Thursday, October 1, 2009

Travel, Travelers and Traveling

Pakistan is a tourists haven – for its beaches, vast spread deserts and lush green plains and snow covered mountains that includes some of the highest pinnacles of the world. The overall weather remains generally hot and dry for most part of the year. Therefore, for a cool vacation, the travelers move north to hill stations and mountains during scorching summers of the plains, while some venture to trekking and mountain climbing further up north.

For majority of the people, Murree Hills and the surrounding areas is the best. Each summer, people as far as Karachi throng the area and enjoy the cool summer holidays (more than the Summer Holidays of Cliff Richard). The areas close by include the “Galiyat” of Changla and Nathia and of course Bhurbun with its lush green Golf Course and a spectacular PC Bhurban.

Ayubia some 26 kilometers from Murree is in fact a combination of four mini resorts namely Khairagali, Changlagali, Khanspur and Ghora Dhaka, spread over an area of 25 kilometers were developed in the 60s and given the name of Ayubia.  Ayubia was the first resort in Pakistan where cable lift were introduced and had been the only of its own kind till the development of Patriata.  There are riding trails, hiking places and picnic spots in abundance around the area. The chair lifts take the nature lovers up to the summit of the nearby range for a panoramic view of the forested hills. Patriata, some  25 km from Murree has been developed as an alternative to old tourist resort of Ayubia.  There is chairlift and cable car system which takes visitors up to Patriata Ridge in two stages from Gulehra Gali.  The first stage is by chair lift up to Patriata Bazaar.  From here visitors transfer to cable cars for the ride up to Patriata Ridge.  A restaurant has also been established. Further plans include development of a wildlife park at the mid-station.

Those who still want to venture beyond Murree and surrounding areas have a plenty of choice. In fact Rawalpindi/Islamabad provide a base for up north journey to beautiful valleys of our north which include Hunza, Gilgit, Swat, Kaghan, Chitral and Skardu valleys.  Naran, 22 kilometres from Kaghan serves as the base camp for the Kaghan Valley. From here one can go to several picturesque lakes, valleys and peaks hiring a jeep or horse. Nestled in the foot steps of 5,190 metres high Malika Parbat (Queen of Mountains) is the awe inspiring "Lake Saiful Malook" (pictured above) at 12,000 feet above sea level is a breathtaking site in the entire valley which has a touch of the unreal about it. The scenic beauty has no parallel in the world. One can go boating on the lake and hear the local legend about Prince Saiful Malook. Moving up to the Babusar Pass, and located just before the final grade to Babusar Top is the breathtaking Lulusar Lake.

Those reaching Skardu must not miss out the vast stretches of the Deosai Plains – perhaps the highest plains of the world. One hears of deserts in plains but never at the foothills of 18,000 feet high snow covered mountains. Skardu Valley is one such place which is carpeted in fine ash white sand through which greenish blue in winter; grey as tarnished silver in summer, the Indus snakes lazily between wind-ribbed sand dunes.

However, the fun lies atop the snow covered mountain peaks of Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalyan ranges – one can get to see the meeting point of all three mountain ranges on way to Gilgit. Karakoram peaks have nicknames that evoke fear and passion: "Savage Mountain" for K2, "Killer Mountain" for Nanga Parbat (8,125 meters) "Shining Wall" for Gasherbrum IV (7,929 meters) and "Bride's Peak" for Chogolisa (7,665 meters), which is the feminine analogue for Chogori, K2, its neighbour and wife in local folklore. The Trango Tower is the highest rock pinnacle of the world rising to 6,257 meters/ 20,857 feet. Rugged, un-scalable and challenging. Many climbers have returned unsuccessful owing to its almost vertical climb.

One can go on and on to describe the place for travelers and tourists that abound the north of Pakistan. This is the beginning – please follow my future blogs to know more about the cultural and natural heritage that make Pakistan as of the very unique countries in the world.


Asghar Javed said...

Goya Yeh To Mere Dill Mein Tha. But you have said it in much lucid way. Always wish to be there man.

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