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Jaulian Buddhist Stupa &amp&Monastery

It’s like entering into a new place, with a beautiful bridge over water, and long stairs going up to Julian Buddhist Stupa & Monastery. Religious architecture is always a fascination, and their unique structure and thoughtful selection of the place add beauty and peace. 

Going up through the stairs and then looking down upon the City feels amazing. Even for Senior citizens, there is a bench to take some rest. The bench is placed under a tree, though the stairs are also covered by trees on both sides, which gives the sun small space to get through. Sitting on the bench, you get the view of the city, and the river flowing down, which is mesmerizing. I wonder, two thousand years ago, they people had a great sense of Building and architecture. Which seems missing, when you look at the cities near to the place. 

Leaving aside the scenery, when you enter Julian Buddhists, you wonder about the creativity and amazing architecture. It’s almost 2000 years ago, and half of the S has been transferred to Taxila Museum which was discovered during digging. It’s a two-Level building that contained 28 students’ rooms on the first floor and 28 on the second floor. There are several artifacts, however, a statue of Buddha with a hole in the Naval is an odd artifact. Which is also known as ‘’ Healing Buddha’’. Since it is very important for the Buddhist community, the pilgrims put their fingers in the naval hole and pray for the ailment of the patients and for their wishes to come true. 

It is almost 35 km to 45 km from the twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Usually, people from the Buddhist community visit the place, and it’s also open for visitors throughout the week from 9 am to 4 pm. It’s also near to Kanpur dam and Taxila Museum. Those visiting Kanpur dam can also explore this wonderful and peaceful place around. 

Since it is among religious places, the guider and administration are concerns about different social changes and people behaviors. It was disappointing to hear that few people visited the place and did not show respect, took some pictures, and posted on social media which was not according to the ethics. Therefore, they asked us not to post any pictures on social media or either go through some process to get permission from the authorized and concerns departments. 

One thing I always say to travelers is that respect the culture, places, and avoid doing things that hurt. Most of the time we never know about things that are greatly important for communities. It is important to research things to avoid that helps. As it is a religious place, it has its importance and everyone visiting the place must show respect. 

Few things I would love to share that every tourist must keep in mind traveling different places;

  • Ask before taking a picture if there is any guide 
  • Ask before making any video at religious places
  • Ask the guide or responsible person, if these pictures can be shared on any social media 
  • Do respect the rules and regulations 

In the Pakistani context, people are often reluctant to ask, assuming that they can share pictures and videos without ethically wrong permission. Do enjoy your trips, make memories but always make sure that the other tourists do not face any issue because of you. 

Travel Blog

Chitral the most peaceful and beautiful valley of Pakistan

If you have heard of the Free Style Polo game played in the World’s highest polo ground, here you are at the right place to know more about the majestic place, hospitable and most peaceful people, and incredible nature with Snow-covered Mountains. Chitral was known as the Princely State before 1947 when it joins Pakistan. 

Most people know Chitral for mainly two reasons, one is the Dardic Indo-Aryan Indigenous people living in Chitral, the Kalasha, whose origin is unknown to scholars, researchers, anthropologists, and historians. The People with Blue eyes, blond-haired, an eye-catching multicolor dress, and language had got the attention of the people in the world. These people are different from other Chitrali people in their origin, which is unproven, religion, and in their living styles. 

Secondly, the Shandur Polo Festival, one of the biggest festivals and free-style polo game between Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Polo is known to be the game of Kings. It is known to be in its purest form. The initiation of the polo game in shandur is credited to the British rulers who build the Polo ground known as ‘’Mass Junali’’. In Chitrali Language which is Knowar, the word ‘’ Mas ‘’ means moon, and ‘’ Junali ‘’ means polo ground. Every year from July 7 to 9, there is a Polo festival. Throughout the year, shandur remains empty and in July only for three days, it’s like a newly established city with tents, lights, and shops to sell different products. The weather is quite pleasant in July, with lush green polo ground. And there is a small lake near polo ground which is also amusement for travelers. 

Besides, these two attractive things about Chitral, there are numerous other hidden places and incredible landscapes that can attract travelers. Such as Broghil Valley also known as Broghil Pass, connecting Pakistan with neighboring Country Afghanistan. Broghil Valley national park is a center of attraction for explorers, as it is full of wildlife and natural collections of plants. Almost 23 species of mammals, 120 birds, reptiles, snow leopard, leopard Cat, Red Fox, Eurasian Wolf are found here. 

Broghil is not the only valley that has mesmerizing landscape, rivers, and snow covered mountain ranges. Other valleys such as torkhaw, or how, garamchashma, and lotkhaf been amazing for travelers. There is much to explore apart from mind-blowing natural beauty and Landscapes. 

The culture is unique and different from southern Pakistanis. The people are known for their humble and generous behaviors, peace, and hospitality. They offer you their services, and won’t accept something in return. They will open their hearts for travelers, explorers, and outsiders and share their lives. One thing that people appreciate about Chitral is the simplicity and truthfulness of the locals. The people are far from the contemporary world, they are living a simple and elegant life close to nature. Therefore, travelers must respect their culture, living style, simplicity, and perspective on life. 

Garamchasma : Zuhra Jalal

The best time to visit Chitral is from May to August, and for those who love snowfall, December and January would be the perfect time of the year. The reason for suggesting these months of the year is the beauty, attraction, facilities, season, and festivals. In summers, there are festivals in Kalash Valley, Shandur Festival, and the autumn season. During summers, you can enjoy different fruits, food, music, and dance and get to know the people better through these festivals. Meanwhile, in winters there are also snow skating events at different places. However, the roads are dangerous, but if you like an adventure, that would be an addition for you to experience the tough life in the mountains. 

It is always suggested that before traveling, you must check the weather, early booking for an airplane if you have plans by air which is hardly available in winters due to harsh weather conditions. Other transport facilities include private cars, buses, local transport that leaves from major cities of Pakistan. Such as Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, and Lahore. 

I would recommend a road trip, as you can also explore other valleys on way to Chitral. And one of the best Lawari Tunnel on your way too. 

Will be sharing more amazing and interesting things about the places in Chitral. 

Travel Blog

Hiking on Trail 5 during Covid-19

Sunday, 6, 2020 I went hiking with friends on Trail 5 Margalla Hills, Islamabad. Since Covid-19 has started, I have been anxious about going out, meeting friends, and spend time in the open air. Although I missed going out with friends and enjoying the beautiful nature.

It is hard to convince friends that you fear going out. After having conversations for three hours, they convinced me that we are going hiking, not anywhere else where there would be a rush of people. So for me, that sounds fair. As Margalla Hills are open, wild nature, fresh air and there is enough space to keep a 6-kilometer distance.

On Sunday morning, I prepared to go and took all the safety things to need for hiking. The most important is a mask to cover our face. It’s not a long distance from where I live. It’s almost 30 minutes’ drive. As there are more restrictions on going out so I thought there wouldn’t be so many people around for hiking.

To my surprise, it was more crowded than before Covid-19. Again, it was okay as there still enough space in the Jungle to keep a distance. We started hiking with our mask on and it was amazing like being free from prison. Staying home for so long is not healthy for both mental and physical health at least for me.

It is important to take care of mental health as well. And it is quite tough to say home during lockdown without meeting with friends. Meanwhile, as responsible citizens of the country, to follow the rules and regulations is also important. People staying indoors most of the time feel anxious and tense. It is a relief to meet friends. For me, my friends have always been the most important part of my life. Spending a week without them gets tough. Hence, the decision of going hiking was worth it.

Meanwhile, I observed that as you hike up to the top, you forget about everything like putting on a mask and keeping distance. As on the trail, you face people very closely who either cross you on your way or coming back from the top. It gets tough to keep a 6-feet distance. You even forget about social distancing.

When I made it to the top of the trail with friends, I realized most of us have kept the mask in our pockets, taking the fresh air. We have crossed many people on our way, yet we didn’t realize that we are ignoring the important things to keep ourselves safe and protected.

I am not saying that one shouldn’t go out during Covid-19, going out is important for normal human beings to avoid mental health issues. It is peaceful to spend time somewhere around friends. However, following the safety precious suggested by health authorities and government is also really important.

Hiking made me realize, how blessed we are with nature, friends, and an open environment. And one more thing, please avoid throwing garbage around. Keep the environment safe.

It’s always great to be around a friend, now I am back and they tease me saying’’ Are you feeling okay’’. Are you feeling anxious?  I don’t know maybe now I learned that if you stay mentally strong. You can defeat any fear and anxiety.

Travel Blog

10 Top Best places in Gilgit-Baltistan for Holidays

Are you planning to visit Pakistan, or are you local and wanted to explore Gilgit Baltistan? This writing piece will help you get information about the Beautiful and adventurous places to explore in Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan). 

Gilgit-Baltistan is located in the North of Pakistan, sharing the world’s highest border with China. It is known as Paradise; it offers a pristine natural landscape, mountain stretches, multi-languages, and cultural diversity. 

Whether you visit during cozy summers or chilly winters, it has plenty to offer to the adventurer lovers. Meanwhile, during your stay, you can do many things, such as landscape photography, hiking, trekking, skiing, skating, trophy hunting, paragliding, rafting, ballooning, or exploring the beautiful valleys with their unique beauty. 

How to Travel to Gilgit-Baltistan?

There are multiple ways to reach your destination; however, the best route would be by road if you are coming from any foreign country where you get to explore Pakistan’s real beauty. Though it’s a long journey; meanwhile, the landscape wouldn’t let you get bored on your way. You can either choose to go by bus, rental car, or get in touch with a travel agency, as you will find several travel agencies. 

Secondly, if you chose to travel by airplane, you have a plan ahead. Make sure to check the weather and availability of tickets ahead of time. However, a road trip is less expensive, a little rough, but unique for people who love adventures. 

Places you should visit while you stay in Gilgit-Baltistan. 

Depending on your interest, you can choose to visit a different place; however, one thing is that most of these places are connected and close to each other, which saves you time. 

If you love trekking, you might find Glaciers and the highest mountains, or if you are a landscape lover, you might want to explore the valleys. 

Here are few best places that might interest you. 

Deosai National Park

 Deosai National Park is located in Skardu Valley. It is one of the most exciting parks with its incredible ecological values, majestic landscape, wildflowers, wild lives, and Himalaya Mountains. The park offers a unique environmental nature, an astonishing view, and rich biodiversity. Some of the rare species you can find here include Tibetan Wolf, Himalaya Ibex, Tibetan red fox, and Golden Marmots. For those who love fishing, snow trout is found here. It is also covered by sporadic butterflies, stunning wildflowers, and diverse birds—the best time to visit this park in the summer. For camping lovers, documentary makers, wildlife photographers, and those who love to be around nature, this is one of the fascinating places to visit. This must be on your list. 

Rakaposhi View Point 

Rakaposhi Mountain is almost 7,778 high mountain in Karakorum Range, located in Nagar Valley of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. It is known as” Mother of Mist” or” Mother of Clouds.” It is one of the fascinating sky-touching Mountain View covered in snow and looks like a fairy in a white dress. It is an attractive place for nature lovers, mountain climbers, hikers, and trekkers. The best time to visit this place is from May to September; however, it gets windy and cold in October. You can also enjoy the view of Rakaposhi from the top of Hunza Valley. If you wanted to visit this place, like hiking or trekking, make sure to take weather proof jackets and check the weather situation before you leave. There have been many things written about this place, visiting and seeing it would be a great thing to do if you visit Gilgit-Baltistan. 

Altit Fort in Karimabad Hunza 

      Hunza Valley itself offers plenty of things to explore around, from landscape to historical places. Altit fort is one of the historical sites in Hunza that has kept the values, crafts, and traditions of the Valley. It is a masterpiece of Architecture. It has been preserved as a Museum, and visitors are often taken on a complete tour of the place. There is another Fort that you can visit that is Baltit fort. Both of these forts represent the culture and history of Hunza Valley. It is a fascinating place for cultural researchers, documentary makers, photographers, architectures, and archaeologists. If you are interested in history, these places must be on your list to explore. 

Glaciers to Explore 

     There are some of the highest and longest Glaciers you can find in Gilgit Baltistan to explore. Some of them include;

  • Godwin- Austin
  • Biafo Glacier 
  • Baltoro Glacier 
  • Siachen Glacier 
  • Batura Glacier 
  • Hispar Glacier 
  • Passu Glacier 

All of the above Glaciers offers a spectacular view and the best trekking, climbing, and hiking spots for adventurers. Godwin-Austin is close to K2 Mountain; it can be reached through Balti town of Skardu. Siachen Glacier is one of the world’s second-largest Glacier and is the longest Glacier in the Karakorum mountain range. Meanwhile, these Glaciers are significant for environmentalists and climate change activists, researchers, and workers who can conduct their study and the impact of Climate Change on these Glaciers. 

Hussaini Suspension Bridge 

Hussaini suspension Bridge is an adventurous bridge, and it’s fascinating for the visitors. The Bridge is located in Upper, Hunza. Though it is quite dangerous to cross the Bridge, it keeps moving when you cross the Bridge. It is considered one of the most hazardous Bridges, but it is a center of attraction for tourists. 

Khunjrab Top 

Khunjrab Top, known as Khunjrab pass, is the world’s highest border crossing and is located in the northern border of Pakistan and southern edge of China. It connects the two countries, China and Pakistan, in the Mountains of Karakorum. People who visit this top also enjoy the spectacular view and majestic roads, and the Karakorum mountain range. Being high in altitude, it’s quite cold and windy. The best time to visit this place in the summers; however, if you love snow, you can also see it in winters, but the weather gets harsh out there. 

Eagle Nest Duiker 

For nature lovers, Eagle Nest Duiker is the most beautiful place to enjoy sunrise and sunset over the Valley. You can also view the world’s most famous peak,” Rakaposhi” Ultar Peak,” Golden peak, and Lady Finger from the top of Eagle Nest. You can also view the famous forts, Balti-Altit fort from Eagle Nest. If you are a photographer, nature lover, or mediator, this place must be on top of your list. 

Attabad Lake

Attabad Lake is in Hunza Valley; it’s a stunning Lake surrounded by the mountains and landscape. This is the best place for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, jet-skiing, and camping. The lake looks so refreshing and full of nature. 

Borith Lake 

It is one of the un-explored lakes in Hunza Valley; however, it is one of the most peaceful places with stunning landscapes and surroundings. It is located in the northwest of Husseini, Gojal in Upper Hunza. You can see the clear sky or Milky Way at night and do meditation. 

Valleys to Explore 

Gilgit-Baltistan beauty does end with these places; some of the best valleys you can explore during your travel give an insight into the culture, food, traditions, and languages. Local food, music, dance, and folk traditions can only be explored by visiting these beautiful valleys. They are full of a spectacular view, landscapes, tasty food, different languages, and unique crafts. Some of the beautiful valleys include;

  • Hunza Valley 
  • Skardu Valley 
  • Gojal Valley 
  • Thunder Valley 
  • Astore Valley 
  • Gojal Valley 
  • Shigar Valley

Make stunning pictures, enjoy tasty food and music, and explore more in the Valley. If you are fortunate to visit during a local festival, that would be great to explore the culture. Famous festival celebrations include Navroz Festival, ShandurPolo Festival (between Chitral&GB), and Harvest Festival, Gianni Festival, and Babusar Polo festival. You can explore Polo games, football, hockey, volleyball, Folk music, dance, and local dishes on these occasions. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan make the journey more memorable with their hospitality and politeness.