Quetta - Balochistan:
the capital of Balochistan, is the home of fruits. Quetta is 1692 metres above sea level, lies at the
mouth of Bolan Pass. It has three large craggy mountains. Chiltan,
Zarghun and Koh-e-Murdar,that seem to brood upon this pleasant town.
There are other mountains that form a ring around it. Their copper red
and russet rocks and crests that are powdered with snow in winters add
immense charm to the town.
Quetta is connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air.
The R.C.D. Highway connects it to Karachi and then on (via
Koh-e-Taftan) to Tehran, Iran, 1435 kms away. The road to Sibi
connects it with Punjab and upper Sindh. The road via Loralai - Fort
Munro -D.G. Khan and Multan is a short route for Punjab. The Chaman
Road is a link between the county and the Afghan border. Quetta is
linked by PIA with Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad by daily flights.
Quetta is an excellent base for further exploration of Balochistan.
Kan Mehtarzai (224 metres), the highest railway station in Asia, is a
two-hour drive away. Loralai, the almond bowl of the country, is 265
kms away. Besides, there are numerSpecialities
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 also. Saffron grows very well
on mountains around 5000 ft (1524 metres) high. It is being cultivated
on a commercial scale here. Tulip is an indigenous flower of Pakistan.
The yellow and red varieties of tulip grow wild around Quetta.
Quetta Cable Car & Chair Lift
inhabitants are mainly Pathans, Balochs and Brahuis. You can also find
Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkamen rubbing shoulders with the other
inhabitants. Nomadic tribesmen 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 colour to the
life of the city.
The rugged terrain has made the people of the area hardy and
resilient. They are known for their friendliness and hospitality. To
make a visitor comfortable is part of their tradition, like the rest
of the people of Pakistan.
bazaars of Quetta are on Shahrah-e-lqbal (Kandahari Bazaar) and
Shahrah-e-Liaquat (Liaquat Bazaar and Suraj Gang Bazaar). Here you can
find colourful handicrafts, particularly Balochi mirror work embroidery
which is admired all over the world. Carpets, with their pleasing and
intricate designs, fur coats, jackets, waistcoats, sandals and other
creations of traditional Balochi skills.
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.
tribesmen of the valley also enjoy "Landhi" (whole lamb), which is
dried in shade and kept for the winters. "Kebab" shops are very
popular, the best being Lal Kabab, Tabaq, Cafe Farah and Cafe Baldia.
They serve Pakistani and Continental food 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.,
while Cafe China specializes in Chinese cuisine.
Archaeological Museum at Fifa Road has a collection of rare antique
guns, swords and manuscripts. Geological Survey Department on Sariab
Road (6 kms) has a collection of rocks and fossils.
Chiltan National Park :
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 kms south-west of Quetta,
Markhors have been given protection. The park is spread over 32,500
acres, altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264 metres.
Hazarganji literally means "Of a thousand treasures". In the folds of
these mountains, legend has it, that, there are over a thousand
treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the
corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Mongols and then the
great migrating hordes of Baloch, all passed this way.
Markhor of which there are five distinct kinds, is the national animal
of Pakistan. The kind that is photographed the most often is the
Chiltan Markhor which, because of its long horns looks very
conspicuous. Ever since the Markhor has been given protection its
number has multiplied.
Other animals in the park are straight horned markhors, "Gad" (wild
sheep) and leopards which occasionally migrate to the park from other
areas, wolves, striped hyena, hares, wild cats and porcupines.
Many birds like partridge, warblers, shikras, blue rock pigeon, rock
nuthatch, red gilled choughs, golden eagle, sparrow, hawks, falcons
and bearded vultures are either found here or visit the park in
like monitor and other wild lizards, geckos, Afghan tortoise, python,
cobra, horned viper and levantine may also be seen in the park.
Amongst the flora of the Park are the 225 species of plants. Prominent
are the pistachios, juniper, wild olive, wild ash and wild almond.
Many shrubs like wild fig, barbery, wild cherry, makhi, etc., provide
food and shelter to the foraging animals, birds and other life forms.
Medicinal herbs like Ephedra intermadia, gerardiana and nabro (densis)
and Artemista (scoparia and martima) are also found in the park. There
is a splash of colour in spring when most of the plants are in bloom.
Nature lovers, students, scientists and researchers are welcome to
visit the park at any time of the year. Permit to visit the park can
be obtained from the Divisional Forest Officer, Spinny Road, Quetta.
facilities are available for overnight stay. Transportation to the
park and food arrangements are not provided but cooking facility is
arranged on request. Park Rangers help the visitors to see animals.
Access trails have been developed in the park for visitors. A small
museum of natural history/ in located near the park entrance.
Lahore history, Lahore