In the old Minto Park grounds, which are now known as the Iqbal Park grounds, is a towering spire of about 60 metres in height that just about every Pakistani knows by sight. It is the Minar-e-Pakistan, formerly the Yadgar-e-Pakistan, a tower that is said to be the symbol of Pakistan’s independence.
The Mystical Subcontinent that is South Asia
South Asia is home to the Himalayas, a mountain range that literally reaches the skies. The Himalayan mountains make up the planet's tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, and with more than one hundred mountains that are over 7,000 meters high, taller even than the tallest mountains outside South Asia. The Himalayas is rich with legends, mysteries and amazing natural bounty. Where else can you find mountains whose base bathe in tropical climate all year round but whose peaks are capped with snow all year round?
Also, the Himalayas cradles three major rivers, the Ganges, the Indus and Tsangpo-Brahmaputra. The Indus flows through Pakistan, India and Tibet, onto the Arabian Sea. Ganges River, on the other hand, is the most sacred body of water in India. It is, in fact, regarded and worshipped as a Hindu goddess. To the faithful, rivers in South Asia are looked upon as deities or celestial cows that give out life-giving milk. There are about 600 million people living near and along these three rivers and whose lives depend upon them.
Other than the Himalayan peaks and rivers, South Asia is also home to the exotic, mystical and beautiful Indian Peninsula, which includes Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The fact that India has more than 1.2 billion residents and embraces four major world religions makes this country truly fascinating in so many ways. The ways people dress, dance, sing, create and express themselves are unique to this country alone.
Some of the top attractions in India are the Virupaksha Temple, Kanha National Park, Harmandir Sahib (“Golden Temple”), Jaisalmer, Ajanta Caves and, of course, the iconic Taj Mahal.
In addition to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, other countries that complete the South Asian subcontinent are Bhutan, Iran, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet and the Maldives. They work together through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Harappa is one of the most fascinating and often-visited of Pakistan’s tourist sites: a Bronze Age city dating back to a time so long ago, so ancient that historians do not even know how to interpret the writing system used in the artefacts left behind. To be precise, though, the site was very likely not named Harappa during its time: we have no idea what name it originally had. The current name is just taken from a modern village 6 kilometres away from the excavation site.
It is a marvel that so much of the city has managed to stay intact throughout the years and damages caused by people. The British Raj, [Read more…]
North of Hunza River is a place that is widely believed to have inspired the Shangri-La of James Hilton in his famous book, a place of ancient settlements and forts, prehistoric rock art, 7000-metre peaks, and remarkably long-lived people. Despite the near-fictional characteristics, this is in fact a real place: this is Hunza Valley, which lies at an altitude of approximately 2,500m from sea level.
Hunza Valley used to be administered as a princely state, and though Aliabad is the current capital, Baltit (which is now called [Read more…]
Gwadar is a place that has seen quite a bit of controversy throughout the years, not least in modern times. The port city was inhabited even in ancient times, which only means that it has seen a great many of the changes in ruling powers for the region. It saw the rule of Alexander the Great and his generals after him, was once looted by the Portuguese, was taken over by the tribes of Baluchistan, was governed by the Omani, and was purchased by Pakistan in the 1950’s. Despite that, no great and towering monuments have been left behind by these various powers in its history: Gwadar has been, for most of its life, a coastal fishing village, and it is only in recent years that it actually began to see development prompted by state authorities.
Pakistan, working with China, began heavy development of Gwadar in the 20th century, finally putting plans in motion in the early [Read more…]
Karachi is the former capital of Pakistan, ceding the title to Islamabad only in the latter part of the 20th century after authorities decided that a more centrally-located capital would be preferable. Even with that shift, though, Karachi has lost none of its importance to the nation, holding the biggest population in the country as well as a significant part of its economic foundations. Some of the most important industries of Pakistan are based here, and rightly so. Two of the biggest ports on the Arabian Sea are found in this city, after all: Karachi Port, through which more than half the cargo for Pakistan goes, and Port Bin Qasim, which handles a quarter of the total cargo in the country. Put together, the two see over 90% of the cargo for Pakistan.
There is more than economics and trade going on in this city, though. For instance, art is given due attention in the city. This is where [Read more…]
A mere 28km from Larkana town is one of the most fascinating spots you could possibly visit in Pakistan: Mohenjo Daro, a significant representative of the Indus Valley Civilisation or IVC and one of the biggest cities of its time. Presumed to have been founded around four and a half millennia in the past, the city is said to have been vacated by its inhabitants and left a ghost town around 1800 BC, after which time and elements conspired to leave it forgotten for about several thousand years. It was only rediscovered in the 20th century, and since then, it has become one of the most talked-about cities in archaeology, leaving archaeologists with more queries than answers even to this day.
Mohenjo Daro used to be on a ridge like most other cities in this time and region, to avoid flooding. Changes in topographic character for [Read more…]