The Valleys of Baluchistan

Quetta, Pakistan - sunset-Pishin Valley

Balochistan has many valleys which not only have fruit bearing orchards but are also favorite picnic spots.

1. The Pishin Valley

Pishin Valley is situated at a distance of 50 km from Quetta. Blessed with fertile soil, it is a valley of orchards. Superior quality grapes, cherries, almonds, plums, apricots and apples are grown here. With a railway station and an airport nearby, the fruit harvest can easily be transported to other cities. Another attraction of Pishin valley is the beautiful man made lake, Lake Bund Khushdil Khan.

2. Urak Valley

Urak Valley is another place where orchards are found in abundance. It is situated 21 km from Quetta. Some fruits grown here are apples, apricots, plums and peaches. A waterfall at the other end of the valley makes it a favorite picnic spot.

3. Ziarat Valley

Ziarat Valley is the tourists’ favorite destination. It is a valley of juniper forests, singing gorges, orchards and water falls. Another claim to fame is the Ziarat Residency, the place where the Quaid spent the last days of his life.

4. Zhob Valley

The Zhob valley is situated at an altitude of 4,500 feet above sea level. Zhob means “bubbling water” as when there is no drought, the water tends to spring up from the underground springs, Kareez. Due to its proximity to Afghanistan, the British took its control in 1889. They developed an irrigation system, planted orchards, and opened a school and dispensaries. Fort Sandeman, a castle built during the British era on a cliff in the northern part of the valley still stands. Zhob valley is also the home of some archaeological sites.

Changa Manga

by on November 7, 2009
in Exploring Amazing Pakistan

Changa Manga, Pakistan

Changa Manga is the largest planted forest in the world. It is spread over an area of 50 km2. Chang Manga is located in the Chunian District 70 km South of Lahore. It was initially planted during the British era to provide timber for steam locomotives. Most of the trees found here are Kikar and Mulberry. Presently, a portion of the forest has been turned in to a park for recreational purposes. Lots of people visit Changa Manga every year. There are many activities to keep the visitors interest alive. The main activity being a small rail ride which takes the visitors on a 5 km ride through the forest.

A man made circular lake called the Lunar Lake is also present where boating can be done. PTDC Rest houses are available to make the visitors stay comfortable. However it is advisable to book one in advance. A children’s play area and a waterfall are other things offered.

Changa Manga is home to the wild life as well. One can find wild boar, Nilgai, Jackal, and Asiatic Wild Cat here. It is a breeding ground for birds like Asiatic Vultures. Changa Manga is a lovely place to visit especially for families. Next time you are in Lahore do check it out.

The marvels of Mianwali

Namal Lake , Mianwali, Pakistan

Mianwali district lies in the northwest of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is situated along the banks of River Indus. Its historic significance can be judged from the fact that it is an important archaeological site of many Hindu ruins. Some of these sites are the conical hills of Mari City where you can find the signs of old Hindu Ruins. The Sikrapp Fort located on top of a ridge is another historic site. Sadly the fort is a picture of neglect and only the outer wall of the fort remains.

Kalabagh is a place of prominence. You can get a fantastic view of the River Indus and the red hills of the salt range. The main attraction of Mianwali remains the Namal Lake.

Namal Lake is located in the Namal Valley 36 km away from Mianwali. It is an artificial lake created when the British built the Namal Dam to irrigate the nearby areas. The lake is a home to migratory birds like Russian Ducks and Siberian Cranes.

Mianwali is also known for minerals like gypsum and silica. Other important places in Mianwali are Chashma Barrage and the Khanqa Sirajjia Nuclear Power Plant in Kundian. It is a nice place to visit.

Mountain ranges of Baluchistan

Chaghi range in Balochistan

The plateau of Baluchistan has a number of mountain ranges which although barren are rich with mineral resources. These ranges form natural borders with Iran and Afghanistan. The passes through these mountains connect Pakistan with Afghanistan. Some important ranges are:

1. The Chaghi Range

The Chaghi Range forms a triangular border with Afghanistan and Iran. The famous Gonshero Pass is located here. The Chaghi Range is rich with minerals like copper, gold and sulphur. Pakistan carried out its first nuclear test at Chaghi.

2. The Central Brahui Range

The 360 km long Brahui Range is the southern branch of Himalayas lying in the central Baluchistan. It meets the Suleiman Range at Quetta. The range is covered with Juniper Forests. Here Limestone is found in abundance. The Khilafat Peak is the highest peak of this range with a height of 3,487 meters. The major passes through this range are Bolan Pass, Harnai Pass and Mula Pass.

3. The Suleiman Range

The 400 km long Suleiman Range lies in a north to south direction parallel to the Indus River. Its height decreases as it extends southwards with 1,520 meters being the average height. Kaisargarh with a height of 3,441 meters and Takhat-e-Suleiman (throne of Suleiman) 3,379 meters high are the highest peaks situated in the North. Juniper Forests are found in the northern side of the range where as the southern side is barren. Minerals like Limestone and Sandstone are found in this area.

4. The Toba Kakar Range

The Toba Kakar range lies in the north and forms a border with Afghanistan. Unlike most of the Baluchistan ranges, it has vegetation in the form of juniper, pistachio and tamarisk trees.

Other mountain ranges of Baluchistan are Siahan Range, Makran Coast Range, Ras Koh and Hala Range.

Turbat-A must visit place in Baluchistan

Turbat in Balochistan

Turbat lies in the southwest of the Balochistan province in the Kech District. It lies on the left bank of the Kech River. Turbat is known for the high quality dates it produces. There is also a date processing factory. The town is not developed and water scarcity adds to the problems of the residents. The Mirani Dam project 30 miles west of Turbat was launched in 2002 and is believed to lessen the water woes of the area. Turbat also has a small airport and is linked to the other parts of the province and the main city Karachi via a network of roads.

1. The Palace of the Nawab

Turbat has an interesting history. It was the headquarters of the Makran State when Makran was under the rule of the Gichki Tribe. A palace where the Nawab of the Gichki tribe lived still exists.

2. Punnu’s Fort

Turbat is said to be the home of Punnu Hoth, the hero of the love story Sassi Punnu. Punnu was a prince and the remains of his fort are still present in Turbat. Locals claim the fort is can be traced back to 6000-8000 BC.

3. Koh-e-Murad

It is said to be the sacred place of the Zikris. The Zikris follow the Zikri Faith which they claim is a branch of Islam. According to the Zikris, their spiritual leader Mohammed Janpuri who they view as Mehdi the last Imam visited this place. They hold a big zikr here on the 27th of Ramadan.

Other places worth visiting are the Nazim’s Mosque and the Turbat Rest House.

4 Amazing Cities of Baluchistan

Khojak-Tunnel in Chaman

Some cities of Balochistan although small are quite significant either due to their location or their rich history. A small account of four such cities is as follows:

1. Chaman

Chaman is the dry port of Balochistan. It is situated at the Pak-Afghan border. Trade goods from Afghanistan and the neighboring country Iran are brought here. Chaman is connected to Afghanistan through railways. The Chaman Railway Tunnel is supposed to be one of the oldest and largest tunnels in the world.

2. Khuzdar

The history of Khuzdar can be traced back to the Arab Conquerors. Some ruins of forts and graveyards dating back to that era were discovered here.

Present day Khuzdar is a small neat city on the National Highway which connects Pakistan to Iran and Turkey. Previously a part of Kalat State it is now a separate district. The Khuzdar University of Engineering and Technology is situated on the outskirts of the city.

3. Taftan

Taftan links Balochistan with Iran. It is located in the Chagai District. Taftan is the legal border between Pakistan and Iran. If you do not wish to cross the border, then you can go on a desert safari. However the area is not safe and people are advised not to venture out alone or too far. Carrying food supplies and plenty of water is also recommended.

4. Sibi

Sibi is located 163 km from Quetta. Historically its importance cannot be denied as it has seen conquerors like Alexander, The Arabs, Mahmud Ghaznavi and many others. Present day Sibi was founded by the British in 1903. Sibi is mostly known for its extremely hot weather and the annual cattle fair held in February.

The 3 Jewels of the Soan Valley

Soan valley-Sakesar

The Soan Valley lies in Central Punjab province of Pakistan. From a tourist’s point of view some places worth visiting are:

1. Sakesar

Sakesar is actually a mountain peak lying on the outer edge of the Soan Valley in the province of Punjab, Pakistan. Situated at a height of 1522 meters, it is a picturesque hill station. It is near the salt range. Due to its strategic height the P.A.F has fixed radar here. The place makes a good picnic spot due to its cool climate and lots of trees. Its proximity to the Chashma barrage is another plus point.

2. Khabikki Lake

Khabikki Lake is situated in the Salt Range area in Pakistan. Formed by the lack of drainage in the range, its water was salty in the beginning. At present it is a sweet water lake and Chinese breed of fish have also been introduced in it. The lake is 1 km wide and 2 km long. It is the main source of water to the nearby village of the same name.

The lake has been developed as a tourist resort. A rest house has been built near the lake. Major activity the lake offers is boating. The cool calm green area surrounding the lake makes it popular among visitors.

3. Uchhali Wetland Complex

The Uchhali Wetland Complex is situated in the Salt Range. It is a sanctuary of a number of migratory and resident birds. The migratory birds include White headed Duck, Marbled Teal, Eurasian Spoonbill, Dalmatian Pelican and a host of others. The place is a bird watcher’s paradise.

Kallar Kahar

kalar-Kahar Pakistan

Kallar Kahar is a beautiful tourist destination in the Chakwal District Punjab, Pakistan. It is situated 125 km away from Rawalpindi at a height of 4,500 feet. It is a spectacular place with beautiful gardens, peacocks and a salty lake. A spring in the middle of the village adds to the charm of the place and also supplies water to the residents. There are fruit orchards around the spring.

The lake is situated a little distance from the spring. It is a home of many resident ducks and migratory birds from the northern areas. At the top of a hill is the shrine of a saint. Near the shrine are hundreds of peacocks which are well taken care of by the devotees. A belief that anyone who harms them will go blind is the reason for their survival.

Kallar Kahar has historic importance as well. Mughal Emperor Babar stopped at Kallar Kahar on his way to Delhi from Kabul. He was so impressed by the beauty of this place that he mentioned it in his autobiography. The ruins of an old fort and a temple of the Hindu God Shiva built in the 10th century are located at Katas near Kallar Kahar.

The Zhob Valley: A must visit place

Zhob hills, Zhob valley Pakistan

Zhob Valley is one of the most fascinating places in Balochistan. If you are planning to visit Balochistan then this place is highly recommended. It has bearable summers and cold winters with snowfall. The best time to visit Zhob is during April when spring season rules the valley.

Zhob Valley lies in the Zhob District obscured by the imposing hills. It is situated 60 miles north east of Quetta on the plains near the eastern bank of River Zhob. It is at an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level.

Zhob Valley was previously known as Apazai. In the late 1880s, the British noticing its proximity to Afghanistan took it under their control. They established Zhob District and made Apazai its capital. Apazai was then christened Fort Sandeman after the Governor General Robert Sandeman. The British took keen interest in its development. In 1976, Fort Sandeman was renamed Zhob by Z.A Bhutto the then prime minister of Pakistan.

Like other valleys, Zhob too has fruit orchards in abundance where you can find varieties of apples, peaches, grapes, pomegranates and dry fruits such as walnuts and almonds. The valley is abounding with exotic flowers as well, some popular flowers being tulips, lavenders, hyacinths and poppies. Apart from the orchards, the Chromites mine also offers a spectacular site as well as the ruins of the castle Fort Sandeman. It was the residence of the British political agent during the British rule.

Few people know that Zhob valley is also an archaeological site. The remains of an ancient civilization have been discovered here.

5 Passes of Baluchistan

Bolan Pass of Balochistan, Pakistan

Although there are a number of passes in Balochistan, the five worth mentioning are:

1. Bolan Pass

Bolan Pass is an important mountain Pass of Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is located in the Central Brahui Range of mountains near the Afghan Border. Bolan Pass is the main entrance to Quetta and joins Punjab and Upper Sindh through the town of Sibi by road and by train. The track was laid by the British and goes through 21 tunnels. Bolan Pass has served as a gateway to millions of people through centuries thus its historic importance cannot be denied.

2. Khojak Pass

Khojak Pass is located in the Toba Kakar Range at a height of 1945 meter above sea level. It is at Chaman 153 km away from Quetta and goes straight to Afghanistan. The Khojak Tunnel was built 115 years ago and is the longest tunnel in Pakistan. Khojak Pass is also famous for its picturesque scenery.

3. Lak Pass

Lak Pass is 25 km from Quetta. The hills are steeper and so is the climb and in case of heavy traffic, it can almost an hour to drive through the pass. Lak Pass lies between Kalat and Quetta. Here the road forks and one part lead towards Iran border while the other part directs you to Karachi through the towns of Kalat, Khuzdar and Bella. It also has interesting scenery.

4. Harnai Pass

It links Ziarat valley to Harnai and the residents of Ziarat migrate to Harnai through this pass to escape the harsh winter. It is also accessible from Loralai.

5. Gonshero Pass

Gonshero Pass is right at the border of Afghanistan. It is located in the Chaghai Hill Range. It is 30.1 km long.

« Previous PageNext Page »