Doodh Patti

Travel, Food and and Khaalis Doodh Patti Mind {and Lahore}


The Northern Areas of Pakistan are called Bam-i-Dunya. As graphic in names they are foreboding in majesty, the Himalaya translate as "the abode of the snows", The Karakoram, the "black gravel mountains", and the Hindu Kush, "the Paariyaatra Parvat". Adventurous trekkers from all over the world congregate here to trek for pleasure and to test their personal endurance.The word trek has a history and different meanings. Walking in jungle or even along the road is also a trekking of its kind. For the purpose of this article, let us assume that trekking means walking up the mountains. Depending on the altitude, treks fall in various categories from easy to hard. Any trekker who knows it dreams to tread on unique mountain mass in Pakistan. In addition, some mountaineers also come here to train and acclimatize for more serious climbs, rock repelling and other forms of mountain exploration. Here is why.

Nowhere in the world is such a great concentration of high mountains, peaks, glaciers, lakes and passes except in Pakistan. Of the 14 over 8,000 meters high peaks on our earth planet, four occupy an amphitheatre at the head of Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram Range: K-2 (8,611 meters, originally called Chogo-ri which in Balti language means 'king of the mountains,' of all the world's mountains second only to Mount Everest), Gasherbrum-I (8,068 meters), Broad Peak (8,047 meters) and Gasherbrum-II (8,035 meters). There is yet another, which is equally great, Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters), located at the western most corner of the Himalayas. In addition to that, there are 68 peaks over 7,000 meters and hundreds others over 6,000 meters. The Northern Pakistan is also home to some of the longest glaciers outside Polar region; Siachen (72 kilometers), Hispar (61 kilometers), Biafo (60 kilometers), Baltoro (60 kilometers) and Batura (64 kilometers). Two more ranges, by unique comparison minor in size, thrust their sinews and limbs into the Pamir Knot: the Pir Panjal with its peaks of just over 20,000 feet, and China's celestial mountain, the Kun Lun. Where these ranges merge, they form what many regard as the most impressive landscape that sometime recalls Shangri-La. This concentration makes northern Pakistan a trekkers' paradise.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:01 PM, , links to this post

Friendship under a Peepal tree

The peoples of Pakistan and India (residing along both the sides of the Sialkot) have unanimously declared more than one century old Peepal Tree as a “Friendship Tree”. This tree is located at the Zero Point in Sucheetgarh-Sialkot, here. The half of this tree is in India and half in Pakistan.

This ancient tree was still providing the shadows to divided people of both the sides, as the divided families from both sides often gathered there at the Zero Point near Sucheetgarh-Sialkot Sector with the high hopes of durable peace between the two nuclear neighbours Pakistan and India. On every Sunday, the peoples of Pakistan and India are usually gathered under the shadows of this friendship tree at Zero Point and express their sentiments regarding friendship and peace between the two countries. They also exchange gifts and sweets amongst them.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:07 AM, , links to this post

Polly and Me

The embroidery effect Social enterprises use market-based models and strategies for a social purpose by working with skilled craftsmen, artisans, farmers and so on at the grassroots level. Currently in Pakistan, there are a handful of organisations that can be correctly labeled as a social enterprise and Polly & Me is one of them. Founded in 2003 by two sisters, Cath and Ange Braid, Polly & Me has introduced the handicraft and traditional embroidery skills of Chitrali women to the international market.

Cath, who has studied art and design from London, first visited Chitral in December 2000 to work on her final year’s thesis. It was then she came to know and fall in love with Pakistan. Along with her sister Ange, she founded Polly & Me in 2007. After living in Chitral for a few years, Cath is now settled in Islamabad and makes regular trips to check on the progress of the womens embroidery collective.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:28 PM, , links to this post

Foreign Food

Staple foods eaten in the north are corn, millet, and peanuts. In the south, people eat more root vegetables, such as yams and cassava, as well as plantains (similar to bananas). In both north and south regions, the starchy foods are cooked, then pounded with a pestle (a hand-held tool, usually wooden) until they form a sticky mass called fufu (or foofoo), which is then formed into balls and dipped into tasty sauces. The sauces are made of ingredients such as cassava leaves, okra, and tomatoes. The food most typical in the southern region of Cameroon is ndole , which is made of boiled, shredded bitterleaf (a type of green), peanuts, and melon seeds. It is seasoned with spices and hot oil, and can be cooked with fish or meat. Bobolo , made of fermented cassava shaped in a loaf, is popular in both the south and central regions.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:59 PM, , links to this post

Pacco Qillo

Jalal Hameed Bhatti

Pacco Qillo - Days of glory (left) - days of decay and encroachment (right)

A sketch of the Pacco Qillo (c. 1845) drawn by Lieutenant Edwards during the British occupation of the city shows the majestic days of the fort when it was mostly intact and in a good state of maintenance (above top and two recent photos at the bottom taken by me from the train).

Pacco Qillo or the strong fort is a centuries old landmark of the present day Hyderabad city in the Sind province of Pakistan. I had only heard of the place in history books but never saw it till some years before when I happened to have gone to Karachi by train. And there it was vividly visible from the train window, the sadly dilapidated Pacco Qillo, badly encroached, and in poor state of maintenance.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3:17 PM, , links to this post

Alexander's Aornos?

Gohar Ayub Khan

Despite worldwide acceptance of Pir Sar as Aornos, accounts of later travellers call for further exploration

Alexander divided his army in two before entering India. The main bulk of the army he placed under the command of his generals Perdiccas and Hephastion, which came down following the river Kabul, captured the capital Peuceloatis (Charsada). Went on to Hund to build a bridge over the Indus and await the arrival of Alexander. He entered India in early 326 BC.

A smaller portion of the army he led himself with generals Perdiccus and Hephaestion, followed the river Kunar and turned east to enter Dir, Swat, Buner and then joined the Macedonian army on the Indus at Hund.

Arrian of Nicomedia writing nearly 500 years after Alexander describes Aornos thus, this is a mighty mass of rock in that part of the country, and even Herakles, the son of Zeus, had found it to be impregnable.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:39 PM, , links to this post

Around Abbottabad

Located north of Islamabad, Abbottabad is a town surrounded by lofty peaks and pine scented air. Among Pakistan's towns and cities, Abbottabad –- small, neat and clean in spacious valley -- is a rarity. Apart from being famous for its educational institutions and Pakistan Military Academy, Abbottabad also serves as the gateway to some most stunning sites in Pakistan. While other hill stations are deserted during winter this place has visitors due to its bracing weather all year around. The town has beautiful gardens and tall tree lined roads: splendid stretches of turf with plenty of room for polo, football, hockey and golf.

At 1,250 meters above sea level, Abbottabad lies below the lush pines of the Murree Hills. The importance of the town has been diminished a little after the completion of Karakorum Highways because, in the past, the only track available to reach Karakorum was through Babusar Pass, which in it turn could only be approached through Abbottabad. In spite of this development, it continues to be a transit town for those who want to venture to Northern Areas of Pakistan. Abbottabad is the junction point from where one can go to places like Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan of the Karakorum Range. One can also reach from here to Swat, Dir and Chitral of the Hindukush Range or can approach to Naran, Lake Saif-ul-Muluk, Shogran and Babusar Pass of the Himalayan Range. Neelum, Lipa and Jhelum Valleys are also connected through Abbottabad. It is where the hills start.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4:30 PM, , links to this post

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4:19 PM, , links to this post

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:11 PM, , links to this post

Books by Salman Rashid

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications, ISBN 9693501918 (969-35-0191-8)

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications, ISBN 9693517342 (969-35-1734-2)

Prisoner on a Bus: Travels through Pakistan
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications, ISBN 9693515250 (969-35-1525-0)

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications, ISBN 969351257X (969-35-1257-X)

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications

Te Apricot Road to Yarkand
Hardcover, Sang-e-Meel Publications

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:39 PM, , links to this post

Lahore Ke Panchi

There were times when Lahories used to have parties with squirrels and birds. No more. Read what Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi writes about birds have taken flight.

Not a very long time ago, the city of Lahore woke up to birdsong and chirping. These sounds, however, are being silenced by unchecked and unsustainable development and human settlement. So much so that now, as compared to the 240 bird species that were recorded in Lahore in a study conducted in 1965, only 101 bird species were recorded during a study conducted in 1992. Ornithologists estimate there are currently only 85 bird species left in Lahore, including resident and migrant species.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:18 AM, , links to this post

The Lahore Fort

The Lahore Fort, locally known as Shahi Qila, is located in the northwestern corner of Lahore's Walled City. The majestic edifice is the result of many centuries' work. According to the Pakistani historian Wali Ullah Khan, the earliest reference to the Fort comes in the history of Lahur (Lahore) compiled by Al-Biruni, which refers to a fort constructed in the early 11th century. Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandar, author of the Khulasa-tut-Tawarikh records that Malik Ayaz, a lieutenant of Sultan Mahmud, built a masonry fort at Lahore and inhabited the city. It is generally believed that present Lahore Fort is the same fort, which was damaged by the Mongols in 1241 and again in 1398 by a detachment of Timur's army, then rebuilt in 1421 by Sayyid, son of Khizr Khan.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:00 AM, , links to this post

Absolute garbage

A new hotel has opened in the heart of Madrid proudly declaring that it's complete rubbish. More of a wooden shack than a five-star establishment, the walls of the Beach Garbage Hotel are strewn with detritus dragged up by the tide, recovered from landfills or snapped up at flea markets.Among the wall decorations: Plastic drums, wooden frames, musical instruments, striped socks, tyres, and children's books.

In the five rooms there are street lights, wobbly sideboards, and torn Persian rugs, ready to welcome the lucky winners of a Facebook competition whose prize was a free stay. Out front, there is a small patch of sand and palm trees.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:59 AM, , links to this post

Your cup of tea

Pakistan is one of the best travel destinations in the world – desert expanses in Thar and Cholistan, Lush green plains in Punjab, mighty mountains in Northern Pakistan, Chitral and Swat, so many unexplored and just to yourself places, what else. Start of some of the world history can still be traced down to Pakistan – Indus Civilization. Moreover, Pakistan being one of the cheapest countries in the world is best for budget travelers. Which is why it is said that Pakistan has a lot to offer to every one; not only to travelers, hard core adventurers, mountaineers, and rural tourists, vacationers but also to anthropologists, archeologists, and researchers? (Also for those who want to sit back and enjoy the ride from the comfort of home). Read about my travel experiences at Doodh Patti - My Cup of Tea.

Follow Dooh Patti at Facebook.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:53 AM, , links to this post

Meet Birds

From the cold lakes of the Himalayas to the sand dunes of western Rajasthan to the tropical rain forests in the south, India hosts a dizzying variety of birds, like a dizzying variety of everything else.

A guest searches the skies for birds at Chhatra Sagar, a luxury camp on the banks of a dam in parched western Rajasthan, in northern India. The dam's reservoir attracts water birds, including terns, cormorants and ducks, as well as mammals like antelope and jackals.

See beautiful images of the birds at NY Times

Related: Guest birds in Pakistan

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:46 PM, , links to this post

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