Saturday, January 29, 2011




I was surfing through  T.V channels and stopped at the entertainment news showing that the skiing was ON in Swat ..yes I was sooo jealous of everyone who was there:/
Anyways right now I cannot go there but I decided to write a  post about it:D

I went to Swat with my family a good 10 years ago(OMG seems like yesterday)
It was lovely. We loved everything about it. The weather was lovely, the people (blond with blue or green eyes)were warm, there were a million tourists(as If whole Pakistan came to Swat for vacation) and the places we discovered while hiking were WOW…like we were in wonderland or in some sort of a fantasy world.

Two things that I remember about Swat are

1: We were staying at this motel not very far away  from PTDC (in Malam Jabba) and out of nowhere clouds came and it started pouring heavily..all our plans for the day were postponed and us all siblings were like NOW WHAT TO DO….well we ordered for French fires and sat in the window of the room to enjoy them and we could not believe what we saw:  we were above the dark clouds and the rain was pouring beneath us :D  our room was on the first floor.It was awesome and it made our day and we told everyone that we were above the clouds and it was raining beneath us:D

2: A local there at the motel told us that there is an awesome waterfall not far away  from here and you can easily reach there by a 1 hour we set off to discover by ourselves this was a tiring hike and we were like lets go back papa there is no waterfall, that guy has made a fool of us ,..but father insisted that we were almost there , so we kept on the move and suddenly our father stopped and we were like WHAT? He said come see for yourself..and we could not believe what we saw,,it was a green pasture as far away as we could see, flowers everywhere and horses moving about freely, running, was WOW…I just don’t have the words the describe the beauty..we all had goosebumps at seeing such beauty…any ways after a long hike we did reach the water fall and it was also lovely but could not stay for long as It was getting dark and we set off towards our motel.

There are many places that no tourist guide or magazines or your friends can’t  tell you about once your are there, allow yourself to seek some adventure and you will come across many beautiful and worth treasuring experiences.


Swat is a valley which has gone through many rulers such as Alexander the great, Mahmud of Ghazni, the Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hsien,Sun Yun,Hsuan-Tsang and Wu-Kung and civilizations, whose traces can be found here and there. It has seen the Buddhist , the Ghandara, the Hindu dynasty, and the Muslim rule as well.

It was a Princely state and was annexed to Pakistan in 1947.

The people of Swat are mainly Gujars ,Pashtuns and Kohistanis. The people claim them selves to be the descendants of the army of Alexander the Great.

The religion followed is Islam and people understand the national language as well along with the local languages.

The valley falls in the premises of the province Khyber Pakhtunkhua and is located at a distance of 160 km from the federal capital Islamabad.

It forms the upper valley of the river Swat (hence the name) and goes up to the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Saidu Sharif being its capital while the most famous town being Mingora.

It is said that Buddha himself came to swat and preached the people there during his incarnation as Gautama Buddha. Swat is considered as a holy land of Buddhist learning and piety among the Buddhist world.

Buddhist art also developed and flourished throughout India and china from swat.

Many stupas and Buddhist Monasteries were built.

Butkhara-1, containing the original relics of Buddha was found in the excavation sites of swat.
Temples, fortresses and other architectural buildings were built by the Hindu rulers whose traces can be found in various locations.


One can go via road or by air as well. Regular flights take off from Islamabad to the Swat capital town of Saidu Shaif and if you want to go via road you can take a 160km drive from Peshawar or a 250 km drive from Islamabad. Local buses and taxis will also take you there but going by your own private vehicle is what I would suggest.


There are various hotels where you can stay and enjoy your trip such as

PTDC(Pakistan tourism development corporation) motels in Malam Jabba, Miandam, SaiduSharif,
The Swat Continental Hotel.
Hotel White Palace
Swat Serena Hotel
And Any other local hotels you can easily find.


Swat is a vast valley offering various tourist attractions but some of the places worth visiting include:


In Marghazar you can visit the Safad Mahal or the White Marble Palace of the former ruler of swat. It can be reached from Saidu Sharif by covering a distance of only 16 km.


Malam jabba is where I a beautiful hill station located at 40 km from Saidu Sharif. It is home to the largest ski resort in Pakistan. Unfortunately we went there in summers so could not skiL but the same area offers a wonderful experience via chair lifts during summers:D… PTDC(Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) owns the Malam Jabba ski resort and offers a ski slope of 800m with the highest point being 9200ft.
The resort is equipped with everything needed for skiing, roller/ice skating, snow clearing machines, chairlifts, food, telephones etc etc.


These places are famous for their bazaars filled with the traditional handicrafts including tribal jewellery, embroidered shawls, carved wooden doors, pillars, balconies and what not.


Almost half way between Saidu and Mingora is the Swat Museum. With the help of Japanese aid the galleries are rebuilt and shows a vast collection of Ghandara sculptures from the various Buddhist sites in Swat telling the life story of Buddha. Beads, coins, terracotta figurines and utensils, precious stones, various metal objects, weapons are displayed. If you want to know about the Ghandara civilization this museum is a must visit.

Kalam is a pure nature lovers spot.if you want to just relax and ease yourself out you must go to Kalam for a day or is about 6800ft above sea level. Here the two rivers Ushu and Utrot join in to form the Swat river.


Is home to more than 44 medicinal plants, which are collected during the month of may and June. The valley is surrounded in the north by the Chitral District.
An export of 75 herbal drugs take place from this area and more than 200 are locally traded.


Some  of the most famous lakes include the Pari Lake, the Kundol Lake, Bashigram Lake, the Spin Khwar( wild stream) Lake and the Daral Lake.
The lakes are famous for tales of the dwelling fairies, potato and turnips harvest which are known for their delicious taste, the surrounding mountains covered by pine and cedar trees, for camping, and herding for the locals.


With all the recent fights going on there in swat I wonder if it still the of my friends husbands is posted there and he says it still is like Switzerland here,
So if you want to enjoy beauty and indulge yourself in ancient civilizations or explore the valley by yourself you should go to the Switzerland of Pakistan before it is too late and everything is destroyed(GOD FORBID).

Saturday, January 22, 2011



One of the places I have never been to but so much want to visit is the Kaghan Valley ..why ? because I want to see the Saiful Muluk lake in full moon, they say that the rays of the full moon give the feeling as if fairies are descending on the lake from the sky…now that would be a sight worth seeing..
p.s I always thought that Naran and Kaghan were names of a single place:P because who so ever went to visit anyone of the places also visited the other and when asked they would say “we went to Naran Kaghan” not entirely my fault is it:P


Going upwards from Abbottabad and north east of Mansehra District you will reach Kaghan Valley.
Most of the valleys are named after the rivers which flow or the people who discovered them but this valley is named after the town Kaghan, instead of the river that flows throughout the valley the Kunhar river.
Babusar pass is the highest point in the valley and is at the height of 13,690 ft, whereas the valley has a premises of 155 km.
The languages locally spoken are Gojri and Hindko and no worries if you don’t know them both because Urdu(the national language) is also commonly understood.
The people of the valley are basically the herders and you will find them every where along the road side, in pastures, moving their herds according to season.


If you choose to visit Kaghan between the months of May to September, you have made the right choice. Summers are the best season to visit the valley.
Kaghan can be reached via road from Abbottabad, Mansehra and Balakot. You will be travelling on the road beyond Naran valley which will open onto the Babusar Pass. Also consider the monsoon season while planning to visit because the roads are blocked and movement is restricted during that time due to the heavy rainfall.
Again buses and taxis will take you there but going by your own vehicle is much preferred.


Glaciers, dales, mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls, forests, villages…you name it. Everything beautiful is there and what makes it more attractive is that it is still not polluted by humans..i suggest one should plan a visit before it does.
Among the various places some which friends and family highly recommend of visiting include:


A village surrounded by mountain peaks covered in forests and the river Kunhar flowing through it…seems like a wonderland. The famous Siri paye lake is found there.


Dudipatsar Lake, Saiful Muluk Lake and Lulusar lake are most famous among the dozens found the valley.

THE DUDIPATSAR LAKE:is hard to reach and involves a hiking of tough 7
hours but the effort is worth the green pastures and blue green water of the lake that welcome you.

THE LULUSAR LAKE offers the most breath taking view with its snow capped mountains, its L shaped lake in which the blue green water stands still reflecting those mountains and imagine flowers everywhere in all most every possible color …..simply wow..


Now that’s where Naran comes in..a 3 hour drive from Shogran village will take you to Naran from where you can go to visit the famous Lake Saiful Muluk.
Its your own choise wether you want to walk to the lake or hire a jeep.
The lake is famous for a folktale “Qissa Saiful Muluk”, a folktale about a Persian price and a fairy and the lake being their meeting spot.
The lake is an oval in of one mile diameter 10,587ft above sea level and has the clearest water with a greenish tone.

CAMPING: while you are there in Naran visiting the lakes you can also go and do camping on the Babusar Top.

FISHING: the chief sport of the valley, you can enjoy fishing in the river or can just visit the fishing farms as there are many local fish farms there offer the best quality of fish. Trout and Mahasher are the yummy types which are famous and are stocked in silvery waters.


Apart from the local rest houses and hotels available, there is a PTDC (Pakistan tourism) motel complex at naran and Balakot so suit yourselfJ


My favourite in Kaghan one of the handicrafts you should buy are the artistically carved Walnuts,I have seen some of friend brought them and they were awesome…and another famous thing are the Namdas, the woolen felt rugs while woolen shawls, embroidered shawls and shirts are also avalibale.
These places have cottage industries running and you can find yourself having excellent bargains.



It is a must must must place to visit and my friends and family have highly recommended it and I will make sure that I do visit it asap:) and so should you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Washington has to “Do More”

Recently Washington has done a lot for Pakistan, but it is worth remembering that no matter what Washington did was, or most of it was in the form of military aid to enhance America’s war in Afghanistan. There were peanuts in the shape of civilian aid, if one compares the real dollar quantity involving the military assistance and civilian aid. I am not signifying that naught was done, and I am not attempting to down play American assistance, but I am, trying to draw awareness to the very little civilian aid. If America is serious about stabilizing Pakistan, she will have to really be in charge of the civilian aid issue.

In addition to civilian economic aid, Islamabad also needs a practical and complete policy to triumph over the immense challenges that are destroying Pakistan’s future. Ironically, good governance is not easy in a country like Pakistan. For decades, corruption has been a tumor in Pakistani society and this matter has to be taken into account without blaming any particular government.

Lack of faith in successive governments by Pakistanis is one more difficulty that won’t go away. Frequent armed forces inventions have shattered democratic institutions. Adding the fuel is the overall worsening financial, political and social conditions. If all this was not enough, the climb in suicide attacks against Pakistan and the military operation against the evil Taliban has jolted Pakistan to its very core. Further infuriating the situation is the dreadful power shortage across Pakistan that is playing disaster with lives, and businesses. In other words, there are mountains of serious challenges for Pakistan to tackle, and Islamabad lacks the means to deal with so many issues intimidating the country. Therefore, America will have to recognize that Pakistan’s troubles are inter-linked. Washington cannot isolate one particular difficulty to support Pakistan. The aid and assistance has to be planned to tackle all issues at once, or else, the brutal sequence of problems multiplying will carry on.

If America is actually serious regarding helping Pakistan get out of the existing disarray, as well as winning the ‘hearts and minds’ across Pakistan, they should balance back their actions in Pakistan. The information that Americans new embassy in Islamabad will house 350 marines, is not the way to persuade Pakistanis that America is a friend.

If and when the financial and social circumstances in Pakistan will start getting improved with the help of Americans and the fallout of these improvements would be felt by the masses, it would become easier for America to assert that Washington is an ally and a friend. Consequently, America should work out the details of directly financing projects that Pakistan dreadfully needs instead of handing over money to Islamabad. This is the most excellent way to relieve the pain at the grocery store, and at the petrol pump etc. Likewise it is equally significant to immediately tackle the on-going power catastrophe in Pakistan. This is the quickest technique to support Pakistan, because when Pakistanis observe the overall development in the country, anti American emotion would involuntarily go down.

Winning hearts and minds in Pakistan is not going to be easy if American Envoys shows up every couple of months to tell Pakistanis what they need to do. This is considered interference and it adds fuel to the previously blazing flames of anti-American sentiment. As long as common Pakistanis are in pain, it would be impossible for Americans to connect with any section of the society.

The time has come for Washington to make a choice vis-à-vis Pakistan and its future. If Washington wants to carry on on this path which results in unfriendly public, fine. Conversely, if the Americans are sincerely attempting to help Pakistanis, they must work on a dissimilar plan to directly invest to deal with the manifold crises about to ingest country’s future.

I value America’s pledge to support democratic system in Pakistan. I also respect her efforts to stabilize Pakistan. For some Washington is very serious about doing whatever it can to make sure that average people, particularly in Pakistan don’t give up on democratic system. For this, Washington is still pouring funds, but the deep-seated structural evils in Pakistan can’t be fixed in a blink of an eye. It will take a while to undo the path and to stop Pakistan from crossing point of no return. Washington has to DO MORE!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Save Pakistan

Couple of days back I along with my parents was invited to a dinner party. We were invited by friend of my father who was visiting Pakistan after many years. As always everyone was talking about good old days then topic of discussion went towards past and present of Pakistan. They way they portrayed Pakistan was simply fantastic. Very less traffic, almost no pollution, traditional way of life etc.

Afterwards I was forced to think that what went wrong? Fact of the matter is that we did not plan anything for our future. In every country people try to conserve their traditions but we want to get modern in a most negative way that is forgetting out culture and way of life. Countries have work hard to safeguard their historical places. From The Great Wall of China to Pyramids of Egypt, from Taj Mehal of India to Mayan ruins of Mexico and from Eiffel Tower of Paris to Statue of Liberty of New York. But what happens here is really heart breaking. Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila) is losing it colours, Takhat-e-Babri in Kalar Kahar is almost nonexistent, Mohenjo Dao is fading away and list continue.

Now the point is …………. It’s time to play our part. We just can’t any longer stay indifferent. We have to start to raise the voice to save Pakistan. We have to realize that if drastic measures are not taken now things will go worse in very less time and we might lose the beauty of our beloved homeland for ever.

So lets us join our voices and play our part in any way possible for us.

Pakistan Zindabad!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Contribution Towards Pakistan

When I hear people saying that things are not going well and leaders have done nothing for us, it makes me think that we all do lots of crabbing but contribute little.

I have seen many people complaining that trash truck didn't come so our street are getting dirty but they themselves don’t put the trash in trashcans. People complaining about pollution and their cars emitting black smoke. People complaining about load shedding but then there is electricity all unnecessary lights of their homes are on. So where is the problem? I am not saying that over government is doing an excellent job but what I am saying that we are also not contributing towards our country. Putting all responsibility over government is easy but playing our part honestly is difficult.

We all should try hard and do our part with full devotion and should contribute in our capacity. Those of us who are good at writing should pick up the pen. Those of us in other businesses should do that honestly thus bring good name to our beloved land.

Pakistan is a very beautiful country. It has snow covered mountains, deserts, sea and rivers. Pakistan is a country that is full of potential and all that is needed is a push toward right direction. I am sure if we get out attitude right we will progress in few years.

We can benefit from tons of tourism and for that we just have to make Pakistan appealing to others. We can tell the world the world that here we can do anything from skiing to sailing in one tour. We have to show the world “how beautiful Pakistan is” and this is all what this blog is about.