Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination 2019 - Come and Listen to the Rich Folk Music of Pakistan

Pakistan is not only rich in its natural trove, but has an equally rich culture and folk music that mystifies the listeners and spellbound them for as long as there is music in the air. We have indigenous music instruments like dhol ( a two sided elongated drum) which have rich sound not only to move the folk artists and the audience, but also make the horses and camels dance with its heavy beat. 

The folklore are artistically converted into music which are often sung in villages when the sun has set and moonlight adds mystery to the music being played and the voices of folk singers adding to the mysticism. Each place and province has its own music, its own heroes to eulogize and love stories retold. Some of the famous folk songs include "Abeeti" (a love song sung by young women), "Allah Hoo" (a Muslim lullaby) and "Ashoor Jan" (a patriotic love song). Badala (or Sandara) is a historically significant form of Pashto folk music that focuses on local romance, epics, folktales, fables, local heroes and historical events. Badala also includes Pashto translations of epics and romance from Arabic and Persian. There are many talented names who are living this music genre.

Besides, Jugni, Sammi, Luddi are some of the tunes which make people move and dance on the rhythmic tunes. In fact it is the rhythm of music which unifies Pakistan and music spills away from the bounds of one province or a place to the other and everyone seems to be singing and laughing together.

Sometimes back, a beautiful musical composition was composed that very comprehensively combines music of all provinces of Pakistan - a composition which has since been my favourite. But this is just the bird's eye view of the otherwise very rich folk music of Pakistan, which must be listened live. Even if one doesn't understand the lyrics, the rich music played on indigenous instruments mesmerizes the listener. 

Watch the video below which is blend of rich drumbeat enriched by the musical instruments that compels the dancers to dance and dance on the rhythm of folk tunes - that is why this is my favourites!!
Do come to Pakistan and be part of our rich cultural heritage and folk music fro as long as you are with us. But once you go back, you will carry the nostalgia. Try it !!

Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel destination in 2019 - Part XI: Borith Lake and Ghulkin Glacier (Gilgit Baltistan)

Many years ago I watched the film Beyond the Last Mountain for the mere name fascinated me. But those who dare and go on adventure tour to the northern areas of Pakistan and wander between the mountains valleys, they often find a fascinating world hidden beyond these mountains. And the the mountains are never ending, for when one thinks that this is the last mountain, there is yet another mountain behind ever mountain and yet another wonderland awaiting to be explored and loved forever.

However, the journey in quest to see what lies beyond the last mountain is not easy.  The moment one leaves the spectacular Karakoram Highway, there commences a nerve breaking endless journey on narrow mountains tracks studded with rocky stones, the shock of which can be felt no matter which vehicle you are sitting in. And that is where sturdy 4x4 age tested Jeeps come handy. In fact tourists, trekkers and adventurists hire these Jeeps right at the Road Head from where the mountain tracks branch off from the last metaled road. The drivers of these Jeeps are locals who can handle the toughness of the stony tracks and negotiate hair raising turns and bends.

I am always for look out for place unheard so that my readers get to see these beautiful otherwise hidden places to show to the world the beauty that awaits them to explore. And the video that I have shared below is one such effort to show to my readers the less heard Borith Lake and Passu Glacier.

Borith Lake, located approximately 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) above sea level,  is a lake in Gulmit, Hunza Valley in Gilgit–Baltistan, northwest of Husseini, a village near Gulmit, Gojal, in the upper Hunza. The crystal clear water of the lake is so far unpolluted and clean as it is watched by its snow covered protectors from behind the rocky ridges.
In order to reach the lake, one has to leave the Karakoram Highway at village Husseini and then has to travel on an unpaved jeep track for about 2 kilometers over watched by rugged stony mountains. The Lake is a sanctuary for migrating birds and is often visited by bird-watchers and nature lovers. From March to June, the lake is home to ducks of many species who rest here on their way northwards to the cooler waters of central Asia. The birds revisit from September–November with the onset of winter towards the north.
Before reaching the Borith Lake, one skirts the Ghulkin Glacier which feeds the Borith Lake. A longer walk to Passu Gar Glacier is another attraction, crossing both Ghulkin Glacier and Borith Lake. Having crossed Ghulkin Glacier by the same route, hikers can continue on the southern side of Borith Lake past the settlement of Borith Bala and the now deserted settlement of Shahabad. 

Watch the video below by a group of adventurists who dared to tap the unbeaten tracks and reach beyond the mountains:
After watching the video, you too would realize that Pakistan is a sure destination to visit to cherish its memories forever !!
Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Pakistan: Your Travel Destination in 2019 - Forbes Tells

Pakistan offers startlingly striking scenery. Add to this the warm welcome of the people, the glacial blue of Atta-abad lake, the centuries of history, the juxtaposition of granite to greenery, the chance to walk through an age old-apricot orchard along water channels cut by hand, and the blazing snow-covered glory of Rakaposhi, and you must acknowledge there is a grand adventure to be had. - Forbes

And the claim is nothing but fully justified. Those who haven't seen Pakistan or staying away from it just because of some negative propaganda, mist listen to those who come here and do not want to go back - and even they go back, they come back again fro there is so much to bee seen of the untapped beauty that resides in the valleys guarded by towering snow capped mountains and welcomed by warm hospitable people.

Come visit the land of five of the Eight Thousanders,, the K2 (second highest peak after Mt Everest), Hunza, the beautiful place where people do not age, the mountain ranges of the Karakoram, the Himalaya and the Hindukush - all await you this year and tears after.

Watch the spectacular video about Pakistan's loveliest travel destinations:
Have you packed up your luggage to visit Pakistan already?

Photo | More Information and Destinations in Pakistan | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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Friday, February 8, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination 2019 - Part VII - Pir Ghaib (Bolan), Balochistan

Balochistan province, that is the largest province of Pakistan as far land mass is concerned, is mostly an arid desert and mountainous. There are large tracts of treeless in most of the province due to lack of rainfall. But wherever there is water available we see lush green orchards, apple gardens and water falls. 

Pir Ghaib is one such place which located amid barren rocky mountains is a cool refreshing place with a waterfall and blue green water pond, surrounded by tall palm trees and lush green bushes. This serves an attractive tourist resort, specially in summers, when the area around is baked by strong sun rays. Pir Ghaib waterfalls is in fact a beautiful cascade located some 70 kilometers away from the province's capital Quetta.

Pir Ghaib literary means a pious man who disappeared or an invisible saint. No one is really sure why the place is so called but folklore legends relate that a saint and his sister had come to the area to convince the locals who worshiped fire to convert to the true faith of Islam. When the local king came to know of the presence of these two "dis-tractors" he dispatched a contingent to catch or kill the duo. When being persuaded in a gorge, the two decided to split lest being caught together.

While the sister followed the gorge, the saint fled into this arid landscape with the army in hot pursuit. And found his way up the Bolan mountain but reached a dead end. It is said that he started clawing at the mountain and when soldier almost reached him, the saint vanished inside the rock. And from that point a stream sprang in a form of waterfall that cascaded down into the area and filled it up and formed a pond. Due to presence of water, vegetation started to grow and soon became an oasis. Since that day, this oasis is called Pir Ghaib - the Invisible Saint.

And the amazing part of the folklore is that till date no one has been able to locate the source of water that oozed out of the rocks !!

There is a grave downstream the gorge there is a grave which is said to be the that of invisible Saint’s sister, known as Bibi Nani, located under a bridge by the rocky bank of a seasonal stream.
There are no details available as to how and when did Bibi Nani die or how was she buried at this place. Although not a saint herself, her grave is revered as such. In mid October, 1986, a huge flood struck the area and destroyed much of the habitats, roads and bridges not even spared. But astonishingly the grave of Bibi Nani was spared. Due to this fact, the grave of the Bibi assumes much reverence by the people of the area.

Many tourists from adjoining areas and as far away as Quetta visit this place, specially in summers to enjoy the cold water of the oasis, take a dip or just walk around or sit under the shade of the palm trees. Unfortunately there are no facilities available except for a small shop selling eatables and chips. Tourists normally carry their meals or cook here in the absence of an eatery.

You may like to watch this informative video below which describes the history and tourist facilities available around the place and how to get to this oasis from Quetta:
If you happen to be in Quetta, do take a time out and visit Pir Ghaib - it is something that you will really love it. 
Photo: Pir Ghaib (Screenshot) - Photo Grave Bibi Nani | References |  1 |  2 | 3 | 4 | 
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination in 2019: Part VI - Gilgit Baltistan

Pakistan is a country which has everything a tourist may want: landscape, warm hearted people, hospitality and lot to see. You may travel by road to your travel destinations or take regular flights closer to your start point and then use sturdy and rugged jeeps that can withstand the rigours of mountain tracks under their wheels.

I have written many posts on the northern areas of Pakistan, the Karakoram Mountains and a series of posts on the Hindu Kush Mountain in my Mar Loosemore series of posts. No matter which travel destination you choose, you will be awe inspired and take back a nostalgia that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.
Gilgit Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan is a region of immense travel importance and countless travel destinations. From ordinary tourists to trekkers and mountaineers, the area presents innumerable destinations and sights that one may have never seen before. The Karakoram Highway is the heart line to all these travel destinations, astride which one comes across Gilgit city, some call it Chinatown of Pakistan, Hunza known for its freshness, a secret behind longevity of its people, the Passu Cones, and finally the Khunjrab border post between China and Pakistan. En route one comes across spectacular view of the Rakaposhi Mountain and junction point of three mighty mountain ranges: The Himalaya, the Hindukush and the Karakorum.
And if you have a flare for fishing you can fish Trout right from the ice cold waters of streams running close to tracks and roads.

And before I forget to mention, Pakistan has five of the fourteen eight thousnaders, mountain peaks towering more than 8,000 meters, including the mighty K2, second to Mt Everest.
You may surf my blog and find many posts on the beauty of travel destinations in the northern areas and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. But for now, see this beautiful video about tourists' remarks and their views on the travel destinations in Pakistan:
Whenever are you visiting Pakistan next?

Photo (Ladyfinger Mountain) | References | 1 | 2 |
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination in 2019: Part V - The Train Wading through Sea of Snow (Balochistan)

There are many videos on the social media networks showing trains passing through heaps of snow, shoveling away showers of snow to the sideways as the travel through tons of snow stacked on the railway tracks. It is really fascinating to watch such videos.

The Quetta section of the railway in Balochistan province of Pakistan passes through very high elevations including one Kan Mehtarzai once again. The place between Kuchlag and Muslimbagh became the highest railway station of Asia, located at a height of 2,224 metres (7,295 feet). I wrote about Kan Mehtarzai in one of my earlier posts. and it too gets covered in snow during winters.

Many years ago, I had a chance to travel by train to Quetta in winters and saw snow covered surroundings as the train moved on. In those days there were no cell phones, what to talk of camera phones so that I could take videos or even still photos of the area. I regretted to even not having my camera with me.

But recently I came across a video on Facebook which brought back the nostalgia of my earlier visit to Quetta by train. And this video by someone lucky enough to have preserved a beautiful scene of train wading through a sea of snow at Kolpur railway station near Quetta. It is really amazing scene and I must appreciate the train drivers who drive their trains through the severely cold regions in trains that are not even air conditioned engines.Even most of the train is not air conditioned and one can imagine the plight of passengers inside. However, despite all odds, the travel goes on and people keep moving and train drivers continue to brave through the seas of snow everyday, every winter, each year.

Watch the beautiful video below showing the train braving through enormous sea of snow:
If you happen to be visiting Pakistan in winters, do take a ride to Quetta by train - you will simply love it.

Also read my posts: Breakfast at Kan Mehtarzai
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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination 2019 (Part VI): Dare to Watch Live Snow Leopard Hunting a Markhor

Pakistan has been blessed with every weather, resources, wild life, birds, mountains and plains that interest all categories of tourists, adventurers, mountaineers, trekkers, bird watchers and wild life lovers. Today's post is for those who can dare and climb up the snow clad mountains of Pakistan's northern areas and watch some of the near extinct species of wild life, like the Deosai plains bears, Marco Polo sheep, the mighty twisted horned Markhor and the agile snow leopards.

Before we talk of the adventure that awaits the wild life lovers, let me introduce to you the Markhor and the snow leopards.

Markhor, with its long twisted horns, is the national animal of Pakistan. The excessive hunting of this beautiful animal has reduced its population to few thousands and is at the risk of extinction. Markhor which is a member of the goat family and has its habitats in sparsely wooded mountainous regions at altitudes ranging from 700 m (2300′) from November to May up to 4000 m (13,000′) in the summer. The Markhor forages tussocks of grass about 8 – 12 hours daily, and it is usually active all day except for several hours in the middle of the day, when it rests and chews its cud. Besides Pakistan, Markhor is also found in area that extends from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India (Kashmir).

The snow leopard, another endangered species is found in the mountain wilderness of the Himalayan and Central Asian region at heights of 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level. In Pakistan, the snow leopard is found only in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram  region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir with an estimated population of around 200-420 according to the Snow Leopard Trust.

In remote wilderness of the mountains, wildlife adventurers can find bot these majestic animals dueling at razor sharp mountain edges and slopes. Out there where hardly any human can reach, Markhors are striving to survive the claws of rather sluggish looking snow leopards. But when it comes to chasing the Markhors in search for meat on hoof, the predator assumes immense agility and tactical skills.

Watch the beautiful video below and must appreciate the photographer who took pains to reach close to the habitats of Markhors and Snow Leopards and filmed the Markhor hunting by the snow leopard:
Do you dare to be there watching this live in the wilderness of HinduKush and Karakoram mountain ranges of Pakistan? Try it - it is a lifetime experience !!

Photos: | Markhor (Wildlife Warriors) | Snow Leopard (Pixabay) |
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Australian Open 2019 to be the First to feature Tie Breaks in Final Sets

Like all New Years, this New Year too starts with the big bang of the four Grand Slams that are played each year. Yes I am talking of the first of the Grand Slams that has just gone underway in Melbourne, Australia on 14th January. Te matches will continue till 27th January when the men's single final will be played. The winner will get a cash prise of A$4,100,000.

A galaxy of elite tennis stars including the defending champion Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and M Raonic. The women contesters include Serena Williams, the aging yet still dashing star from USA, besides Venus Williams, Miss Keys, Halep, Sevastova and many more.

This will be the first Australian Open to feature final set tie-breaks, which will be introduced in all match formats. If the match reaches 6–6 in the final set, the first player to score 10 points and be leading by at least 2 points wins the match.

Also for the first time in the men's singles competition, a 10-minute break due to heat will be allowed after the third set if the Australian Open Heat Stress Scale reaches 4.0 or higher.

Presently the Round of 32  is in progress with the only setback, a major setback, in which  Caroline Wozniacki,  the defending women's singles champion, was unsuccessful in her defense, losing in the third round to Maria Sharapova yesterday.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination in 2019 - Part II (The Heaven on Earth)

Tourists abound Switzerland each year to be closer to Nature in its purest form. But those who dare and venture into the scenic Northern Areas of Pakistan are spellbound to see another Heaven of Earth. While most of Pakistan's Northern Areas remain virgin, the much visited places leave the tourists spellbound for they may have never expected such natural beauty to have been there in Pakistan.

Pakistan is among those fortunate countries who have five peaks towering more than 8,000 metres, called the Eight Thousanders, including the mighty K-2, the second highest mountain of the world after the Mount Everest. But it is the most deadliest for the climbers as it is said that out of four climbers, one never returns. Scary, well yes, but the mountaineers from around the world still dare and come every year to scale this huge pyramid shaped mountain peak. Even K-2's famous base camp Concordia is a haven for the trekkers, though an adventure in itself.

We have lot to share as far northern areas of Pakistan. Some we have already shared and more leaves to be shared. There are places that takes days to reach on foot, but once there, one forgets about the hardships one has faced reaching there. Recently, there is a hike in youth of Pakistan venturing into the desolate mountains, crossing roaring rivers and walking on hair-raising mountain tracks where even a slip can cost one's life. But this does not deter the adventurers and each day a new area is explored, an unbeaten track walked on and rising and setting of sun watched in awesome lonesome landscape amid whistling sound of the winds, that sometime even rip through one's body leaving one chilled and numb.

The social media is abound in videos by tourists and foreigners coming to Pakistan and admiring the natural beauty of every part of the country, specially the northern areas of Pakistan. The rugged mountain tracks and inviting mountain peaks are a haven for trekkers and mountaineers.

This also reminds me of a series of posts I shared of Mary Loosemore, who along with a group of adventurers came to Pakistan some years ago and explored the Hindu Kush mountain range of Pakistan. Do read my blog by searching posts related to her adventure stories. Herein under is just one such video which leaves tourists spellbound of the awe inspiring landscapes, the very indigenous people and their warm hospitality.
This is just the second post of the series and we will add many more ind days to come to introduce to you the realities that are hidden from the outer world. Do give us your feedback if you have been to Pakistan or intend doing so in days to come.

Photo: Shangrila - Skardu, Pakistan | References: | Eight Thousanders of Pakistan  | 1 | 2 |
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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination in 2019 - Part I (Crossing Borders on Foot)

Pakistan is one of the gifted countries of the world which takes you from the beeches of the Arabian Sea in the south to the snow clad towering mountains in the north through deserts and lush green plains. Each place has a charm of its own with different people of varying culture and language - but equally hospitable and extremely friendly, always extending a hand to let you feel at home.

There is much to see and eat in Pakistan. From the roadside vendors and eateries that sell indigenous, spicy and mouth watering locals delicacies to starred hotels where one can eat the same dishes in cozy air conditioned environment served by waiters clad in starched uniforms and wearing that friendly smile one comes across everywhere in Pakistan. But the joy of eating amid the indigenous people in the roadside eateries has its own charm which cannot be described in words but to be felt personally. And one can never forget children in streets running to greet a forefinger and insisting a snap with them.

Pakistan can be reached through international airlines that connect cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta or else one can enter by road from either India, Iran, Afghanistan or even China. Each land route entry has its own charm for these let you enter Pakistan and giving you a opportunity to straightaway get into touch with locals of different provinces of Pakistan shaking hands with traditional warmth and welcome.

We have started this series of posts to share experiences of foreign tourists who are amazed to find a Pakistan much different to one's perception. In fact the media around the world which once projected Pakistan as a Taliban country with people skirting by with guns in their hands, has now started to realize that Pakistan is far different from what has once been projected.

In fact those who come to Pakistan go back with very pleasant memories that they cherish for a long time besides sharing these with their friends which compels them to include Pakistan as their top travel destinations in their travel plans.

In this post, we are sharing experiences of Karl Rock who crossed over to Pakistan from India through the famous Wagha Border at the outskirts of Lahore. And here devours on beef haleem, one of the delicious dishes of Pakistan. Watch the video below and be amused by his experiences and MAJOR FALLS!!
I hope you enjoyed this beginner - stay tuned for many more such surprising experiences from tourists around the world.
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