In my previous travel blog, I wrote about the beautiful Fairy Meadows located in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Now, I decided to head towards the southwest of Pakistan. Yes! Balochistan it is! In July 2015, I planned to visit Balochistan a.k.a the land of minerals. The two places that I put on the list were the Pak Afghan border located in Chamman and the breathtakingly beautiful Ziarat! The place where Quaid-e-Azam spent the last days of his life.
So, the trip was planned, I along with my sister took the flight from Islamabad to Quetta. The flight from Islamabad to Quetta is a very short one. It’s only of 1hour and 20 minutes. We landed Quetta in the afternoon and decided to stay there for one day.
Before reaching Quetta, I was really scared. Everyone was like “Oh! Wahan kyn jarahi”, “Zinda wapis ajana” and the things like that. I had a terrible picture of Quetta in my mind and the worst of rest of the Balochistan. But guys, Quetta is a nice city. Especially, the Army Cantt of Quetta and the Command and Staff College area is good.The city is surrounded by rough mountains and is very dry.
On my first day, I visited Millinium mall and some other places in the Cantt. Next day, I visited the local Bazar of Quetta. There I had those feelings that someone wearing a suicide jacket will just come and blow himself and all of us along. Astaghfaar for my negative thoughts. But Alhamdulillah nothing like that happened.
My visit to Pak Afghan Border in Chamman
In the evening, we left for Chamman where the Pak Afghan border is located. It takes around 3 hours to reach Chamman from Quetta. The road condition is good, and the mountains are so beautiful. There is no greenery on the mountains but the mountains are of different colors like brown, dark brown and close to maroon even. Those mountains have their own beauty.
In Chamman, I stayed in FC Commandant House. Do not plan your stay trip there, if you don’t know any person in Army or FC who can provide you a pleasant accommodation. Because outside the FC colony, there is no good place to stay. It would not be inappropriate if I call Chamman a small town.
On the third day of my trip, I visited the Pak Afghan border. Most of you may not like the idea of visiting such places but I love to visit different and scary sites, and I love to meet people from different areas. If you are in search of some green and peaceful place then this one is not for you.
The Pak Afghan border in Chamman is an open border. Now, the fencing has been started due to the security issues. A large number of people cross the border every day as they have businesses and families on other side of the border. All the local ladies were in Shuttlecock Burqa. We also covered our heads but still, the people there looked at us as if we were some aliens that they have never seen before :p
Sheela Bagh and the Theela ride
So, after visiting Pak Afghan border, we decided to explore beautiful Sheela Bagh on fourth day of our trip. Sheela Bagh is a small town located near Quetta-Chamman highway. The place is famous for Grapes orchards.
The point of visiting this place was to get a Theela ride in the Khojak tunnel. The tunnel which was printed on old 5 rupee note. It is a 3.91 km long tunnel that starts from Shela Bagh and ends in Chamman. The tunnel was built 115 years ago.There we had a Theela ride in the tunnel. It was THE BESTTTT!
So, how this whole thing works? You sit on a Theela and two to three men push that Theela on the railway track for about 15 to 20 mins and then the it starts moving on its own and gains speed. It’s freezing and dark inside the tunnel. It was one of the best experiences of my life!
Last but not the least: Beautiful holiday resort “Ziarat”
Ziarat is one of the most famous hill stations. The way to Ziarat is so mesmerizing. There are apple orchards on the side of the roads. The scenic views are so awesome that you don’t get bored during your journey. I went there in July, but if you are planning your trip in winters, then you must take along a lot of warm clothes as the weather is very cold especially in the snowfall season. Even in July, we were wearing shawls and sweaters in the evening.
Ziarat is famous for Juniper trees and Quaid’s residency. I love to visit the places that are in some way related to Pakistan’s history or our great leader “Quaid-e-Azam.” Quaid’s residency is located at an altitude of 2,543 metres and has got lush green views and Chinar trees around.
When I visited the Quaid’s residency, some shooting was going on by a TV Channel for 14th August in the lawn. Different groups were representing the provinces and culture of Pakistan. The national songs were playing, the groups were doing their cultural dances, and the patriotism was in the air. What a beautiful sight it was!
The Juniper forest surrounds the Quaid’s residency. This was the reason Quaid-e-Azam was transferred here as the fresh air was good for his lungs. The structure of residency is made of wood and the interior is lovely. Though the residency was destroyed completely by the militants, then the government of Pakistan built it again.
You must visit this place once in a lifetime. It is one of the best hill resorts that I have ever visited. I stayed in FC Mess although there are many other places in the area where you can get a nice accommodation.
This was the most memorable trip of my life. Despite the risk factor, I enjoyed and learned a lot.