Here’s to exploring the unexplored terrains of Pakistan this year
If there’s one thing we learned in the troubled year of 2020 is that you can still excite your wanderlust spirit without the need to fly out to international waters.
The pandemic perhaps brought with it the silver lining of realization where we saw foreign explorers, in complete awe and wonder to the dynamics of this country, encapsulated of impressive landscapes, vibrant sub-cultures and a fascinating spread of ethnicities.
Yes, while the beauty of Pakistan is usually defined with the peaked beauties of Northern mountainous ranges, there’s a whole lot more this land of mystery offers which you definitely need to add to your bucket list.
Pakistan Facts breaks down 5 places within our very own land which are breath-taking, mysterious and downright brilliant!
Hingol National Park
At the first glimpse, you would easily mistake it for the world-famous Grand Canyon, but this is our very own diamond in the rough.
At approximately 190km from Karachi, this region beams with rugged beauty and dominance. Showcasing the estuary of Hingol River, it gives an absolute marvelous view of mud volcanoes and rugged rock formations; while also being home to the most peculiar combination of flora and fawna.
It really is a sight to behold- from Houbara, to marsh crocodiles, green marine turtles, to a range of threatened species of fish including Mahasheer, Plumbeous, dolphins, there is complete wonderment wherever you see.
Its adjacency to the beach makes it a complete wonder for it allows you to indulge in land and sea in its absolute ‘epicness’.
This hidden haven gives a complete contrast to the usual portrayal of Balochistan. Taking a different route from dry hills and desert areas, are you ready to get mystified by a serene ‘chotak’ (a balochi term describing water descending from a steep fall).
It is located near the region of Khuzdar; from hidden ravines and glorious, cascading big and small waterfalls to deep blue pools of water. That 10km rocky path you need to cover on four-wheel drives from Khuzdar Sukkur Road will be worth every bump.
Probably one of its most interesting aspects is the scrumptious meat you can indulge in this fascinating place. Indulge in succulent ‘sajji’ as the locals cook the most juiciest and tender of meat from organically-grazing sheep and goat.
An all-rounder, this trip is all about getting you out of your comfort zone and connecting with nature, moderate to high level of adventure traveling and it is a suitable for traveling enthusiasts only.
For those fascinated by historical sites and the country’s oldest testament to the religion of the Hindus, Katas Raj still remains strong engulfed with 1500 years of significance. Unfortunately it isn’t on the popularity spectrum amongst our youth and is sidelined when you have sites like Kallar Kahar and the Salt Range in proximity.
But this year, explore the mystical complex of temples which stand as symbols of devotion to Ram, Hanuman and Shiva with a pond of faith enclosed in between which is said to have been created with Shiva’s teardrop while he was flying across the sky with the body of his deceased wife ‘Sati’.
For those who wish to soak in rich culture and pure hospitality, there’s nothing better than mingling with culturally-infused, quaint habitats with the warmest of people.
One such place is the Gulmit village which is a modest settlement in the surreal surroundings of Gilgit Balistan.
This quaint, authentic town which is 8200 feet above sea level welcomes visitors to enjoy an ambiance of complete pleasure where you can walk across a fertile plateu and soak in the goodness of orchids of apricots, apples and peaches.
From long, thoughtful walks in irrigated fields to passing through mountain passes which go across irrigation canals, Gulmit is a hidden wonder.
Something which people don’t know is how this long walk escalates to the Gulkin Glacier. It’s long, it can be daunting but it is definitely worth every step you take.
There truly is nothing better than this- aside the walking into mountain passes along vast irrigation canals , you would want to immerse into the warmth and hospitality of the locals as they mesmerize you with melodious and traditional folk songs over a cup of hot buttermilk tea.
The last place on our list is definitely the most defining. At the foothills of Koh-e-Sulaiman Mountain range, this hilly paradise is also considered as a ‘Mini Murree’- equal ambience but less tourists. . A pure haven of history and riches, this place is named after Colonel A. A. Munro.
The town was founded by Robert Groves Sandeman, a British Indian Army Officer, in the nineteenth century.
At a height of about 6470feet and nestled between Baluchistan and Punjab, it gives you plenty of activities to indulge in, like trekking and hiking. But it is sitting amongst the inhabitants, nomads called ‘Legharis’, is what makes it a worthy visit as you soak in the winter blanket of wonders with the best storytellers.