam Musa Kazim Mashhadi a descendant of Hazrat Ali.

He was born at Syed Kisrawan in tehsil Gujar Khan, of district Rawalpindi.


He read the holy Qu’Oran from Mullah Misri was a born saint, showed signs of sainthood from the childhood.


He came from the Qadri Order and Hanfi School; attained spiritual ranks under the guidance of Imam Bari Shah Latif but still some hold that he was the follower of his father.


It is said that once his father sent him to graze the goats in place of his brother when he was quite young. He could not attend to the goats, which ate the standing crop of a farmer. He probably had slept away. The farmer suffered some losses. When awoke, he returned home with the animals. The farmer made a complaint to his father and threatened him to sue in the court for damages. The father reprimanded him saying, “We put you to work and you caused the damages.” Ghulam Ali Shah insisted that there was no loss but the farmer was adamant on his statement. After many debates when he reached the site to make the assessment, Ghulam Ali Shah was proved right. The incident made him popular.

After the miracle he was ordered to migrate from his native place. Who ordered it, is a matter of controversy but some hold that his father did it as he had exposed himself prematurely. He was asked to go to Seena-darah and told him some symptoms of the place for instance that it was a dense forest of grapevines and when dug would find treasure. Some of his followers believed that his teacher guide asked him to migrate and was shown the place in a dream. It was said of it, “There will be lions. When you tatter a he goat, both lions and he goat will disappear.” Consequently he set out on the journey.

Ghulam Ali Shah moved about in search of Sina-darah and stayed at various places. From Syed Kisrawan he went to Noorpur, resided there for two years; stayed at another place Bandi Chichan for five years; moved to Bandiyan to live for two years; and from this place he reached Sina-darah (Poonch) and then to Senei Swarn-Kot where he resided for ten years. Again he left for Durban, then for Chamrer Gail and finally reached Shahdara where he discovered in 1186 all the symptoms. Here in order to settle down permanently he ordered for cutting down the forest. When news reached the ruler, he took exception to the action and ordered his officials to bring him to him. The wife of Karam-Ullah, the ruler, bade the officials to escort Ghulam Ali Shah in a palanquin with due honor. Shah Sahib went to the court grew angry, and cursed that his progeny would not last.

Prayers and Meditation

He spent almost forty years in deep meditation and prayer.

Baba Sahib’s predictions

Baba Sahib’s followers and devotees speak of his several predictions, which are of interest to relate here:

The curse that Baba Sahib cast at Karam Ullah proved true. Both his sons died and he too died of dysentery.

When his two sons died and he too fell ill seriously of dysentery his queen, Bansi Maeli, realized the mistake. She went to him and begged him to forgive her husband. Baba Sahib pardoned Karam-Ullah and said, “you shall bear a son who will have the mark of the lions paw on his back. Name him Ugar Khan. If he does justice, he will rule otherwise he will be removed.” He ruled cruelly and so his rule ceased to exist.

Baba Sahib foretold Gulab that he would become king. Gulab was an ordinary soldier in Ranjit Singh’s army and a devotee of Baba Sahib. He never believed that he would be king one day. When Ugar Khan exceeded in cruelties Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir Ugar Khan fled and went underground. Ranjit Singh ordered for his arrest. All failed to apprehend him. Gulab arrested him on Baba Sahib’s clues. This raised the importance of Gulab in the eyes of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who promoted him to higher ranks till he became a commander. The English took over Kashmir from the Maharaja under the agreement of 1846 and auctioned it for seventy-five lakh rupees, Gulab bought it. It is also rumored that Ranjit Singh’s wife procured a large sum of money to Gulab for the purpose. Gulab thus became Maharaja Gulab Singh and Baba’s prediction came true.

Gulab Singh was a devotee of Baba Sahib and offered him the territory around Shahdara as a fief. Baba Sahib settled down here and engaged himself in prayer and propagation of the Faith.


He made his tomb built under the supervision of a mason of Multan in his lifetime. It is also said that the mason dreamed him ordering him to reach Shahdara. He proceeded to Shahdara in Pakistan instead. Baba again directed him with certain symbols to reach this Shahdara in his dream. He, accordingly, came to the place and undertook the construction of the tomb and completed the project in his lifetime.

Revelations and Miracles

Baba Ghulam All Shah was a man of revelations and miracles and showed numerous ones; a few of them are:

There lived a yogi magician at Swarn-Kot who levied regular taxes on them and made them believe that if they did not pay their taxes. Rain would not fall. Baba Shah stoutly opposed him. The Yogi prepared for competition. Baba Shah postponed it for, sometime, then he turned awesome, taught him a lesson, and prayed. It rained heavily, and resulted in abundance of paddy harvest. It profited the farmers.

The Poonch ruler Rustam Khan was his devotee and respected him. His nephew Yahya Khan was also devoted to him. Some of the courtiers led Rustam Khan believes that Yahya Khan intended to murder him so that he might succeed him. He ordered to kill him. Rustam Khan’s soldiers attacked him. On the other side Baba Shah took a mental note of the situation. He exclaimed. “Yahya! Kill! Yahya! Kill.” Yahya killed seven men even though his head was severed of. Baba Sahib ran into awesome state and said. “I will turn Poonch upside down.” His awe resulted into a severe earthquake. People begged him with folded hands, and then only his anger subsided.


He died in the year 1156 Hijri and was buried in the tomb he had built in his lifetime.

His mausoleum

His mausoleum stands in beautiful surroundings, in a pass surrounded by high hills namely: Mnnu-wala Nikka in the east. Paglan-gali and Kopra in west, Sirhi and Janna Chamrir-Gali in the north from the direction Baba Shah came. Dabri and Rajdhani villages in the east, A nullah flows in the vicinity on the way to the tomb. There is a faulted market and before it is an open maidan. An arch like dome is under construction before the flight of stairs. Where a fountain will be installed, Ahead of it goes the step like ranges, similar to the one in Nishat garden, leading to the tomb with a canal running in the center. To the right of the guestrooms which provide food and lodging to the devotees, one reaches the tomb traversing through a wide courtyard and after it stands a large hall paved with marble floorings. On the right side of the courtyard, a few steps above, is the go-down where foodstuff for the langar is stored. Baba Shah meditated here. The tomb has been constructed in the pagoda style. The devotees throng in the courtyard in front of the tomb and say the Fatiha and pray his blessings. Jama Majid is under construction on the adjoining site. It is very extensive with engravings in wood on the ceiling, floor in marble, and a wide courtyard.


Baba Shah’s public eating place (langar) serve food to four thousand persons everyday and to ten thousand ones on special occasions. The langar remains open twenty four hours a day.

Ever flourishing tree

A tree commonly known as the Sada-bahar stands by the hall. It has several stories related to it. Some people hold that Shah Sahib brought the sapling of the tree. Others relate that a piece of wet wood while burning in the kitchen of the langar emitted pungent smoke disturbed the sage. Baba Shah overlooked it for some time then grew annoyed, removed the wood from the oven and planted it into the earth and said, “Remain here and be ever green.” The wood turned into an evergreen tree. It bears fruit the year round. One sees non-ripe fruits, green fruits and some yellow-ripe fruits on the tree.

The devotees believe that the fruit reaches one whose wish is granted Sada bahar’s fruits do not rot, and can last for years. As for the taste, it is bitter.

The seekers of offspring’s pick up two and a half leaves of the tree and make ten small balls of which husband and wife take five tablets each and receive a male child.

The management

Baba Ghulam Ali Shah’s shrine is maintained by the State Aqua and its officials look after the shrine and the needs of the devotees sincerely and devotedly. They are dutiful, humble, honest and hard working in the discharge of their services towards the pilgrims, and leave a deep impression on their minds.

The irony of the History

We have already mentioned that not much is available in records about the sage Ghulam Ali Shah, or about the shrine, which draws lakhs of pilgrimage from every part of the country. The need of the hour is to make him known widely, to hold symposiums and seminars on him, to institute chairs in the universities, to establish academic institutions in his memory and to make research work on him so that not only devotees in the country know about him but the ones living abroad are drawn to him.

“I have already torn away the veil of secrecy but your disease of sight less ness is deep rooted.”