the capital of Balochistan, 1692 meters above sea level, lies
at the mouth of Bolan Pass. It has three large craggy mountains.
Chiltan, Zarghun and Koh-e-Murdar, that seem to brood upon this
pleasant town. there are other mountains that form a ring around
it. Their copper red and russet rocks and crests that are powdered
with snow in winters add immense charm to the town.
is an excellent base for further exploration of Balochistan.
Loralai, the almond bowl of the country, is 265 kms away. Besides,
there are numerous other valleys that are fascinating places
to be in for explorers.
can rightly be called the fruit basket of Pakistan. Plums, peaches,
pomegranates, apricots, apples, some unique varieties of melon
like "Garma" and cherries, pistachios and almonds
are all grown in abundance. Some pistachios also grow in Qila
grows very well on mountains around 5000 ft (1524 meters) high.
It is being cultivated on a commercial scale here. The yellow
and red varieties of tulip grow wild around Quetta.
The inhabitants are mainly Pathan, Baluch and Brahui.
You can also find Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkamen rubbing shoulders
with the other inhabitants. Nomadic tribesmen pass through Quetta
Valley during spring and autumn with their herds of sheep and
camels and their assorted wares for sale. This seasonal movement
adds color to the life of the city.
rugged terrain has made the people of the area hardy and resilient.
They are known for their friendly and hospitable nature. To
make a visitor comfortable is part of their tradition, like
the rest of the people of Pakistan.
The name Quetta is derived from the word "Kuwatta"
which means a fort and, no doubt, it is a natural fort surrounded
as it is by imposing hills on all sides. The encircling hills
have the resounding names of Chiltan, Takatoo, Mordar and Zarghun.
main thoroughfare and the commercial Center of Quetta is Jinnah
road. It is a long boulevard lined with trees. Many important
buildings like the Governor's House, Post and Telecommunication
Offices are located along Jinnah Road.
Prominent bazaars of Quetta are located on Shahrah-e-Iqbal
(Kandahari Bazaar) and Shahrah-e-Liaqat (Liaqat Bazaar and Suraj
Gang Bazaar). Here you can find colorful handicrafts, particularly
Balochi mirror work embroidery which is admired all over the
world, carpets, with their pleasing and intricate designs, fur
coats, jackets, waist-coats, sandals and other creations of
traditional Balochi skills.
In the old bazaars one comes across quaint old tea-shops. These
are the local "clubs". There are also many popular
eating houses offering different types of delicacies. Among
the delicacies you must try "Sajji" (Leg of lamb),
which is roasted to a delightful degree of tenderness and is
not very spicy. The tribesmen of the valley also enjoy "Landhi"
(whole lamb), which is dried in shade and kept for the winters.
"Kabab" shops are very popular.
of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta.
It has a delicious smell which can be sampled in the "Pulao"
that most of the restaurants offer.
The archaeological Museum at Fifa road has a collection
of rare antique guns, swords and manuscripts. Geological Survey
Department on Sariab road (6 kms) has a collection of rocks
and fossils. Only six kms from the city is the campus of the
university of Balochistan.
Askari Park at the airport road offers amusement and
CHILTAN NATIONAL PARK:
In the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 kms south-west
of Quetta, Markhors have been given protection. The park is
spread over 32500 acres, altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264
Hazarganji literally means "Of a thousand treasures".
In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, there are over
a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great
armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scything,
Mongols and then the great migrating hordes of Baluch, all passed
Markhor of which there are five distinct kinds, is the national
animal of Pakistan. The kind that is photographed the most often
is the Chiltan Markhor which, because of its long horns looks
very conspicuous. Ever since the markhor has been given protection
its number has multiplied.
Other animals in the park are straight horned markhors, "Gad"
wild sheep) and leopards which occasionally migrate to the park
from other areas, wolves, striped hyena, hares, wild cats and
Many birds like partridge, warblers, shikras, blue rock pigeon,
rock nuthatch, red gilled choughs, golden eagle, sparrow, hawlks,
falcons and bearded vultures are either found here or visit
the park in different seasons.
Reptiles like monitor and other wild lizards, eckos, Afghan
tortoise, python, cobra, horned viper and Levantine may also
be seen in the park.
EXCURSIONS FROM QUETTA
Karkhasa is a recreation Park situated at distance of 10 kms
to the west of Quetta. It is a 16 kms long narrow valley having
a variety of flora like Ephedrine, Artimisia and Sophora.
The Urak valley is 21 kms from Quetta City. The road is lined
on either side with wild roses and fruit orchards. Peaches,
plums, apricot and apples of many varieties are grown in this
The waterfall at the end of the Urak valley, which is full of
apple and apricot orchards, makes an interesting picnic spot.
A little short of the place where the Urak valley begins and
10 kms from Quetta is the Hanna Lake, where benches and pavilions
on terraces have been provided. Golden fish in the lake comes
swimming right up to the edge of the lake. A little distance
away, the waters f the lake take on a greenish blue tint. Right
where the water ends, pine trees have been planted on the grass
The greenish-blue waters of the lake provide a rich contrast
to the sandy brown of the hills in the background. One can promenade
on the terraces. Wagon service operates form city bus station
at Circular road.
Some 50kms from Quetta is the valley of Pishin with its numerous
fruit orchards, which are irrigated by "Karaz", a
kind of artificial spring made by boring holes into rocks to
bring to the surface the subterranean water. Sixteen kms from
Pishin is the man-made lake Bund Khushdil Khan. Its cool gentle
waters attract many visitors for duck shooting in early winter.
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-wheal-drive
vehicle to reach the spot from the main road.