SPECIALITY
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Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa
Punjab
Balochistan
Gilgit Baltistan
Azad Kashmir
Sindh
 
Ziarat

 Pakistan has a number of beautiful valleys, enchanting their spectators with enthralling beauty but Ziarat's is importance and an archaic treasure of Junipers forests. Situated about 122 km in the north of metropolis city of Quetta in Baluchistan, this popular picnic resort is at the elevation of 8,200 feet from the sea level. The summers in the valley are always pleasant, attracting a number of tourists, and the winters extremely harsh. Junipers forests, which are one of the world oldest, are the main source of lush green vista of the Ziarat valley. some of the trees in Junipers forests had been sowed as long as 5000 years ago, making Ziarat as the second biggest Junipers valley in the world. 

 

The word Ziarat means a 'shrine' (grave of a holy man). A folklore tells a saint, Kharwari Baba, who is believed to have stayed in the valley and blessed it. He was a member of Sarangzai tribe and his original name was MullaTahir. Later he became a disciple of Nana Sahib. A number of miracles are attributed to Khurwari Baba. The shrine of Khurwari Baba, after which Ziarat was named, is located 8 km away from Ziarat and is visited by a large number of people to pay attribute to the divine soul.

Ziarat takes pride in hosting Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan on a number of occasions. He also spent the last days of his life in a government residency there. 

This monumental residency was built in 1882 by the British government and till independence was in the use of the agents of the British governor general for India as their summer headquarters. 

The residency is embellished with beautiful lawns, covered with grassy carpets and with roses, dancing at the rhythmic tunes of wind, all around the garden. From there one can have a striking view of the picturesque valley. 

History

The history of Ziarat during the British colonial administration is the same as that of the Sibi district of which it was a part until 1986. The area came under British colonial influence by the middle of the last century, and was made a part of British India in 1887 like the rest of the old Sibi district. Two years earlier, in 1885, the British Government had acquired land for construction of a civil station (at the present Ziarat town), on payment of Rs.1,400,000 to the Saidzai sub section of the Sarangzai tribe. Before the creation of Sibi district (in 1903), Ziarat used to be the summer headquarters of Thal and Chutiali District (DukiSajavi Sub Division). Later when the Sibi District was created in 1903, it became Sibi District’s summer headquarters. It formed a part of Shahrigh Tehsil of Sibi District till 1974 when it was given the status of a sub-Tehsil. 

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, spent his last days at Ziarat Residency which is now a National Monument. The local people believe that the Quaid-e-Azam had in fact breathed his last here in Ziarat, contrary to the official reports that he expired in Karachi on 11 September, 1948, the day he was shifted there from Ziarat. The residency building is a majestic piece of architecture, but people visit it primarily for its association with the Quaid-e-Azam. 

Beauty of Ziarat

Pakistan has a number of beautiful valleys, enchanting their spectators with enthralling beauty but Ziarat's is importance and an archaic treasure of Junipers forests. Situated about 122 km in the north of metropolis city of Quetta in Baluchistan, this popular picnic resort is at the elevation of 8,200 feet from the sea level. The summers in the valley are always pleasant, attracting a number of tourists, and the winters extremely harsh. Junipers forests, which are one of the world oldest, are the main source of lush green vista of the Ziarat valley. some of the trees in Junipers forests had been sowed as long as 5000 years ago, making Ziarat as the second biggest Junipers valley in the world. 

The word Ziarat means a 'shrine' (grave of a holy man). A folklore tells a saint, Kharwari Baba, who is believed to have stayed in the valley and blessed it. He was a member of Sarangzai tribe and his original name was MullaTahir. Later he became a disciple of Nana Sahib. A number of miracles are attributed to Khurwari Baba. The shrine of Khurwari Baba, after which Ziarat was named, is located 8 km away from Ziarat and is visited by a large number of people to pay attribute to the divine soul.

Ziarat takes pride in hosting Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan on a number of occasions. He also spent the last days of his life in a government residency there. 

This monumental residency was built in 1882 by the British government and till independence was in the use of the agents of the British governor general for India as their summer headquarters. 

The residency is embellished with beautiful lawns, covered with grassy carpets and with roses, dancing at the rhythmic tunes of wind, all around the garden. From there one can have a striking view of the picturesque valley. 

Ziarat - the capital of Ziarat District of the Balochistan sits at an altitude of 2543 metres (8346 feet). It is famous for the reason that Mr.Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan stayed here during the last few days of his life in September 1948. The site was chosen for the ailing great man because Ziarat offers the best of the climates, specially in the summers. Besides, Mr. Jinnah had great personal liking for Ziarat. It is because of this reason that the small double storeyZiarat Residency has won the position of a national monument. The hills around Ziarat are thickly wooded and are home to the world's second largest Juniper trees. The junipers are considered to be the real treasure of Ziarat. There are trees in the valley which are more than 7000 years old. In Ziarata herb called Ephedra sinica is found in abundance from which a chemical called ephedrine is extracted, an important constituent of various medicines, especially cough syrups. When the snow falls in Ziarat's winter the juniper valley is at its most beautiful. The local dish of Ziarat is "saji". More tourists visit the place in summer. Read More about Juniper Forests.

Ziarat literally means a place for pilgrimage. Ziarat as a small dwelling existed much before the advent of thc British Rule in the Sub-continent. Its local name then was Gwuskhi or Kowashki and was changed to its present name of Ziarat in 1886. It derived its name from the neighbouring shrine of famous Muslim saint Mian Abdul Hakim, popularly known as MullaTahir and Kharwari Baba. The shrine is situated in the valley, below the "Prospect Point (see photo below)", south of Ziarat Town. According to a legend, the Saint came here from Khandahar in Afghanistan, He opposed the highhandedness of Ghlzai King Hussain. He was forced to leave his native town and migrated to this place. On reaching this valley he took abode on a hill top and prayed for this place saying: "This place shall flourish". Thereafter water started oozing from the spot which is still flowing and is regarded as holy and wholesome.

Ziarat was first selected as health resort by the British in 1883. Till then it was a remote area with few mud houses. The history of Ziarat during the British colonial administration is the same as that of the Sibi district of which it was a part until 1986. The area came under British colonial influence by the middle of the last century, and was made a part of British India in 1887 like the rest of the old Sibi district. Two years earlier, in 1885, the British Government had acquired land for construction of a civil station (at the present Ziarat town), on payment of Rs.1,400,000 to the Saidzai sub section of the Sarangzai tribe. Before the creation of Sibi district (in 1903), Ziarat used to be the summer headquarters of Thal and Chutiali District (DukiSajavi Sub Division). Later when the Sibi District was created in 1903, it became Sibi District’s summer headquarters. It formed a part of Shahrigh Tehsil of Sibi District till 1974 when it was given the status of a sub-tehsil. The first building to come up there was the Political Agent's residence which was constructed in 1891 at a total cost of Rs. 19,666. Piped water was provided to the town in 1898-99 at a cost of Rs, 38,000. A summer camp for European troops stationed at Quetta was first set up at Ziarat in 1885. At that time income of this tiny town stood at Rs. 38010 and expenditure at Rs. 2,689. Before Independence, the camp offices of the Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan; the Revenue Commissioner, Balochistan; the Civil Surgeon, Balochistan; the Political Agent and the Colonization officer, Nasirabad, used to shift to Ziarat during the summer. 

People of Ziarat

The local residents of ziarat are pashtoons. The major tribes Kakar, Tareen, and Dotani.among these Kakar is the largest tribe and 90% of the total of population . the main subtribes of kakar include essakhail, panezai, sarangzai, domar.

 

The inhabitants are the Pashtuns. Nomadic tribesmen also pass through the valleys around during spring and autumn with their families, herd of sheep and camels. The women wear shalwar (baggy trouser) and long skirted shirts with a chadarao Dopatta having embroidered and mirror work. Men wear shalwar, long shirts and waist coat with a turban on the head.

 Flora of Ziarat

The tribes of the area are Sarabgzais, Tarins, Syeds, Doomars and lsakhels - all Pashtoons. The people are generally sturdy and very hospitable. A trip to Ziarat from Quetta can be made by two routes one by the single road, which though a short-cut, is very difficult but full of fun and excitement for the hunters. The other is the Quetta- Karachi-Ziarat Road. It is a metalled road with road side tea shops. After traveling over 43 miles of the ragged country side one reaches Kachh where, besides a few tea shops, there is a Rest House equipped with necessary facilities. Thereafter a 33-mile long hilly track takes one to the green valley of Ziarat. This part of the journey is quite interesting and one comes across lofty hills covered with a thick juniper, patches of green fields and clean and cold water springs. There are many lovely walks through the wooden glades. Huge gorges and defiles constitute a feature of the scenery. For spending a holiday delightfully cool Ziarat is very pleasant and enjoyable, Beside Juniper, which is the major species of trees, other major species include Wild Ash; Wild Almond; Olea species; Khujak. The magic of Ziaratlies in its honey-flowers which attain a large size here, its lush green grass and cool weather even in the hottest months of summer. 'Shinshoab' a lavender-like wild bush, looks lovely in twilights. Ziarat is also famous for its sweet apples, black and red cherry. The cherry season lasts from the 1st to 15th of June.

Within easy reach of the town, the Ziart (or sometimes Sandeman) Tangi (leftt) is a narrow gorge between lofty mountains culminates in a perennial spring. There are more than half a dozen gorges around Ziarat formed by natural 'Karez' - spring water falling through narrow openings amongst the mountain rocks producing a dramatic effect. The sound of waterfalls singing to the tune of solid rocks while passing through narrow gorges creates a mystic atmosphere. The famous gorges along the road to Ziarat are ChutairTangi, Kahn Tangi, KawasTangi, Fern Tangi and SandemanTangi. One can approach easily to these gorges by diverting from the main road to have a picnic, adventure and fun. A walk to Chashma is favourite amongst joggers and those who wish to have a pleasant walk. Situated 6 km from Ziarat the 'Prospect Point' offers breathtaking view of the valley. It was because of its scenic beauty that a Hollywood film company included a few shots of the SandemanTangi in its film "Jengis Khan" in 1952.

Prospect Point is an excellent picnic spot 372 miles south of the town. There is a jeep able road but those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty at leisure can have a walk. The road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooks the valley, about 1000 feet below, covered by the ever-green juniper trees. There is a newly constructed Rest House from where one could have a wonderful view of the valley particularly during the rainy season. Down below is the shrine of Kharwari Baba.

 

Fauna Of Ziarat 

Markhotr (Mountain Goat), Gud (Mountain Sheep). panthers, partridges, chakors, sisis and other birds and animals attract lovers of wildlife and hmlters to this area. Ziarat promises a bracing climate to its visitors, it is delightfully cool during the summers. The average maximum temperature is about 80 degree F while average minimum is 35 degree F. Average annual rainfall is about 12 inches. Normally it gets snowfall fall November to March .

During winters Ziarat town is almost totally deserted with the shifting of the Government office to Sibi. Only chowkidars and a few tribesmell are left. Summer population ranges between 3,000 to 5,000, mostly tourists. The tribes of the area are Sarabgzais, Tarins, Syeds, Doomars and lsakhels - all Pashtoons. The people are generally sturdy and very hospitable. Once of the most popular summer retreat in Pakistan, Ziarut can proudly claim a unique position. lts healthy atmosphere and serene environments earned it the hollour of association with the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i- Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He had great liking for Ziarat and he spent the last days of his life in this enchanting valley. It is because of this reason that the small double storeyZiarat Residency has won the position of a national monument. Because of his failing health caused due to his ceaseless work during the Pakistan Movement overwork for the newly born Islamic state, the Quaid stayed in this residency for about three months from June to September. 1948. Built in 1890/ 91 by the British, this beautiful residency is a two-storey building with a stone and wooden super structure. It has some of the loveliest lawns and beautiful flowers in the country, From the balcony of the upper floor, as well as from the lawns down below, the entire valley appears to be nicely laid down filr panoramic view. The Quaid stayed on the upper floor in the room on the left side and his illustrious sister, late Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah,just in front of his room on the right side. The bed, furniture, the cutlery etc. used by him are intact and placed in their original position. Ziarat literally means a place for pilgrimage. History tells us that this place existed much before the advent of thc British Rule in the Sub-continent. Its local name then was Gwuskhi or Kowashki and was changed to its present name of Ziarat in 1886. It derived its name from the neighbouring shrine of famous Muslim saint Mian Abdul Hakim, popularly known as MullaTahir and Kharwari Baba. The shrine is situated in the valley, below the "Prospcct Point", about 4+ 2 miles south of Ziarat Town. According to a legend, the Saint came here from Khandahar in Afghanistan, He opposed the highhandedness of Ghlzai King Hussain. He was forced to leave his native town and migrated to this place. On reaching this valley he took abode on a hill top and prayed for this place saying: "This place shall flourish". Thereafter water started Oozing from the spot which is still flowing and is regarded as holy and wholesome. There is a jeepable road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooking the juniper valley. It is also an excellent picnic spot, 

Ziarat was first selected as health resort by the British in 1883. The first pucca building to come up there was the Political Agent's residence which was constructed in 1891 at a total cost of Rs. 19,666. Piped water was provided to the town in 1898-99 at a cost of Rs, 38,000. A summer camp for European troops stationed at Quetta was first set up at Ziarat in 1885. At that time income of this tiny town stood at Rs. 38010 and expenditure at Rs. 2,689, 

Attractions of Ziarat

Ziarat's attractions are many, For the naturalists and hikers it provides wonderful walks amidst picturesque surroundings, hunters interesting games and for devotees the shrine of Karwari Baba. 

There are many lovely walks through the wooden glades. Huge gorges and defiles constitute a feature of the scenery. For spending a holiday delightfully cool Ziarat is very pleasant and enjoyable, It was because of its scenic beauty that a Hollywood film company included a few shots of the SandemanTangi in its film "Jengis Khan" in 1952. 

A trip to Ziarat from Quetta can be made by two routes one by the single road, which though a short-cut, is very difficult but full of fun and excitement for the hunters. The other is the Quetta- Karachi-Ziarat Road. It is a metalled road with road side tea shops. After travelling over 43 miles of the ragged country side one reaches Kachh where, besides a few tea shops, there is a Rest House equipped with necessary facilities. Thereafter a 33-mile long hilly track takes one to the green valley of Ziarat. This part of the journey is quite interesting and one comes across lofty hills covered with a thick juniper, patches of green fields and clean and cold water froin springs. 

After crossing the road passing through a gorge, one is struck by the panoramic view of this enchanting summer resort with the high Khalafat Peak overlooking. 

How to Reach

Numerous minibuses travel here daily from Quetta (Rs 50, 2½ hours), although their frequency drops considerably out of season. A taxi will set you back around Rs 2500. Formerly there used to be only one rickety bus making the rounds, over- crowded with passengers and baggage, But there are now taxis, and bus service. A visit to Ziarat, unlike the past, is no problem now. Private sector also runs luxury coaches. 

Where to Stay

The Motel is situated in the heart of this picturesque town. Its rooms, comprising both comfortable huts and blocks, overlook the lawns. Its restaurant caters to both local and western tastes, special Baluchi delicacy ‘Sajji’, is available on request. The Motel also offers Rent-a-Car, Satellite TV, Telephone, Fax and Laundry services

HOTEL SERVICES 

· Laundry 

· TV 

· Telephone 

· Rent a Car

· Parking 

· Room service 

· Satellite

Located high up in a mountain village this is a new hotel with good quality rooms and suites that is  upgraded to a suite (50,000 tomen) to get the great mountain view. It's only 10 or 15km from the centre of Gorgan. Rooms are new and clean with decent furniture, tv etc. To get there you drive up into the mountains south of Gorgan and the hotel is near the end of the road. It's much better located than the hotels near the foot of the mountains at Nahar-Khoran.

Breakfast was ok with fresh bread, honey etc.

The hotel itself is a fairly ugly glass and concrete block but its located in a fairly unspoilt (but rapidly changing) village.

What to Eat

 The all-day Ziarat Restaurant offers both Pakistani and International cuisine. Typically served in lavish buffet style, breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper choices are accompanied by a wide range of a la carte choices. Warmly welcoming, the Ziarat also prides itself on the authenticity of its speciality cuisine theme nights. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating and regularly hosts live music performances.

Other facilities of Ziarat

T here are now three hotels, two restaurants, a Dak Bungalow with three annexies, one Rest House (Ziarat House) a Youth hostel Cottage Motel with six cottages with a beautiful lawn and restaurant, three beautiful huts of conical design.about a dozen newly built cottages and shopping centres. It also has banking facilities.

Places of interest

Though Ziarat is itself a wonderful place with its own charms and beautiful picnic spots but there are a number of places of interest around it which a visitor could hardly afford to miss.

  These places provide a lot of fun. 

SandemanTangi is 2-1/2 miles north- west of Ziarat. It is the meeting point of two hills presenting a fascinating and inspiring view. A spring flows down to the "Tangi", The water action over centuries has made the surface of the lofty stone walls very soft to touch. 

The tail gorges present fascinating view and the visitors can walk inside and see the natures beauty from the depth where sun never shines. 

Prospect Point is an excellent picnic spot 372 miles south of the town. There is a jeepable road but those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty at leisure can have a walk. The road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooks the valley, about 1000 feet below, covered by the ever-green juniper trees. There is a newly constructed Rest House from where one could have a wonderful view of the valley particularly during the rainy season. Down below is the shrine of Kharwari Baba. 

Chashma Walk is a 1ove!y walk from the swimming pool and ahmg the deep ravine. It is one of the very few stretches of flat ground in Ziarat. 

Katoo Forest

Presents a lovely view from a jeepable road winding through the hills. The length of the road is 6 miles and the place rises to an altitude of 1,000 feet from the starting point. 

Then there are a few more small but interesting places like FaranTangi, SistaTangi, Khalifat Hill and on its foot "Zizri" and Khandai popularly known as "lshq-i-Lahu". 

A few nailes ahead of Ziarat is the juniper laden "Chauter Valley" ,rich in scenic beauty but still unexplored and undeveloped. 

Before approaching Ziarat one comes across the fruit rich areas of Kawas and Zandara which have their own beauty and splendour.

Important places / buildings

Shrine of Baba Kharwari

The shrine (Ziarat) of Baba Kharwari (whose real name was MulaTahir) is one of the most well known places in the district. Baba Kharwari rendered great services to the cause of Islam in the early 18th century. His shrine is situated about 9 km from the town and a large number of people who visit Ziarat go to the Mazar to offer Fateha.

 

SandemanTangi

Within easy reach of the town, this narrow gorge between lofty mountains culminates in a perennial spring. This is another major tourist attraction.

Seven Wonders of Ziarat

Ziarat is the soul of Balochistan. It is a place of juniper forests, lush green valleys, singing cascades, hills and orchards. Visitors throng Ziarat during summers to seek comfort in its cool, pleasant climate. Winters are rather harsh with much of the area covered with snow. Some features which draw people to this wonderful place are:

 

1. The Juniper Forests

The hills around Ziarat are covered with juniper trees, thickest on the north, south and east sides. The valley has one of the richest and oldest juniper forest in the world, The juniper tracts along with its range lands, cover an area of approximately seven hundred thousand acres of which 2.30,000 acres are the State forest. Average age of the extremely slow growing juniper trees is  5000 years. Juniper berries are used as flavor. Oil is aisc) extracted from these trees which has anmnber of uses.

Besides juniper you can also see chinar, walnut and almond trees in the valley. A wide variety of flora and fauna are found here. You can also find herbs of medicinal value. The valley is known for its honey and the extra ordinarily large flowers.

Medical herbs like Epherda, Artimesia and mint etc are also produced. Fragrant lavender hushes cover almost the entire landscape from July to October. 

2. The Ziarat Residency

Ziarat has the honor of playing host to the Quaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the last days of his life. The two storey wooden house where the Quaid stayed is called Ziarat Residency. It is surrounded by trees and garden laden with flowers. Its hilly location has made it all the more alluring. Ziarat Residency has now been converted to a National Monument and the things used by the Quaid are displayed here.

Quaid-e-Azam residency with its lush green lawns, chinar trees and flower gardens commands a striking view of the whole valley. It is of historical importance, as the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, stayed there during his last illness. It houses the relics of the Father of the Nation. The Residency was built in 1882 by the British and used by the Agent to the Governor General as his summer headquarters.

 

 

 

3. Chashma Walk

It is a mile long stretch of land popular among hikers and nature lovers. It takes you to the springs (chashma) which provide water to the valley. 

4. Prospect Point

Situated 6 km from Ziarat is the well known picnic spot from where people can get a spectacular view of the valley. Although it can be reached by road, many people prefer to walk there enjoying the natural beauty around them. this place offers a spectacular view of the Koshki valley. There is a local government resthouse on this spot and a wide open space for picnic/camping.

 

5. The Valleys

Ziarat is dotted with lush green valleys. As there are no proper roads, these valleys can be accessed through jeeps. After a rough ride you are rewarded with cool pure scented air, apple orchards, greenery and in some places, a clear blue lake. Zizri, Mana, KarviKach and Zindra are some valleys worth mentioning.

Zizri Valley

Zizri valley, situated on the southern edge of the district, possesses a breathtaking beauty. The road leading to the valley is kacha, rough, and tractable mainly by four wheel drive vehicles.

 

Mana Valley

This lush green valley with its apple orchards and scintillating blue lake is a popular tourist site.

 

 

6. The Gorges

Most of Balochistan is dry and barren with scant rainfall. However nature has its own way of watering its forests and orchards. There are numerous springs which fall through the narrow openings in the mountains. The gorges around Ziarat are SandemanTangi, ChautairTangi, Kahn Tangi, Fern Tangi and KawasTangi. Tourists usually visit these gorges for picnics and to enjoy the sound of music made by the falling water.

 

 

7. Mount Khilafat

This is the second highest peak in the province.It is 3487 meters high. Its snow capped peak invites people but the route is pretty difficult.If you are inclined towards spirituality, you can visit the shrine of Kharwari Baba. The apple and black cherry orchards of Ziarat are also worth visiting.Rest Houses and motels have been setup by the government for tourists comfort. However its is recommended to make reservations before hand.

 

 

 

 

 
 
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