Sunrise at Gorakh Hill Station

Gorakh Hill is a popular tourist destination in Sindh.

Drive to west from N55 (commonly known as the Indus Highway), it is a plateau of 1,700m above sea level in the Kiltar Mountains. View is similar to mountainside of Balochistan and the people who live along the road are Baloch people.

The name of Gorakh is derived from a Hindu devotee who believes in Shiva. Yes, Sindh is the state where 94% of Pakistani Hindus live.

 

The altitude rose from the plains of Sindh and finally we came above the clouds! This is the trail which can be done only by 4WD and it took a lot of time, so we missed the sunset on this day.

 

Despite that bad road, it is a busy place for tourists coming from urban areas such as Karachi on weekends. Since we visited on weekdays, there were only a few groups, but sometimes it could exceed 1000 people. Coming from hot place to a cool plateau, watching sunset and sunrise, campfire at night … such a trip is very popular among young tourists.

 

We went to the Benazir viewpoint to see sunrise.

 

Good Morning, Gorakh hill !

 

A villa-like building was built in a nice view of the plateau. Will it eventually become like Murre in the suburbs of Islamabad? I wanted to leave a magnificent view of the Kirthar Mountains and it’s nature.

 

This is the viewpoint … located edge of plateau.

 

After the sunrise, breakfast was served in a restaurant run by Juman Jamali.
The experience at Gorakh hill …. I couldn’t think that I am in Sindh.

Photo : Mariko SAWADA * Some photos are taken by drone.
Text : Mariko SAWADA & Sarosh HADI
Visit: Nov 2019, Gorakh Hill Station, Dadu, Sindh

 

Category : # Sindh > - Gorakh Hill Station
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-5

Chandragup mud volcano in Hingol National Park, Balochistan.

A mud volcano is a landform shaped by the outburst of mud, water, and gases. It’s called “volcano” but it is not inevitably related to the distinctive volcanic activity. It only erupts out mud along with methane gas. The Arabian Plate subducts into the Eurasian Plate in the coastal area of Balochistan. In many cases, volcanic activity is active in such places but in the case of Balochistan, huge “mud volcano area” has emerged.

There are three mud volcanoes at Chandragup and there are distinct descriptions of “Chandragup 1”, “Chandragup 2”and “Chandragup 3”, depending on the documents. It seems to be sure, the highest one which is for the sacred Hindu pilgrimage is “Chandragup 1”. However, I don’t know which is 2 or 3 for the other two volcanoes. I comprehend it in the order of height.

 

The crater of second highest mud volcano in Chandragup – “Chandragup 2” . The previous season was dry with no activity, but this year mud erupted from within and began to accumulate in the crater. What an entrancing view of the crater reflecting light of golden hour.

 

“Chandragup 2” is a mud volcano with a gentle steady slope, and has a gorgeous landscape created by the mud flow.

 

“Chandragup mud volcano 2” seen from directly above. The beauty created by mud; truly a remarkable sight.

 

Sunset from “Chandragup mud volcano 2” . Fortunately, it was a blessed day with a beautiful sunset.

 

Photo: Mariko SAWADA * Some photos are drone shots.

Text :Mariko SAWADA & Sarosh HADI

Special Thanks: Yoko Kadonaga for photograph from Crater edge

Visit: Nov 2019, Chandragup Mud Volcano, Hingol National Park, Makran Coast, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-4

While driving along the Makran Coastal Highway towards Kund Malir, you can see several mud volcanoes in the rugged mountains of Hingol National Park visible from the road. This mud volcano is one of them.

A mud volcano is a landform created by the eruption of mud, water, and gases. It’s called “volcano” but it is not necessarily related to the typical volcanic activity with lava. It only erupts out mud along with methane gas. The Arabian Plate subducts into the Eurasian Plate in the coastal area of Balochistan. In many cases, volcanic activity is active in such places, but in the case of Balochistan, huge “mud volcanic area” has emerged.

>> Other article about Mud Volcanoes in Hingol National Park :   2   3

 

Moreover, there is a large mud volcano next to it. Although it is the same mud volcano, its appearance is quite different.

 

Walk to the base of this mud volcano.

In early November, I walked on the mud volcanic area with the first Balochistan tour of this season. It takes time here because there are soft spots and you have to walk carefully. Nevertheless, the landscape created by the mud is stunning and beguiling.

 

The temperature was high on this day and it was really difficult to walk after 10 o’clock. However, in November, Balochistan is also the turning point of the season, and morning and evening time is pleasant to spend.

 

Photo : Mariko SAWADA * Some photos are drone shots.

Text : Mariko SAWADA  & Sarosh HADI

Visit: Nov 2019, Hingol National Park, Makran Coast, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
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Kashmir Markhor Mother and Kid just across the river!

In the mountainous and rugged area near Chitral, there are several places where Kashmir Markhor can be observed.

Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan. There are 4 subspecies; Astor Markhor, Kabul Markhor, Kashmir Markhor, and Suleiman Markhor inhabited in Pakistan.
Indeed, Pakistan is surprisingly a country with a plethora of Markhors.

 

In the Tooshi Game Reserve, on the other side of the river along the way to Garam Chashma (hot spring) from Chitral, several groups of Markhor come to drink water from the river in the afternoon.

During this tour we observed a female Markhor and her kid very closely from the river side. But, only female and kid… Where is male?
Males spend most of the year  high on the mountains and they descend to low altitudes for mating in month of  December.

 

Markhor not only comes to drink water, but also to eat the leaves and bushes that grow on the river bank.

Kashmir Markhor climbing a tree!

 

Both mother and kid are standing on hind legs & eating.

 

Yes, you have to eat well before the harsh winters start!

 

During the visit, we did not get information about number of Markhor  in the Tooshi Game Reserve. But at at the Chitral Gol National Park nearby, it is said that the number of Markhor has increased to about 2,500.

In fact, I was able to meet Kashmir Markhor easily both in Tooshi Game Reserve and Chitral Gol National Park. Next time I would like to see “the male Markhor”.

 

Photo: Mariko SAWADA    Text : Mariko SAWADA, Sarosh HADI
Visit : Oct 2019, Tooshi Game Reserve, Chitral , Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Category : # Khyber Pakhtunkhwa > - Chitral > - Markhor
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Nani Mandir, Hindu Temple in Pakistan –Hingol National Park

Pakistan, a country created for Muslims in the name of Islam.

However, there are Hindus and other religious minorities living in Pakistan and undoubtedly there are Hindu temples for Hindus to worship.

From the outset, I was confounded when a typical looking Pakistani man wearing shalwar kameez came to me and said, “Yes, I’m Hindu”.

 

Nani Mandir – also known as Hinglaj Mata – a Hindu Temple in Hingol National Park, Balochistan. It is a popular and sacred pilgrimage site for Hindus living in Pakistan.

Moreover, it is said that about 40,000 pilgrims come every year during the April pilgrimage season. A stunning number which can ideally increment if Pakistan India relations show signs of improvement.

 

It was said that 14% of the Pakistani population were Hindus and Sikhs before the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Numerous Hindus relocated to India during this period and the Hindu populace tumbled to 1.6%.

According to Pakistan-Hindu Council currently, 8 million Hindus live in Pakistan. It is the second-largest religious group in Pakistan, accounting for 4% of Pakistan’s total population of 200 million. Notably, 94% of them live in Sindh.

 

When we visited the hallowed Nani Mandir, the priest briefed us about the Hindu faith, the temple’s history and the great pilgrimage of spring.

Hinduism in Muslim dominating Pakistan … It was a new discovery.

 

Photo: Mariko SAWADA   Text: Mariko SAWADA & Sarosh HADI
Visit: Nov 2018, Nani Mandir / Hinglaj Mata – Hingol National Park, Balochistan

 

 

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park
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