Ziarat District Baluchistan Province
Ziarat District Baluchistan Province of Pakistan . It is situated 133 km (3 hours by car) from Quetta at an altitude of 2449 meter above sea level, Ziarat is a holiday resort amidst one of the largest and oldest juniper forests in the world. It is said that some of the Juniper trees are as old as 5000 years. The name Ziarat means, “Shrine”. A local saint, Kharwari Baba, is believed to have rested in the valley and blessed it. After his death he was buried here. People frequently visit the saint’s shrine, which is 10 km from Ziarat.
Forest and Orchards in Ziarat
Extensive research is being done in the forest nurseries to replace the juniper forest with fast growing trees, as the regeneration of the juniper is very slow.
The magic of Ziarat is its honey, its flowers which attain large size here, its lush green grass and cool weather even in the hottest months of summer, “Shinshoab”; lavender like wild bush looks lovely in twilights. Over 4400 acres in an around Ziarat are under apple orchards. The apple grown in the orchards, particularly the black and red kulu varieties are delicious. A fair amount of black cherry is also grown in Ziarat. The cherry season lasts from the 1st to 15th of June.
Chashma Walk Ziarat
Between the every ascending hills and the deep ravine, there is a mile-long stretch of flat and ideal for a peaceful walk. This is the “Chashma Walk” which leads to the spring or a “Chashma” that provide water for the town.
The view from prospect point is rewarding. It lies at a height of 2713 meter above sea level and is 6 km from Ziarat. The road is metaled, but a walk is recommended. Once at the peak with wind whistling through the forest one can see the valley stretch out in the undulating slopes in front. From a nearby cliff, one can clearly see the highest peak of these hills known as Khalefat, which rises to a height of 3487 meter. There is a small rest house situated nearby. Advance booking can be made through the office Deputy commissioner of Ziarat.
Shrine of Baba Kharwari
The Shrine of Baba Kharwari is 8 km from Ziarat town. A member of Sarang Zai, his real names was Tahir. He became a disciple of Nana Shaib and a number of miracles are attributed to him. He is buried in a valley about 8 km from Ziarat. A large number of people visit his shrine and offer sacrifices in his memory. During Eid festival, the tribesmen gather around the shrine and hold wrestling and marks man ship competitions.
Zindra in Ziarat
Fourteen kilometer from Ziarat is the picturesque Zindra . Zindra derives its name from the Pushto word “Zindra” meaning “four grinding mills”. Zizree (16 km) and Nauna dam (20 km) are also interesting places from an outing near Ziarat.
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.
Balochistan is an arid land, which receives very low rainfall annually. But innumerable natural spring known as Karez and streams are found in most of areas. There are more than half a dozen gorges around Ziarat formed by natural “Karez” spring water falling through narrow opening amongst the mountain rocks producing a dramatic effect. The sound of waterfalls singing to the tune of solid rock while passing through narrow gorges creates a mystic atmosphere. The famous gorges along the road to Ziarat are Chutair Tangi, Khan tangi, Kawas Tangi, Fern Tangi and the Sandeman tangi.
It lies 10km from Ziarat, off the main road to Quetta. A small waterfall formed by the mountain spring flows down. It is a 2 km walk from the main road to the waterfall and is an ideal place for picnic.
It is just 4 km from Ziarat. It is a dramatic waterfall cascading down the rocks and provides fun to the visitors.
After 13 km from Ziarat on way to Loralai is the beautiful Chautair valley. It is a 30 minutes drive to chutair from Ziarat. There are green picnic spot in the valley. There is also a rest house in case one wants to stay longer. The crude and rustic huts made with the bark of juniper trees in which the inhabitants of the area live, are strikingly different from dwellings in other villages. Nearby is Chutair Tangi which is worth visiting.
For many centuries the Bolan passes has been the main entrance to Quetta district. It is historically significant, used as the gateway by most of the immigrants from Central Asia in their drive to discover new homelands in South Asia. The two other important passes are the Lak Pass between Kalat and Quetta and the Khojak Pass near the border with Afghanistan at Chaman.
Lak pass is located between Kalat and Quetta at a point where the highway makes a turn for Koh-e-Taftan, Saindak copper mines and Zahidan in Iran and the other section links Karachi via Kalat, Khuzdar and bela. The view from the top of the pass is interesting, Trucks trailers and Lorries laden to their brim with merchandise and passengers move along at great speeds. Down below these kiosks sell beverages. On the hill, unmindful of the presence of the motorized transport and the human beings, hundreds of sheep browse upon the scant herbage available there.
Along Bolan Pass where the road winds through picturesque mountains one is reminded of the hugs odds that the armies from Central Asia and the north must have faced in their raids on the plains of the present day Pakistan. In winters, trains of camels, as they slowly plod their way through to the top, look fascinating. The Bolan links Quetta with the plains of the Punjab and the upper Sindh through the town of Sibi by road and train. The train passes through 21 tunnels.
The Khojak Pass is 7575 ft, above sea level. It leads directly to the border of Afghanistan at Chaman which is 153 km away from Quetta. The train passes through the longest tunnel of the sub-continent. The scenery is breath –talking as here as it is at Bolan Pass.
The entire population of Kharwari Baba and for that matter of the entire Ziarat migrates of Harnai in extreme winter. Harnai Pass, about hour’s drive from Loralai, is just as spectacular as the Khyber Pass near Peshawar.