Quetta is the capital of the province Balochistan in Pakistan. The spelling of 'Quetta' is an erroneous English derivation from kwatta meaning 'fort' in the Pushto language. Quetta is also known as the "fruit garden" of Pakistan. It is located in the densely populated Quetta District, which lies in the northeast of the province, and is situated in a river valley near Afghanistan's border, with a road to Kandahar in the northwest.
How to Reach
There are two ways to reach Quetta,
1. Through Hub area enter to Baluchistan and through the highway reach to Quetta. (Approx 700 km)
It will be better not to travel on this route because I think there is only 350 - 400 km road and rest is all under construction since years. Uf you will try this route you will ruin your car.
2. Reach to Sukkhar, then enter Baluchistan through Jacobabad and reach to Quetta. (Approx 900 km
Language of Quetta City
Urdu is the popular tongue. Other dialects that the people in Quetta use are Punjabi, Persian, Pushto, Balochi and Sindhi.
Geography and climate
Quetta city is comprised of a valley surrounded by three different mountain ranges. It is north west of Karachi and south west of Islamabad.
Quetta has minimum winter temperatures ranging well below freezing point and as low as -13˚C (8.6˚F), while maximum winter temperatures seldom crosses 20˚C (68˚F). Snowfall was a common feature in month of January till late eighties but after that snowfall has become rare in winters. While summer maximum and minimum temperature hover around 40˚C (104˚F) and 12˚C (53˚F) respectively. Unlike to the rest of the country, Quetta does not have a fertile rainy season during monsoon time. In general Quetta has a dry climate.
People of Quetta
The inhabitants of Quetta are mainly Pashtuns. The tribes include Kakar, GhilzaiTareen, Mandokhel, Sherani, Looni, Kasi and Achakzai. Since Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan one might think the Balochs would be in the majority, but the Pashtuns are actually the largest group and the Pashto language is widely spoken. Besides Pashtuns and Balochis you can also find Punjabis, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkomen rubbing shoulders with the other inhabitants. They are known to be hospitable to visitors because hospitality is an important element of their cultures. Nomadic tribesmen, mainly Balouchi, 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 color to the life of the city. The Pashtuns pride themselves on their tradition of hospitality to guests (milmastia in Pashto). Just a greeting of Salaam Alaykum will get you far in endearing yourself to people. 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. The people inhabiting this land are proud, robust and fiercely independent. They harbor no domination and the British who came here in the late nineteenth century learned to respect and honor their ways.
The inhabitants are mainly Pashtuns. Quetta tribesmen are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Making visitors comfortable is an integral part of their local traditions. The main bazaar on Jinnah Road is full of Pashtun traders, many of them wearing turbans. Hazara traders sitting in their shops, Baloch hawkers with red embroidered caps, and full-skirted nomad women carrying bundles of imported cloth for sale.
Since Quetta has been home to many settlers, the city reflects a confluence of cultures. The most conspicuous cultures are that of the Hazaras and the Ghaznis who were among the earliest settlers of Quetta.
There are religious and social festivals celebrated by the people of Quetta. Two major religious festivals are Eid-ul-Azha and Eid-ul-Fiter. On these festivals people adorn their houses, wear new dresses, cook special dishes and visit each other. Eid-Meladun-Nabi is another religious festival. It is a celebration of the Holy Prophet’s P.B.U.H birthday. Numerous colorful social festivals are also source of jubilation. Sibi festival that traces its roots to Mehergarh, an archeological site of ancient human civilization, attracts people from across the country. It is attended by common folks, ministers and other government officials. Folk music performance, cultural dances, handicrafts stalls, cattle shows and a number of other amusing activities present a perfect riot of color. Buzkashi is a peculiar festival showing valor of Pashtun people. It is celebrated on horse-back by two teams that use their skills to snatch a goat from each other.
Football is popular in Quetta, which has produced more renowned players then any other part of Pakistan. Mali Bagh is the best-known football ground. Teams in Quetta include the Hazara, Baluch and Afghan football clubs. In boxing, Olympian sportsmen are Syed Ibrar Ali Shah, Asghar Ali Changezi and Haider Ali Changezi. The three boxers belong to the Hazara ethnic group.
Although Quetta is on the western edge of Pakistan, is well connected with the country by a wide network of roads, railways and airways.
Transportation in Quetta City
Quetta International Airport is served by such airlines as Airblue, Shaheen Air International and Pakistan International Airport. Mostly domestic flights ply from here. Well connected roads and railways have also made transportation rather easy. Quetta Railway Station is one of the important stations in Pakistan. Taxis and private cars are also available.
Pakistan International Airlines, Shaheen Air International and Airblue all have regular flights between Quetta and other major cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar. Pakistan International Airlines has a direct flight between Dubai and Quetta. Other international passengers traveling to Quetta can reach Quetta via any of the other main hubs of Pakistan, i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad or Peshawar.
Road and Railways
The extensive network of Pakistan Railways connects Quetta to Karachi in south, by a 863 km (536 miles) track, Lahore in northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1587 km or 986 miles). A metalled road is also present along the railroad that connects Quetta to Karachi via Sibi, Jacobabad and Rohri. A track from the Irani city of Zahedan links to Quetta via Taftan, but the train service were temporarily disabled in 2006 due to unrest in Balochistan.
Even though the linear distance from Quetta to Lahore is merely 700 km, there is no direct railroad track on this route because of the Sulaiman Range that lies in the east of Quetta. So all northeast-bound trains for Punjab or NWFP must go 350+ km south uptoRohri, Sindh (near Sukkur) first, before continuing north to Punjab and/or NWFP.
Where to Stay
There are some 5 star hotels in Quetta which rates up to 14000 to 15000 for the single and double bed respectively. The rooms of motels are superbly clean and very well kept and decorated with traditional Balouch ornaments. Restaurants serve variety of cuisine from Balochistan & rest of Pakistan. The standard room can be hired at the cost of 4000 to 5000 for the single and double bed respectively. There are some of the hotels as well that discounted up to so many rates.
What to Eat
For those interested in local cuisine, there are many sumptuous dishes to feast upon. The "Sajji" (leg of lamb), HazaragiAash, Mantho is said to be very good by locals. The Pathan 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 LalKabab, Tabaq, Cafe Farah and Cafe Baldia. They serve Pakistani and Continental food, while Cafe China specializes in Chinese cuisine. 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. Small and clean hotels in Alamdar road provide real comfort for tourists in peaceful environments.
Quetta is a major tourist attraction for tourists from abroad. It is advertised as a thrilling location, full of adventure and enjoyment. Some prominent bazaars of Quetta are located on the roads Shahrah-e-Iqbal (the Kandahari Bazaar) and Shahrah-e-Liaquat (the Liaquat and Suraj Gang Bazaar Modern Electronics), Alamdar road (little Tokyo), Toghi Road (Safest Place for Punjabis) and Hazara town. Here, tourists can find colourful handcrafted art, particularly the Balochi mirror work embroidery, HazaragiChapal, Norozi and Hazaragi Carpets which are admired all over the world.
There is a plethora of Tourist Attractions in Balochistan that are definitely worth a visit. A province of Pakistan, Balochistan is home to a number of places for sightseeing. A major provider of natural gas to the country, Balochistan has the Arabian Sea on its south. The Tourist Attractions in Balochistan is many, which are frequently visited by tourists.
The capital of the province of Balochistan, Quetta City is the ideal place to explore the land of Balochistan. There are many places of interest and various options for amusement in Quetta. The city houses two museums - the Archaeological Museum and the Geological Museum.
Some of the most interesting tourist attractions in Balochistan are located in the Quetta city.
St. Mary's church
Liaquat and Suraj Gang Bazaar
What to Eat
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. It is a whole leg of lamb deliciously marinated in local herbs and spices and barbecued beside an open fire. It is very popular among the locals and is offered with great insistence to the guests. The Pathan tribesmen of the valley also enjoy Landhi (whole lamb) and Khadi Kebab. “Landhi” is a whole lamb which is dried in shade and kept for the winters. Kebab shops are very popular, the best being Lal Kebab, 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.
There is famous LehriSajji house and Mir AfzalKarahi at Jinnah Road. The most famous is the Khadi kebab which is just behind the street at Liaquat Bazaar
The Pashtun people are also very famous for their refreshing green tea and DoodPati shops
Very few places can compete with Quetta valley in having wide range of tasteful fruits, exported to all parts of the country as well as abroad. There you can find plums, peaches, pomegranates, apricots, apples, olives, different types of melon, water-melon, cherries, pistachios, almonds and other dry fruits. Saffron and tulip are also grown and cultivated on a commercial scale. The fruits heaven is Urak, called SAMARISTAN meaning the land of fruits in Persian.
Being an Islamic country, Alcohol is banned but is available for non Muslims. None of the hotels have bars, though at some alcohol can be ordered as room service.
There is a liquor store on the main street though it's difficult to find (it's best to ask your hotel, which should be able to provide directions).
Quetta is well-known for its Kawa (Green Tea) and Shere Chai also known as DoodPati Chai. Kawa has a unique flavor, and is usually served sweet, lemon and ginger powder are optional tastmakers.
Sharbat-e-Sandal is a sweet, non-carbonated drink unusually found in markets in summer. It has a good taste and a yellowish-green transparent colour - look out for the black seeds. Served ice cold.