Friday, March 25, 2011

Ziarat Tourist Resort (Pakistan)

Ziarat, Baluchistan (Pakistan)

Ziarat is a famous and best holiday resort of the province of Baluchistan (Pakistan). It is the capital of Ziarat District, Baluchistan and is located at 30°22'47N 67°43'38E with an altitude of 2543 meters (8346 ft. Ziarat is the soul of Balochistan.It is a place of juniper forests, lush green valleys, cascades, hills and orchards.
Ziarat situated 133 kms from Quetta. A trip to Ziarat from Quetta can be made by two routes one by the single road, which though a short-cut, is very difficult but full of fun and excitement for the hunters. The other is the Karachi- Quetta -Ziarat Road..After traveling over 43 miles of the ragged country side one reaches Kachh where, besides a few tea shops, there is a Rest House equipped with necessary facilities. Thereafter a 33-mile long hilly track takes one to the green valley of Ziarat. This part of the journey is quite interesting and one comes across lofty hills covered with a thick juniper, patches of green fields and clean and cold water springs. Comfortable Hotels and motels are available in Ziarat. Most of the Hotels are situated in the heart of this picturesque town. There rooms are comfortable and some are surrounded with the lawns. There are restaurants and local places that cater to both local and western tastes. Some Motel also offers Rent-a-Car, Satellite TV, Telephone, Fax and Laundry services. There is bank facility as well. The people are generally sturdy and very hospitable. The local dish of Ziarat is Saji. Saji is a delicious traditional food. Pushto, Persian, Baluchi and Brahui are the local languages. Urdu and English are also spoken.

Ziarat is also very famous for its juniper forest. The junipers are considered to be the real treasure of Ziarat.It is the second largest Juniper forest in the world, which covers an area of about 247,000 acres (1,000 km2). Ziarat is covered with juniper trees, thickest on the north, south and east sides. There are trees in the valley which are more than 5000 to 7000 years old. Juniper trees are very rare. Junipers are one of the slowest growing trees in the world. They grow one inch in a year. Average age of the extremely slow growing juniper trees is 300 years. Juniper berries are used as flavor. Oil is extracted from these trees which has a number of uses. Junipers provide shaded walks and hilly tracks in different directions of the valley. Every walk unfolds a singular spectacle of exceptional scenic beauty. People living in the Juniper Mountains possess a rich indigenous knowledge of the local plant resources.

Beside Juniper other major species of trees include Wild Ash; Wild Almond; Olea species; Khujak. Ziarat is also famous for its sweet apples, black and red cherry. Shinshoab' a lavender-like wild bush, looks lovely in twilights.

In Ziarat, an herb called Ephedra sinica is found in abundance from which a chemical called ephedrine is extracted, an important constituent of various medicines, especially cough syrups. There are many important species found in this ecosystem including animal and birds, the Chakor partridge, bushes and ground flora which local people use these plants as indigenous treatments for a variety of diseases. Other Medical herbs like Artimesia and mint etc are also produced. . A wide variety of flora and fauna are found here. The valley is known for its honey and the extra ordinarily large flowers. Fragrant lavender hushes cover almost the entire landscape from July to October.

Ziarat is best place for trekking and mountaineering. Local people are very co-operative and guides are easily available. Following are famous Places to visit:

Quaid-e-Azam residency’s visit is very basic sightseeing of Ziarat. A visit to Ziarat is incomplete with out it. Basically Ziarat is famous for the reason that Mr.Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan spent the last few days of his life there. Quaid-e-Azam stayed in this residency for about three months from June to September, 1948. Ziarat takes pride in hosting Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on a number of occasions. It is because of this reason that the small double storey Ziarat Residency has won the position of a national monument.

The residency is embellished with beautiful lawns, covered with grassy carpets and with roses, beautiful flowers and other plants all around the garden. From there one can have a striking view of the picturesque valley. From the balcony of the upper floor, as well as from the lawns down below, the entire valley panoramic view is seen.
There are two shrines. The first and famous shrine is of Baba Kharwari, which is 8 km from Ziarat town. The name Ziarat means 'Shrine ' is derived from the name of Baba khawari’s shrine. He was a famous Muslim saint. His real name was Mian Abdul Hakim, popularly known as Mulla Tahir and Kharwari Baba. According to a legend, this Saint came here from Khandahar (Afghanistan). He opposed the highhandedness of Ghlzai King Hussain. He was than forced to leave his native town and migrated to this place. On reaching this valley he took abode on a hill top and prayed for this place saying: "This place shall flourish". Thereafter water started coming out from the spot which is still flowing and is regarded as holy and wholesome. During the Eid festival, the tribesmen gather around the shrine and hold wrestling and marksmanship competitions. The journey to Shrine of Baba Khawari is very beautiful and full of breath taking views of the valley, offers lot of places for trekking.

Another shrine is of Nau Gaza Baba is 1 km from Ziarat town. It is surrounded by big graveyards. Nau Gaza Baba's real name was Kareemdad. He was a member of the 'Esakhail Sanerzai' tribe. When he died, his body became large by nine (Nau) yards (gaz) therefore people started to call him Nau Gaza Baba. Many people visit the shrine to pray.
Prospect Point is an excellent picnic spot situated 6 km from Ziarat. There is a jeep able road but those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty at leisure can have a walk. The road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooks the valley, about 1000 feet below, covered by the ever-green juniper trees. There is a newly constructed Rest House from where one could have a wonderful view of the valley particularly during the rainy season. Down below in the valley is the shrine of Kharwari Baba. 'Prospect Point' offers breathtaking view of the valley.

Khilafat point is 3487 meters high. Its snow capped peak offers tourists for its enchanting view. But the route is quite difficult. Once reach there the trip is rewarding. The valley is beautiful. It seems a view of heaven.

There are more than a half dozen gorges around Ziarat formed by natural karez spring water falling through narrow opening amongst the mountain rocks producing a dramatic effect Tourists usually visit these gorges for picnics and to enjoy the falling water through Rock Mountains. A walk to Chashma is popular amongst joggers and those who wish to have a pleasant walk.
Tangi Sandaman is just 4 km from Ziarat.  It is a small village and union council of Ziarat contains a dramatic waterfall cascading down the rocks which is an attraction for visitors. People traveling to Ziarat can make a small diversion to the left, 4 to 5 km short of Ziarat and witness this amazing waterfall-cum fountain.

 The another famous gorges along the road to Ziarat is Chutair Tangi  There is also a rest-house in case one wants to stay longer.Going on the road past Ziarat, travel for almost 20-30 minutes and then after a few small restaurants, turn left, the road leads straight to Chutair Valley and Chutair Tangi.On entering this place, you’ll see the mountains start forming the tangi. A walk for almost 4-5 minutes after the first point and the main part of the tangi starts. Water flows in between two large cliffs which closely surround it. It goes a long way and you can also rest and eat here, under the shadow of the cliffs. If you’ve seen 127 Hour, it’s something close to that but very safe. Try going on working days as there will be less people around. This place is open all the time and also available for camping.

Fern Tangi 10 km (20 minutes by jeep) from Ziarat, off the main road to Quetta. A small waterfall formed by the mountain spring flows down. It is 2 km walk from the main road to the waterfall and is an ideal place for picnics.

Other Gorges are Kahn Tangi and Kawas Tangi. The sound of waterfalls singing to the tune of solid rocks while passing through narrow gorges creates a mystic atmosphere. One can approach easily to these gorges by diverting from the main. Besides these, places to visit are Zindra (Fourteen kilometers from Ziarat and Mana lake etc. Zizree is 16 kms from Ziarat.

Kawas is the largest village of the district.. The mini dam is Kawastangi storage dam located in this village.

Tourists visits Ziarat to seek comfort in its cool, pleasant climate. Although it is quite cool and soothing in summer, with the beautiful views of apple and cherry gardens. But winters are severe with heavy snow fall that covers entire place gives the view that is not available in summer. When the snow falls, the juniper valley is at its most beautiful. Tourist season is throughout the year but more tourists visit during summer. Best time to visit is from May to October.

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