Sohni Mahiwal is one of the four popular tragic romances of the Punjab and Sindh, the other three are Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiba and Sassi Punnun.
Sohni was the daughter of a potter named Tula, who lived in Gujrat town in the Punjab near the banks of the Chenab on the caravan trade route between Bukhara (Uzbekistan) and Delhi. This place is now known as Hamirpur Kona which is on the left bank of river Chenab. As soon as the 'Surahis' (water pitchers) and mugs came off the wheels, she would draw floral designs on them and transform them into masterpieces of art.
Izzat Baig, the rich trader from Bukhara (Uzbekistan), came to India on business but when he saw the beautiful Sohni in the town of Gujrat on the Chenab in Punjab, he was completely enchanted. Just to get a glimpse of Sohni, he would end up buying the water pitchers and mugs everyday. Sohni lost her heart to Izzat Baig. Izzat Baig sent off his companions to Bukhara. He took up the job of a servant in the house of Tula, Sohni's father. He would even take their buffaloes for grazing. Soon, he came to be known as "Mahiwal"(buffalo herder).
When the people started spreading rumours about the love of Sohni and Mahiwal, without her consent her parents arranged her marriage with another potter.Izzat Baig renounced the world and started living like a "faqir" (hermit) in a small hut across the river which is now known as Hamirpur Sidher i.e located on the right bank of river Chenab. The earth of Sohni’s land was like a dargah (shrine) for him. He had forgotten his own land, his own people and his world. Taking advantage of the darkness of the night, when the world was fast asleep, Sohni would come by the riverside and Izzat Baig would swim across the river to meet her. He would regularly roast a fish and bring it for her. It is said that once, when due to high tide he could not catch a fish, Mahiwal cut a piece of his thigh and roasted it. Seeing the bandage on his thigh, Sohni opened it, saw the wound and cried.
From the next day, Sohni started swimming across the river with the help of an earthen pitcher as Izzat Baig was so badly wounded and could not swim across the river. One-day Sohni’s sister-in-law followed her and saw the hiding place where Sohni used to keep her earthen pitcher among the bushes. The next day, the sister-in-law removed the hard baked pitcher and replaced it with an unbaked one. That night, when Sohni tried to cross the river with the help of the pitcher, it dissolved in the water and Sohni drowned in the river. From the other side of the river, Mahiwal saw Sohni drowning and jumped into the river and drowned as well.
Sohni Mahiwal Point was washed away when the Chenab diverted its flow between the border hamlets of Hamirpur Sidhar and Hamirpur Kona on the night of September 2014. It was the spot where Sohni used to meet her lover Mehiwal.
The Chenab River is a major river of India and Pakistan. It forms in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, Pakistan