Quetta lies at the altitude of 1,675 meters. It is a small city of about 1 Million people. It is one of the few planned cities of Pakistan. The pleasantly tree-lined streets of Quetta are all rebuilt after the earthquake of 1935, The city offers little historical interest Except the Museum at Toghi Road which houses the artifacts from Mahargarh 9000 years old village culture of Pakistan, though the food and goods on sale in the bazaars give it a certain Central Asian feel and a reason to see it. Afghan refugees have brought with them fresh crafts like the distinctive Hazara rugs, to add to such traditional items as Balouch mirror work, wooden crafts from Sind & Punjab and many other merchandise from Iran & Afghanistan.
In the cantonment north of the city is Staff College , there is a small military museum in a bungalow once occupied by Field- Marshal Montgomery when he was an instructor at the Quetta Staff College, it is the academy which trains Pakistan's military elite . The same route out of town leads after 11 kilometers to a Hanna Lake, which is a scenic lake with beautiful picnic spots around it. If you continue 22 kilometers on the same road there are the orchards of Urak Tangi. An other great spot to have a relaxed picnic under the apples & pomegranates orchids.
City tour Hanna Lake & Urak Tangi
Visit the Bazaars of Quetta , The Museum and later drive to Hanna lake and Urak valley.
Drive to the Juniper valley of Ziarat. Junipers of Ziarat are the longest living plants in the world some of them can be 1000 years of age. There are many view points to the the valley and each one presents a great spectacular view. The quid residency is located on the right of the main downtown. This was the last residence of Founder of Pakistan Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah. There is a nice PTDC motel in Ziarat.
Pass & Qadam Mobarak (Feet) Of Hazarat Ali.
Drive to the highest point of Bolan pass to see this spectacular rugged valley of the pass. You will see many nomades travelling along the pass with their camels and herds of goat. On the way back stop at the foot marks of Hazarat Ali ( Husband of the daughter of Prophet Mohammed) who is believed to have come here and prayed at the place.
Quetta, derived from Kuatta, means fort in the Pashto language. The city is a natural fort, surrounded by imposing hills on all sides. The hills are called Chiltan, Takatu, and Mehrdar (so called because of its beauty, but now known as Murdar), and Zarghun.
It is not known when Quetta was first inhabited, but most likely it was settled during the 6th century. The region remained part of the Sassanid Persian Empire and was later annexed by the Rashidun Caliphate during the 7th century Islamic conquest. It remained part of the Umayyad and Abassid Empires. However the first detailed account of Quetta was in the 11th century when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni on one of his invasions of the subcontinent. In 1543 the Mughal emperor Humayun rested here on his retreat to Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar until he returned two years later. The Mughals ruled Quetta until 1556, when the Persians took it, only to be retaken by Akbar in 1595. The powerful Khans of Kalat held the fort from 1730. In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by 300 mud houses. Although occupied briefly by the British during the First Afghan War in 1839, it was not until 1876 that Quetta came under permanent British control and Robert Groves Sandeman was made political agent in Balochistan. Since Partition the Population of Quetta has increased dramatically. Because of its military base and trading activities, and the introduction of commercial fruit farming, Quetta District can now support half a million people. Quetta, before the great earthquake of 31 May 1935 was a bright and bustling city, having multi-storied buildings. It was almost completely destroyed in this great earthquake and was razed to the ground in the small hours of the morning of that fateful day, when about 40,000 souls perished within the twinkling of an eye. Then came the Kasi Tribe who had all the powers of Lands in Quetta. After the great calamity that overtook Quetta, houses are generally single storeyed and quake proof. These houses are built with bricks and reinforced concrete. The structure is generally of lighter material. Incidentally, the bricks of Quetta have a yellowish tinge unlike the red variety of Sindh and the Punjab.
A little short of the place where the Urak valley begins and ten kms from Quetta is the Hinna Lake. The greenish- blue water of the lake provides a rich contrast to the sandy brown of the hills in the back ground.
The Urak valley is 21 km from Quetta city. The road is lying on both sides with wild roses and fruit orchards. Peaches, palms, apricots and apples of many varieties are grown in this valley.
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 km south-west of Quetta, rare animals like' Markhors' have been declared a protected species. The park is spread over 38,429 acres with altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264 meters.
It has a variety of wildlife specially Markhor of which there are five distinct kinds. The kind that is encountered most often is the Chiltan Markhor. The other animals include straight-horned Markhor, 'gad' (wild sheep) and leopards which occasionally migrate to the park from other areas, wolves stripped hyaena, hares, wild cats and porcupines
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park:
In the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 kilometers South-West of Quetta, Maarkhors have been given protection. The park is spread over 32,500 acres, altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264 meters. Hazarganji literally means "of a thousand treasures". In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, that, there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Mongols and then the great migrating hordes of Baloch all passed this way.
At a distance of 70 kms from Quetta on Sibi Road is situated a popular picnic spot known as Pir Ghaib. Here a waterfall cascades down rocky mountain side making its way through many streams and ponds among the shady palm trees. You need a 4-wheeled transport to reach the spot from the main road.
If you have a passion for smelling history through places, you must visit the Bolan Pass, where several armies from Central Asia and north intruded into the lands of un-divided India through centuries. The picturesque hilly road welcomes you with cool breeze.
While cruising through the hilly tract between Quetta and Kalat, you would come to see the route to Zahidan, Iran. Koh-e-Taftan and Saindak copper mines are en-route.
The entire population of Kharwari Baba and for that matter of the entire Ziarat, migrates to Harnai in extreme winter. Harnai Pass, about hours drive from Loralai, is just as spectacular as the Khyber Pass near Peshawar.
Mehergarh- the newest discovery of ancient civilization:
During recent decades, a lot has been done to explore the culture and civilization of ancient people. The most distinguishing one is Mehergarh, which experts say remained the centre of high development some 9,900 years ago. Researchers claim that this was a civilized society of 7000 B.C that is even older than Moenjodaro and Harappa.
Driving through wild roses and fruit orchards, you may reach the Urak Valley at a distance of 21 km. The abundance of delicious fruits makes it a real fruit land or SAMARISTAN.
Filled with numerous fruit orchards, the Pishin Valley is 50
km away from Quetta. These orchards are irrigated by ‘karez’.
There is yet another attraction of cool waters, i.e. man-made lake with
Bund Khushdil Khan. A wide range of ducks provides enticing beauty during
winters. The festivities include a colorful programme of folk dancing
by thousands of participants from different regions. Horse jumping, trick
horse riding, trick motor cycle riding, dare-devil motor car driving and
a dog & hare race are among the highlights of the festival. The principal
attraction of the show, however, remains the impressive display of the
best available specimens of Pakistani livestock. As the sun sets over
the impressive Fortress Stadium, the venue of the show, fireworks display,
military tattoos and brass band pageants enliven the evenings and enthrall