Cave City of Bela, Gondrani

A Buddhist ruin, located in Balochistan … though its existence is still a mystery …
This bygone site is known as, “The Cave City of Bela” or “Cave city of Gondrani”. It is located on the outskirts of the secluded town of Bela, where you have to go by a 4WD vehicle or walk across the river.

 

Till this date, we still don’t know the details and the exact history of what these ruins were or for what purpose they were built and from which era.
However, it is said that it is one of the remains of a Buddhist monastery from around the 8th century when it was a territory of a Buddhist kingdom.

 

The front side is a terrace and there is a room behind it.

 

A closer view. I had a strong sense of déjà vu when I first came here. It reminded me of a cave of Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan. The difference from the Bamiyan was that in Bamiyan the caves were with Buddha and some wall paintings and ceiling decorations, but here there were no decorations at all.

 

As you walk along the path created by the flow of water, the caverns would eventually become smaller and distorted. Some of the caves have hardly remained in shape due to weathering over many years.

 

I touched about the Buddhist cave in Afghanistan. This is a panoramic view of the majestic Bamiyan Caves. There are over 750 caves spread over 1300m long cliff. These caves started to build from the 5th century and are considered to have reached their peak in the 6th and 7th centuries and ended in the 8th and 10th centuries. Wall painting and decoration remains on the terrace of East Buddha, on the right side of the photo.

 

More like the Gondrani Caves than the Bamiyan Cave are the Foladi Caves in the Bamiyan valley.

 

Some people lived in the cave to take refuge during the recent war. There was also a cave with a black ceiling due to fire.

 

Unlike the Gondrani Caves, the Foladi Caves have beautiful ceiling decorations such as “Laternendecke”.
Above all, we hope that Gondrani (Bela) Cave city’s historical survey will be conducted soon. So that this uncharted place gets historically recognized throughout the world.

 

Photo: Mariko Sawada Text: Mariko SAWADA & Sarosh HADI
Visit: Nov 2018, Feb 2019 Cave city of Bela/Gondrani, Baluchistan :
Photographs of Bamiyan & Foladi Cave were taken from 2003-2012

Category : # Balochistan > ** Heritage site of Pakistan > - Ruin & Monument
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BALOCHISTAN – MUD VOLCANO EXPLORER

I visited Balochistan 3 times in last season.. and this is 3rd video clip I made about Mud Volcano of Hingol National park.

What we will see in next season…

Please contact to Saiyah team for explorer Balochistan!

 

Other Movie of Balochistan

True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan

Pakistan Bikers – Balochistan 

 

Videography & Text : Mariko SAWADA

Visit of Balochistan : Nov 2018, Feb & Mar 2019 with SAIYAH Team

Category : # Balochistan > ** Video clip of Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
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Hingol National Park – Mud Volcano World-3

A top view of the Chandragup Mud Volcano, Hingol National Park. This mud volcano has been recognized as a holy place by Hindus. In fact, a lot of Hindu pilgrimage visit this volcano. However, it was surprising to see rubbish lying around the mud volcano.

The current number of Hindus in Pakistan is said to be about 4 million, of which about 93% live in Sindh. There are few Hindus in Balochistan province, but during the pilgrimage season, the Chandragup Mud Volcano and Hindu temples in Hingol National Park are full of pilgrims.

Mud spout on top of the Chandragup mud volcano. The appearance of mud spouting occurs every 1-2 minutes when active, but sometimes it is completely absent.
Sometimes we can see “Offering” by Hindu pilgrimage on the surface of a mud volcano.

It was a bit cloudy during this day, but the sunlight spread on the other mud volcano was looking very gorgeous.

Sunset over the Chandragup Mud Volcano.

Photo: Mariko  **Some photos are taken by a drone
Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Special Thanks: Yoko Kadonaga for photography of spout on top of Chandragup Mud Volcano
Visit: Feb 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-2

“Chandragup Mud Volcano”, located on the coast of Balochistan with a distant view of the Arabian Sea. It is also a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site and a mud volcano that has been known for a long time.

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. It only erupts out mud along with methane gas.

The mud volcano in Balochistan was reported to exist in 1840, but the survey began to take place after the earthquake in 1945. At that time, the coast of Balochistan was severely damaged by an earthquake. During this period, the mud volcano also got activated.

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 two other mud volcanoes near Chandragup Mud Volcano. This mud volcano was slightly active in November 2018 but has been inactive since then.

An Inactive mud volcano, in the immediate vicinity of Chandragup Mud Volcano. This is an aerial shot which I took through drone, but it looks beautiful from the top of Chandragup Mud Volcano.

Exceptionally looking view of Chandragup Mud Volcano during sunset.

Photo: Mariko **all photography taken by a drone
Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Visit: Nov 2019, 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-1

Hingol National Park, located in the southern part of Balochistan. It is spread over a vast area of 6,100 square kilometers and is the largest National park in Pakistan. There are roads and villages inside the national park. For me, I feel it undistinguishable setting as a National park. However, the landscape covering the whole of the National park is astonishing and somewhat out of this earth.

We entered from the gate which leads to the sacred Nani Mandir Hindu temple. What a breathtaking view it is! The village is dotted and engraved in the inexplicable landscape created by the mud volcano.

Some people living beneath the superb view…The mysterious scenery shaped by the mud volcano spread throughout the frame.

Photo : Mariko  Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Visit: March 2019, Hingol National Park, Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Hingol National Park
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True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan video clip

True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan

This is my first video made for Balochistan.
Things I’ve seen … magnificent landscapes, lively creatures, and the lives of people portraying their wonderful culture and tradition.
Thanks to Mr. Yousaf, who arranged this amazing trip for me and also advised me about this great song by Akhtar Chanal.

Videography : Mariko Sawada

Visit of Balochistan : Nov 2019, with Saiyah team

Music Courtesy : Coke Studio, Akhtar Chanal

Category : # Balochistan > ** Video clip of Balochistan
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Pasni Dune – Balochistan

Saiyah team visited the Sand Dunes at Pasni, Balochistan – A hidden gem of Pakistan.

These reddish yellow sand dunes are located at the mere edge of the town. Of course, it is a small desert that cannot be compared with the two humongous deserts, the mighty Sahara Desert and the Empty Quarter (the Rub’ al Khali) desert. Altogether, it looks like a wonderful desert, depending on how you take the pictures and perspective.

Our staff member, Mr.Aziz from Shimshal village – the valley of Mountaineers far north of Pakistan – climbing up the sand dunes and making a full smile.

Saiyah’s staff member, Mr. Adnan with a baffled look on his face said, “It looks like I am in Morocco?”.

And our first ever Japanese group to Balochistan! They were escorted by the local Makrani people and the Baloch policemen. All in all, the group enjoyed the exquisiteness of the landscapes of Balochistan and the hospitality of the locals of the region.

Photo : MARIKO   Text : MARIKO & SAROSH

Visit : Feb2019, Pasni -Balochistan

Category : # Balochistan > - Pasni
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Grey Francolin -Balochistan

A Grey Francolin, which lives in the courtyard of a local guesthouse in Kund Malir. For a moment I was bewildered, when I heard a loud voice, she was just so close to me. It seems that this courtyard is the territory of this Grey Francolin couple, so no matter whether a person or a car is passing by, they do not care at all.

Grey Francolin lives in the dry flat area of the Indian subcontinent. It is a wild bird deprived of the place to live due to the land development.

In Haryana State of India, I went to observe Grey Francolin early in the morning. Particularly, at that time I thought Grey Francolin is a very shy bird who would not approach towards any human. Nonetheless, I was slightly surprised at how Grey Francolin is walking around the courtyard freely.

・・・Grey Francolin, rubbing her body on the ground. It was a very lovely moment to gaze at.

Photo : MARIKO   Text : MARIKO & SAROSH

Observation : Feb 2019, Kund Malir, Balochistan

Reference : Birds of Pakistan, Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Category : # Balochistan > ** Birds of Pakistan > - Grey Francolin > - Makran Coast
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Egyptian Vulture -Balochistan

Egyptian Vulture sighted at the Makran Coast in Balochistan, Pakistan.

Egyptian Vultures are broadly spread from the Iberian Peninsula across North Africa and India. In Pakistan, it breeds amid the summer season in the Balochistan province. They more often feed on carrion – rotting flesh of a dead animal – and sometimes prey on small birds and reptiles. These vultures were once a common bird in Pakistan, but its number has been decreased drastically due to the loss of habitat because of infrastructure development. Consequently, it has become very rare to sight Egyptian Vulture.

Upper wing of Egyptian Vulture; It is 60 cm to 70 cm in size, smaller compared to the other vultures. Not to mention, these magnificent creatures have their own distinct features. For instance, they have a small and pointed head with a bare yellowish face, dull white feathers, and black flight feathers.

Down wing of Egyptian Vulture. An Egyptian Vulture flying over the lively fishing village of the picturesque Makran coast, Balochistan, Pakistan.

Photo : MARIKO  Text: MARIKO & SAROSH

Observation : Feb2019, Makran Coast, Balochistan

Reference : Birds of Pakistan

Category : # Balochistan > ** Birds of Pakistan > - Egyptian Vulture > - Makran Coast
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