Hyderabad- The City of Pearls

The city of smiles, of lights, of a thousand faces, endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad offers a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, Lakes and Parks, Gardens and Resorts, Museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience. To the traveller, Hyderabad offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning 400 colourful years.

Image Credit:

The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It is said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendor inside the Charminar. The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a pedestrianization project around the monument is under implementation.

Image Credit:

Taramati Baradari is located at Ibrahimbagh, on the Osman Sagar (Gandipet) Road, close to Golconda. The complex is spread over a sprawling 7-acre area amidst lush green environs with the backdrop of the famed Golconda Fort. The heritage monument built by the Seventh Sultan of Golconda is accessed from the complex.

With two fully equipped theatres, Taramati Baradari Culture Village is the perfect venue for music concerts, performing arts, social events etc. The Baradari illuminated in dynamic lighting forms the backdrop of all activities.

Image Credit:

One of the modern monuments of trade and technology, it embodies the newfound attitude of Hyderabad and today finds a place of pride. Situated on the outskirts of the city, it is the nucleus of Cyberabad, the IT destination in this part of the world. Cyber Towers is the main building here.

Image Credit:

Excavated in 1562 A.D. by Hussain Shah Wali during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, the lake has a promenade that is a busy thoroughfare today. Boating and water sports are a regular feature in the Hussainsagar. One of the World’s tallest monolithic statues of the Buddha stands on the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’, in the middle of the lake. Added to all these, AP Tourism has additional boating facilities like speed boats, motor boats, 48 seater launch etc. Starlit dinner on-board and private parties also can be arranged on the Launch.

Surroundings of Hussainsagar Lake provide marvellous entertainment options like NTR Gardens, Necklace Road, Tank Bund, Prasads Multiplex, Lumbini Park, Sanjeevaiah Park etc.,

Image Credit:

The stately Purani Haveli, the palace acquired around the year 1750 by the second Nizam, is now converted into a museum with a fascinating collection. The museum exhibits the gifts and mementos presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations in 1937. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Mark V Jaguar are among the vintage cars displayed. There is an interesting collection of models made in silver of all the prominent buildings of the city and citations in Urdu about H.E.H. Mir Osman Ali Khan, gold burnished wooden throne used for the silver jubilee celebrations, gold tiffin box inlaid with diamonds, and a gold model of Jubilee Pavilion.

Image Credit:

 

One of the largest parks within the city KBR National Park is a Southern tropical deciduous forest and the last vestigial representative of the endemic flora of Hyderabad region, with over 100 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and 15 species of butterflies.

Image Credit:

Osmansagar, better known as Gandipet, on the outskirts of Hyderabad is an excellent picnic spot. Osmansagar is one of the two lakes on the city’s periphery that supplies drinking water to the great metropolis. The lake is a reservoir created by a dam across the Isa, a tributary of the River Musi. Abutting the lake and the bund are lush gardens that provide the ideal ambience for an outing. Overlooking the lake is the heritage building, Sagar Mahal, built as a resort by the Nizam of Hyderabad and converted now into a lake resort managed by AP Tourism.

Advertisements

Taxila-City of Cut Stone

Image Credit:

Taxila is a town and an important archaeological site in Rawalpindi District of Punjab, Pakistan. Taxila is situated about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. The town lies 549 metres (1,801 ft) above sea level. It is the headquarters of the Taxila Tehsil in Rawalpindi district.

Image Credit:

Taxila is the abode of many splendid Buddhist establishments. Taxila, the main centre of Gandhara, is over 3,000 years old. Taxila had attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 BC, with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. Taxila later came under the Mauryan dynasty and reached a remarkable matured level of development under the great Ashoka. During the year 2 BC, Buddhism was adopted as the state religion, which flourished and prevailed for over 1,000 years, until the year 10 AD. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsadda (old Pushkalavati) became three important centers for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh, both in The Gandhara civilization was not only the centre of spiritual influence but also the cradle of the world famous Gandhara culture, art and learning. It was from these centers that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan, together with many private collections world over, as well as a vast collection in the museums of Pakistan. Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries, the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art. Much of this legacy is visible even today in Pakistan.

Image Credit:

The modern town of Taxila is 35 km from Islamabad. Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC to 500 AD) are located around Taxila Museum. For over one thousand years, Taxila remained famous as a centre of learning Gandhara art of sculpture, architecture, education and Buddhism in the days of Buddhist glory. There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 kms around Taxila. Some of the most important sites are; Dhamarajika Stupa and Monastery (300 BC – 200 AD), Bhir Mound (600-200 BC), Sirkap (200 BC – 600 AD), Jandial Temple (c.250 BC) and Jaulian Monastery (200 – 600 AD).

Image Credit:

The very earliest examples of Buddhist Art are not iconic but aniconic images and were popular in the Sub-continent even after the death of the Buddha. This is because the Buddha himself did not sanction personal worship or the making of images. As Siddhatha Guatama was a Buddha, a self-perfected, self-enlightened human being, he was a human role model to be followed but not idolized. Of himself he said, ‘Buddha’s only point the way’. This is why the earliest artistic tributes to the Buddha were abstract symbols indicative of major events and achievements in his last life, and in some cases his previous lives. Some of these early representations of the Buddha include the footprints of the Buddha, which were often created at a place where he was known to have walked. Among the aniconic images, the footprints of the Buddha were found in the Swat valley and, now can be seen in the Swat Museum.

Image Credit:

When Buddha passed away, His relics (or ashes) were distributed to seven kings who built stupas over them for veneration. The emperor Ashoka was later said to have dug them out, and distributed the ashes over a wider area, and built 84,000 stupas. With the stupas in place, to dedicate veneration, disciples then initiated ‘stupa pujas’. With the proliferation of Buddhist stupas, stupa pujas evolved into a ritual act. Harmarajika stupa (Taxila) and Butkarha (Swat) stupa at Jamal Garha were among the earliest stupas of Gandhara. These had been erected on the orders of king Ashoka and contained the real relics of the Buddha.

Image Credit:

Texila museum is also a very amazing place to visit and to know about the ancient civilizations.

Image Credit:

There are some 4000 objects displayed, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 B.C to 500 AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions are well represented through these objects discovered from three ancient cities and more than two dozen Buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples in the region .

Image Credit:

Airport is near the Texila city In Islamabad. You can get local transport from Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

 

Peshawar-The Land of Pakhtuns

Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Peshawar is the largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and by the 1998 census was the ninth-largest city of Pakistan. But now the estimated population of Peshawar has crossed 3.5 million making Peshawar the fifth largest city in Pakistan. Peshawar is a metropolitan city and the administrative centre and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated in a large valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, close to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar is irrigated by various canals of the Kabul River and by its right tributary, the Bara River.

Image Credit:

Pashtun cuisine refers to the cuisine of the Pashtuns, who are predominant in eastern Afghanistan and westernPakistan. The cuisine of the Pashtun people is covered under Afghan cuisine and Pakistani cuisine, and is largely based on cereals like wheat, maize, barley and rice as well as a plethora of meat dishes that includes lamb, beef, chicken, and fresh fish. Accompanying these staples are also dairy products (yogurt, whey, cheeses), including various nuts, locally grown vegetables, as well as fresh and dried fruits. Cities such as Peshawar, Jalalabad, Kabul, Quetta and Kandahar are known for being the centers of Pashtun cuisine

Peshawar is the capital city ofNorth-West Frontier Province, is a frontier town, the meeting place of the sub-continent and Central Asia. It is also a place where ancient traditions jostle with those of today, where the bazaar in the old city has changed little in the past hundred years except to become the neighbor of a modern university, some modern hotels, several international banks and one of the best museums in Pakistan.

Image Credit:

 

Image Credit:

No other city is quite like old Peshawar. The bazaar within the walls is like an American Wild movie costumed as a Bible epic. Pathan tribesmen stroll down the street with their hands hidden within their shawls, their faces half obscured by the loose ends of their turbans. (With his piercing eyes and finely chiseled nose, the Pathan must be the handsomest man on earth).

On the other side of the railway line is the cantonment, its tree-lined streets wide and straight as they pass gracious gardens. Clubs, churches, schools, The Mall, Saddar Bazaar and the airport round out the British contribution to the modernization of Peshawar. Further west is UniversityTown, Peshawar’s newest section and the site of Peshawar University.
A local book, Peshawar, History City of the Frontier, by A.H. Dani and published by Khyber Mail Press in 1969, makes a good first purchase. It provides a detailed account of Peshawar’s history and a tour of this city walls and ancient monuments.
Situated on the Grand Trunk Road in the Cantonment area, the museum houses a rich treasure of art, sculpture and historical relics, particularly of the Gandhara period (300 BC – 300 AD). The pieces on show at the museum include Graeco-Buddhist stone and stucco sculpture, gold, silver and copper coins, antique pottery, armour, old manuscripts, Buddha images, terra-coat plaques, antiques of ivory, shell and metal and a replica of the famous casket which contained the relics of Lord Buddha.
The Khyber train currently runs only by appointment. Groups of 20 to 45 passengers can book one bogey for an all day outing to Landi Kotal and back, a ride lasting ten to eleven hours, for US $ 1,000. But you can easily see the train at rest at Peshawar Station.

Abottabad-City of Pines and Hills

Abbottabad is a city located in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in northeastern Pakistan. The city is situated in 110 kilometres (68 mi) north of the capital Islamabad, 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Rawalpindi and 150 kilometres (93 mi) northeast of Peshawar at an altitude of 1,260 metres (4,134 ft) and is the capital of the Abbottabad District. Kashmir lies to the east of the city. The city is well known throughout Pakistan for its pleasant weather, high-standard educational institutions and Military Establishment Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. It remains a popular hill station attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

Image Credit:

Abbottabad, under the British Raj, was the headquarters of the Hazara District during British rule of India. It was named after Major James Abbott who founded the town and district in January 1853 after the annexation of Punjab. He remained the first Deputy Commissioner of the Hazara district from 1849 until April 1853. Major Abbott is noted for having written a poem titled “Abbottabad”, before he went back to Britain, in which he wrote of his fondness for the town and his sadness at having to leave it. In the early 20th century.

Image Credit:

Abbottabad has a humid subtropical climate, with mild to warm temperatures during the spring and autumn months, hot temperatures during June and July and cool to mild temperatures during the winter. The temperature can rise as high as 38 °C (100 °F) during the mid-summer months and drop below −5 °C (23 °F) during the extreme cold waves. Snowfall occurs occasionally in December and January, though it is sparse, while the heavy rainfall events occurs during the monsoon season stretching from July to September that frequently cause flooding in lower lying parts of the city.

Image Credit:

Abbottabad is popular not just with visitors but with those looking to relocate. Its weather, halcyon reputation and the perceived security of a garrison have drawn many from other cities to work or edify their children. There was an influx of migrants from Azad Kashmir after the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake, another from the Swat District during military operations against militants in 2009 and 2010, and withal from Waziristan after the army launched major operations against the Taliban in 2009.There is an under construction £19m regalement park in the city located on a 50-acre site is includes a zoo, adventure sports facilities, restaurants and artificial waterfalls.

Image Credit:

Like much of the mountainous Northern Areas, tourism is one of the consequential sources of income in Abbottabad. In the summer when temperatures elevate to around 45 degrees Celsius in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an astronomically immense number of tourists peregrinate to Abbottabad. The Karakoram Highway, which traces one of the paths of the archaic Silk Road, commences from Hasan Abdal on the N5 and heads north passing through the city, eventually reaching Khunjerab Pass. The Karakorum Highway is a major magnetization itself for its views. The Karakoram, Himalayas and the Hindu Kush ranges can be approached from Abbottabad and it perpetuates to be a transit city for tourists, accommodating as a base for visiting numerous nearby places, such as Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan, of the Karakoram Range.

Image Credit:

Abbottabad’s economy is largely based on tourism. It is known for its shady gardens, church bells and wide streets in the Old Cantonment which evoke the British colonial era.

Image Credit:

Abbottabad’s main public transport consists of modified Taxis, Carry pick-up vans Suzukis, which can accommodate anywhere from 1 to 14 people at one time. Taxis are also available as well as wagons that connect Abbottabad to the surrounding cities and towns (ex. Nawanshahr, Nathiagali, Sherwan, Dhamtour, Haripur, Mansehra) in the region. Abbottabad is also served by Daewoo Express and Niazi Express, the NATCO, Skyways and many other bus services. Pakistan Railways does not serve Abbottabad, however aPR Reservation Office is located in Fawara Chowk in the city centre. The nearest railway station is located in Havelian, which is the last and most northern station on the Pakistan Railway network. The station is approximately thirty minutes drive south from Abbottabad city centre.

 

 

Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi commonly known as Pindi is a city in the Punjab, Pakistan. It is the 4th most populous metropolitan area of Pakistan.It is located only 14 kilometres (9 mi) south of the capital city, Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Due to the high interdependence and intertwined areas of the two cities, they are known as the twin cities of Rawalpindi/Islamabad. In the 1950s, Rawalpindi was smaller than Hyderabad and Multan, but the city’s economy received a boost during the building of Islamabad (1959–1969), during which Rawalpindi served as the national capital. Rawalpindi is in the northernmost part of the Punjab province, located 275 km (171 mi) to the north-west of Lahore. It is the administrative seat of the Rawalpindi District. Also, Rawalpindi is the military headquarters, also referred to as GHQ (General Headquarters) of the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Image Credit:

Ayub National Park formerly known as ‘Topi Rakh’ (keep the hat on) is by the old Presidency, between the Murree Brewery Co. andGrand Trunk Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has a play area, lake with boating facility, an aquarium, a garden-restaurant and an open air theater. This park hosts “The Jungle Kingdom” which is particularly popular among young residents.

Image Credit:

Rawal Dam is located in Rawalpindi. Its a very beautiful place for enjoyment on the bank of Rawal dam and there is also a park named Lake view park which is situated near this dam.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Rawalpindi is Surrounded with margalla hills and pir sohawa is a picnic place at the top of these hills.

Image Credit:

Rapidly developing into a large city, Rawalpindi has many good hotels, restaurants, clubs, museums and parks, of which the largest is the Ayub National Park. Rawalpindi forms the base camp for the tourists visiting the holiday resorts and hill stations of the Galiyat area, such as Murree, Nathia Gali, Kotli, Ayubia, Rawlakot, Muzaffarabad, Bagh,Abbottabad, Samahni, Swat, Kaghan, Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Chitral.

 

Sahiwal-Twin city

Sahiwal is a city in central Punjab, Pakistan. It presently is the administrative center of Sahiwal district, and previously was that of the former Sahiwal division. Sahiwal is approximately 180 km from the major cityLahore and is the city between Lahore and Multan. With a population of 207,388 (1998 Pakistan Census), it is the 14th largest city in the Punjab and the 22nd largest city in Pakistan.

The city is in the densely populated region between the Sutlej and Ravi rivers. The principal crops are wheat, cotton, tobacco,legumes, potato and oilseeds. Cotton goods and lacquered woodwork are manufactured.

Image Credit:

The climate of Sahiwal district is extreme, reaching 45 °C in summer, and down to 2 °C in winter. The soil of the district is very fertile. The average rainfall is about 200 mm.

It is in the vicinity of the ancient Indus civilization city Harrappa (3300 BC – 2500 BC) In a way it can be called the Harrappa of today. Sahiwal is a busy city with houses made of red brick walls just like Harrappa. It is said Sahiwal is built on top of a large portion of the ancient Harrappan mound. Many of the streets and houses of the modern town are built directly above the ancient streets and houses of ancient Harappa.

Image Credit:

The Harappan civilization dominated the Indus River valley beginning about five thousand years ago, many of its massive cities sprawling at the edges of rivers that still flow through Pakistan and India today. But its culture remains a mystery. Why did it leave behind no representations of great leaders, nor of warfare?

Archaeologists have long wondered whether the Harappan civilization could actually have thrived for roughly 2,000 years without any major wars or leadership cults. Obviously people had conflicts, sometimes with deadly results graves reveal ample skull injuries caused by blows to the head. But there is no evidence that any Harappan city was ever burned, besieged by an army, or taken over by force from within. Sifting through the archaeological layers of these cities, scientists find no layers of ash that would suggest the city had been burned down, and no signs of mass destruction. There are no enormous caches of weapons, and not even any art representing warfare.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

The Sahiwal is one of the best dairy breeds in India and Pakistan. It is tick-resistant, heat-tolerant and noted for its high resistance to parasites, both internal and external. Cows average 2270 kg of milk during a lactation while suckling a calf and much higher milk yields have been recorded. Due to their heat tolerance and high milk production they have been exported to other Asian countries as well as Africa and the Caribbean. As oxen they are generally docile and lethargic, making them more useful for slow work.

Image Credit:

Sahiwal is twinned with the town of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, North West England. There is a direction sign in Rochdale’s town centre pointing in Sahiwal’s direction with “Sahiwal 3960 miles” written on it.

 

Bahawalpur-The land of desert

Bahawalpur District is one of the districts of Punjab, Pakistan. Its capital is Bahawalpur city. According to the 2009 Census of Pakistan it had a population of 2,433,091 of which 27.01% were urban. Bahawalpur district covers 24,830 km². Approximately two-thirds of the district (16,000 km²) is covered by the Cholistan Desert, which extends into the Thar Desert of India. The district is a major producer of cotton.

Image Credit:

The word Cholistan is derived from the Turkic word chol, meaning desert. The people of Cholistan lead a semi-nomadic life, moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals. The dry bed of the Hakra River runs through the area, along which many settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization have been found.

Image Credit:

The desert also hosts an annual Jeep rally, known as Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally. It is the biggest motor sports event in Pakistan.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Bahawalpur is also an important agricultural training and educational center. Soap making and cotton ginning are important enterprises; cotton, silk, embroidery, carpets, and extraordinarily delicate pottery are produced. Factories producing cottonseed oil and cottonseed cake were built in the 1970’s. It is an important marketing centre for the surrounding areas and is located on the crossroads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Bahawalpur is also known for its distinctly embroidered slippers and shoes and the filigree pottery which is made here.

Image Credit:

There are various stories regarding its construction. According to one legend, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan had the palace made for his wife; however, she was only there for one night, as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there, and so it remained unused during his reign.

Noor Mehal is one of the hidden gems of Bahawalpur, due to the lack of publicity. The palace is open to public. It is currently in the possession of the Pakistan Army and is used as a state guest house for holding state durbars and meetings with foreign delegations.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

The climate of Bhawalpur is very Hot. There are a lot of Historical places and i suggest that visit Bhawalpur in winter .

 

 

 

Quetta-The city of dry fruit

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province in Pakistan. If you are taking the overland route from Istanbul to New Delhi without going through Afghanistan you will have to pass through Quetta.

Quetta is an excellent base for exploration of Balochistan. Kan Mehtarzai (2224 meters), the highest railway station in Asia, is a two-hour drive away. Loralai, the almond bowl of the country, is 265 km away. Besides, there are numerous other valleys that are fascinating places for explorers.

Image Credit:

Quetta is 1,680 meters (5,500 feet) above sea level and enjoys a healthy climate. The temperature drops a few degrees below the freezing point in winter following a typical autumn when the leaves turn golden and then a wild red.

Quetta can rightly be called the fruit basket of Pakistan. Plums, peaches, pomegranates, apricots, apples, guavas (locally called zaitoon), some unique varieties of melon like “Garma” and “Sarda” and cherries, pistachios and almonds are all grown in abundance. Some pistachios also grow in Qila Saif Ullah. Saffron grows very well and is being cultivated on a commercial scale. Tulips are an indigenous flower of Pakistan. The yellow and red varieties of tulip grow wild around Quetta.

Image Credit:

The inhabitants of Quetta are mainly Pashtun followed by Brahui and Baloch. You can also find Punjabis, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkomen rubbing shoulders with the other inhabitants. They are known to be hospitable to visitors because hospitality is an important element of their cultures. Nomadic tribesmen, mainly Pashtun tribes of Nasaran, pass through Quetta Valley during spring and autumn with their herds of sheep and camels and their assorted wares for sale. This seasonal movement adds color to the life of the city. The people inhabiting this land are proud, robust and fiercely independent. They harbor no domination and the British who came here in the late nineteenth century learned to respect and honor their ways.

Image Credit:

There is an international airport about 15 minutes by taxi from the city center. Flights with PIA will take you to most major cities in Pakistan, such as, Karachi , Lahore and Islamabad. International destinations are to Dubai, London and Amsterdam.

There are daily train connections with most major cities in Pakistan. The overnight sleeper Bolan Mail departs Karachi daily at PM, arriving after noon the next day. Another sleeper train, Quetta Express starts in Peshawar (33 h) daily at 8AM and make stop-overs in Rawalpindi (29 h) and Lahore (24 h) on it’s way, arrival time in Quetta is around 5 PM the next day. Comming from Afghanistan, there is a train departing the border town of Chaman every day at 2PM, arriving later that evening just before 6:30PM.

If you want to enjoy an excursion near the city, you can visit to Hanna Lake. It is in the hills overlooking Quetta, approximately 10 km from the city and very close to the Urak, where benches and pavilions on terraces have been provided. Golden fish in the lake come swimming right up to the edge. A little distance away, the waters of the lake take on a greenish blue tint. Right where the water ends, pine trees have been planted on the grass filled slopes. The turquoise water of lake is a stark contrast to the brownish-green hills that surround the area.

Wagon service operates from city bus station at Circular Road. The transport can be hired through the PTDC Tourist Information Centre, Muslim Hotel, Jinnah Road Quetta.

Image Credit:

In the old bazaars one comes across quaint old tea-shops. These are the local “clubs”. There are also many popular eating houses offering different types of delicacies. Among the delicacies you must try is Sajji (leg of lamb), which is roasted to a delightful degree of tenderness and is not very spicy. It is a whole leg of lamb deliciously marinated in local herbs and spices and barbecued beside an open fire. It is very popular among the locals and is offered with great insistence to the guests. The Pathan tribesmen of the valley also enjoy Landhi (whole lamb) and Khadi Kebab. “Landhi” is a whole lamb which is dried in shade and kept for the winters. “Kebab” shops are very popular, the best being Lal Kebab, Tabaq, Cafe Farah and Cafe Baldia. They serve Pakistani and Continental food. The Chinese restaurant that is one of the oldest in town is CAFE CHINA. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta. It has a delicious smell which can be sampled in the Pulao that most of the eating houses offer.

Image Credit:

A visit to Quetta will however, be incomplete without a trip to Ziarat (133 km from Quetta, 3 hours by car), a hill town 8000 feet above sea-level Air-conditioned coach and taxis take anything between an hour or two from Quetta an ideal and relaxing summer retreat with rows of juniper trees and ever green slopes.

The word Ziarat means holy place to be visited and the valley is known by that name because of a shrine of a holy saint, Tahir Baba Kharwari. There are other graves as well. However, the world knows it more because of the oldest and tallest juniper jungle, which needs to be looked after properly for future survival.

Extremely delicious species of apple, black cherry and almond trees are abundant in Ziarat, covering about 4416 acres in the lap of mountains.

While Ziarat abounds in tall chinar trees and juniper grows wild as does walnut and a variety of other trees, the area west of this hill station leading up to the Afghan border is rocky and barren. The drive through this unfriendly terrain provides one the grim reminder of the fierce tribes who roamed free in the region and kept the British weary and fearful. The border village of Chaman is also a major trading centre for a variety of fruit, a large quantity of which is still brought in from Afghanistan.

Image Credit:

Ziarat has the honor of playing host to the Quaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the last days of his life. The two storey wooden house where the Quaid stayed is called Ziarat Residency. It is surrounded by trees and garden laden with flowers. Its hilly location has made it all the more alluring. Ziarat Residency has now been converted to a National Monument and the things used by the Quaid are displayed here.

Image Credit:

Quetta is a very beautiful city and i hope you enjoy to visit it.

Kashmir- Heaven on earth

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Azad Jammu o Kashmir), abbreviated as AJK or Azad Kashmir (“free Kashmir”), is a self-governing administrative division of Pakistan. The territory lies west of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, and was previously part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which ceased to exist as a result of the first Kashmir war fought between India and Pakistan in 1947.

Image Credit:

Nice people and fertile, green and scenic mountain valleys are characteristics of Azad Kashmir, making it one of the most beautiful regions on the Subcontinent. While Kashmir as a whole is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Azad Kashmir is as well rich in natural beauty and often dubbed “Heaven on Earth” by tourists for its scenic natural beauty and stunning landscapes. Its snow-covered peaks, forests, rivers, streams, valleys, velvet green plateaus and climate varying from arctic to tropical combine to make it an excellent and popular tourist destination both for domestic and foreign tourists throughout the year.

Image Credit:

The climate of Azad Kashmir varies with altitude. The central and northern parts, as a mountainous area in the lesser Himalayas zone, is very cold in winter with snowfall and moderate in summer, while the southern parts of Azad Kashmir have extremely hot weather in the summer and only moderately cold weather in the winter. Azad Kashmir receives rainfall in both winters and summers.

Image Credit:

Given the difficult geographical position of Azad Kashmir, there’s no railway station as yet but there’re two airports in Azad Kashmir, in the capital city Muzaffarabad and in Rawalakot but unfortunately currently both of them are closed therefore its not possible to fly directly to Azad Kashmir. The nearest major airport is located in Rawalpindi.

While by road is the only way to get in Azad Kashmir, traveling by road to Azad Kashmir is itself an attraction as you come across the most beautiful scenes of winding rivers and hills. Practically, Azad Kashmir can be easily approachable by road from all nearby cities of Punjab and buses leave from Islamabad approximately every 20 minutes for different destinations in Azad Kashmir, but the most commonly used routes are:

  • From Rawalpindi to Muzaffarabad via the beautiful hills of Murree (140km)

Image Credit:

The northern part of Azad Kashmir encompasses the lower part of the Himalayas where scenic views are in abundance which make it a very popular holiday-retreat during the summer months.

There’re many tourist spots but some most well-known are the two historical forts Red Fort (Chak Fort) and Black Fort located on the bank side of the Neelum River in Muzaffarabad. They were contracted in 16th century and holds archaeological significance. Pir Chinasi is tourist spot located 30 kilometres east of Muzaffarabad on the top of hills at the altitude of 9,500 feet (2,900 m). The mountain peak has gained large fame for its ziyarat of a famous Saint Pir and this place is visited by tourists who can get a great view of Muzaffarabad and rural areas around the hidden city.

Neelam Valley is a long river, possesses scenic beauty, great panoramic views, towering hills on both sides of the noisy river, lush green forests, enchanting streams and attractive surroundings. Another great river is the Leepa Valley which is full scenic beauty as well. It has high mountains covered with pine trees covered with snow during the winter season.

Some other great tourist attractions are extremely beautiful artificial Banjosa Lake surrounded by densely pine forest and mountains, which make its very charming and romantic. A nearby hilltop Toli Pir is very natural beautiful area.

Image Credit:

Azad Kashmir is known for its great valleys and high lush green mountain ranges which means adventurer outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful. It has varied mountainous landscape ranging from low hills to high mountains (2000 to 6000 m) which are suitable for many adventure sports such as climbing, trekking, mountaineering, summer camping and hiking or even paragliding.

Azad Kashmir is a great place for water sports activities, from rafting, canoeing and kayaking to wind surfacing, boating, rowing and hovercraft.

Image Credit:

There are lots of options from dormitories to luxury resort hotels and you can find all type of lodging facilities mostly own by AJK Tourism and Archaeology Department available in Azad Kashmir whether you’re looking to camp, a budget room for a backpacker or want to pay and stay in luxury. There are various guest houses, rest houses, motels and hotels at most of the tourist spots and in major cities. Rooms in Azad Kashmir range from as low as PKR 1,000 to a whopping PKR 50,000 in the most luxurious hotel Pearls Continental.

Swat -The city of lakes

Swat has been inhabited for over two thousand years. The first inhabitants were settled in well-planned towns. In 327 BC, Alexander the Great fought his way to Odigram and Barikot and stormed their battlements. In Greek accounts these towns have been identified as Ora and Bazira. Around the 2nd century BC, the area was occupied by Buddhists, who were attracted by the peace and serenity of the land. There are many remains that testify to their skills as sculptors and architects.

Image Credit:

Mahodand valley, in the North of Kalam, is famous not only among nature lovers and escapists but also the exotic trout fish hunters. The valley can be accessed through an un-metalled road from Kalam in a four by four (4×4) vehicle. The road is bumpy and tricky but the surrounding landscapes engrosses you so severely that you wish for more and expect to discover new panoramas. The small hamlets that are scattered in the mountains and the bellowing smoke that spirals into the sky from the houses are some, which lives in the memory forever. Swat River, which is born here, is shackled by the tall mountains, which has turned its water into a roaring monster trying to release itself from its fetters, but there are some places where the river is calm and silent without showing any sign of rebellion.

Image Credit:

 

Image Credit:

Pari Lake is one of the lakes in Swat region which is located at a very high altitude in the foot of the tallest peak in the range with a considerable depth. The name Pari or Khapiro is given to the lake due to the widespread belief that the lake is the abode of fairies where they live and bathe in the cool, pure and clear water of the lake. It is located to North-east of Utror valley and can be accessed only by trekking. Trekking to the lake needs endurance and love for nature as the trail is exasperating as well as dangerous therefore, utmost care should be taken while trekking on the narrow bends and turns leading to the lake. The lake is accessible from both Izmis and Kundal lakes. Two ascending tracks lead to this lake from Kundal and Izmis lakes taking almost five hours to reach this roof top of Swat. The trail is very steep from both sides but the surrounding beauty and eye-cooling green pastures and exotic flowers not only boost the trekker’s stamina but compel him to explore further.