History of Bhabra Bazaar, Rawalpindi

History of Bhabra Bazaar, Rawalpindi

Pak Chronicler Report


Rawalpindi is blessed with many timeworn buildings which are century old or more and all of these buildings are situated in the downtown areas of the city.

Bhabra Bazaar is an old dwelling along with other areas like Banni Chowk around which the current modern city of Rawalpindi was built. History of Bhabra Bazar dates back to Jainism.

The visit to it in its narrow streets remind the visitor of a past age when its original dwellers were living over here. The visitor may also have a taste of their culture by viewing smaller homes and narrow lanes.

It is amongst those areas of the city which were, after the arrival of the British regime over here, awarded basic facilities of life including electricity and the water supply.

Most parts of the Bhabra Bazaar consists of residential areas and only hardly 20 percent of it constitutes its commercial part.

It contains around 20 to 25 narrow lanes or streets which keep twisting at several points and make it harder for the visitors to find a specific place easily.

Before partition of India the majority population of it was Jains, Hindus and Sikhs and these people also had their worship places over here.

According to Iqbal Qaisar who is an historian and a well-known writer, those who follow Jainism are known as ‘Bhabray.’

He said basically Bhabra Bazaar was founded by the people who were followers of Jainism.

He said historians believe that Jains along with people of another tribe named as Rawal had founded the city of Rawalpindi. He said Rawals had excellence in telling prophecies to the people by using their knowledge of palmistry.

He said the narrow streets of Bhabra Bazaar are even older than 100 years. He said there are various buildings over here which were constructed during the British regime.

He said there are buildings in the area in which smaller bricks were used for constructing the buildings.

He said these buildings were either constructed during Mughal period or in early days of Sikh era. He said smaller bricks are mostly used in the construction of Mandir or temples in the area.

“The followers of Jainism had two separate schools for boys and girls and they also had a temple at Jangi Chowk which is a known place near it. On the main road of the bazaar there used to be a beautiful building of a library of Jains which was demolished while construction of a new road,” Qaisar stated.

While elaborating the culture of Jains he said they were basically vegetarians and even in vegetables they avoided things which cause smell like onion and garlic.

He said these people usually avoid using shoes and they walk barefooted.

“In old city of Rawalpindi the footprints of Jains are very much evident. They used to construct smaller homes some of which still exist,” he stated.

According to him these people worship the statue of Mahavira and a Chiran Padika which is a special stone having imprints of the feet of Mahavira on it.

He said the schools which were established by Jains are not operational anymore and they are deserted.

He said the followers of Jainism had migrated to India after the partition along with Hindus and Sikhs. He said there is no follower of Jainism in Rawalpindi at the moment.

He said their homes were allotted to Muslim migrants after the inception of Pakistan.




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