Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Lake Which Fascinates Fairies - Lake Saif-ul-Muluk - Kaghan Valley

Lake Saif-ul-Muluk is undoubtedly one of the most scenic lakes of the World. Located at about 30 minute distance from Naran in Kaghan Valley, it is a crystal clear bowl of green water at a height of approximately 10,578 Feet above mean sea level.
It is strikingly beautiful and captures the eyes of the tourists. The effect seems to be magical in every sense of the word.
How to get to Lake Saif-ul-Muluk?
From Balakot, you have to travel North towards the small town of Naran, which in fact is one of the largest towns in Kaghan Valley and the main tourist stop during your trip to Kaghan Valley. Naran is about 90 kms from Balakot or 2.5 hours of drive on car.
After crossing (or in literary terms - Climbing, because the bazaar is all up-hill) Naran Bazaar, you will find a bridge over a narrow stream of water. This water in coming from Lake Saif-ul-Muluk, and the track moving along the stream will guide you to the lake itself.
Although you can reach Naran on your personal car, but trip from naran to Lake Saif-ul-Muluk must not be attempted on it. It is highly recommended that a 4x4 Jeep should hired from Naran till the lake, which is hardly a 35-45 minute journey. The track is small and bumpy and a trained driver will take you up without much hassle. You can hire a jeep from Naran Bazaar or the bridge at the end of the bazaar.
A sunset at Lake Saif-ul-Muluk is an unforgettable experience and if you are fond of camping, then Lake Saif-ul-Muluk is one place you will never like to miss. The only guest room available on the lake-side belongs to the Forest Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province and you can get it booked from their office in Peshawar, if you are so keen at spending a night there.
There are many famous stories about Lake Saif-ul-Muluk and one of them narrates that fairies come to take bath in this lake during the full-moon nights. I can not comment on the authenticity of these stories, but you will have to spend a night there to find out for yourself - How true are these stories?
Lake Saif-ul-Muluk is an unmissable tourist attraction in Kaghan Valley and any tourist travelling in the valley can not even think of missing it.
I have the honor of watching this lake in different times of the year, starting from March to December and the lake has different colors in every month, yet every color is more beautiful than the others. I have seen it frozen in early March as well.
Have you visited Lake Saif-ul-Muluk and how did you find it? Feel free to share your experience below in Comments Section!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pakistan's Best Heritage Site: Lahore Fort

One of my all-time favorite UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in Pakistan is Lahore Fort. I absolutely adore the grandeur and splendor of Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort.
Lately during one of my recent visits to Lahore, I stole a few minutes while travelling on GT Road to capture some images of Lahore Fort, that I promised to send to a friend abroad. Since I did not have much time at hand, so while I was entering Lahore on a family trip, I just parked my car in the parking lot, brought ice cream for kids and went inside to take the photos.
It was a long time since I visited this place but I found it as magical and attractive as ever before.
Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque face each other and offer a great heritage tour, if someone plans to visit there. Where else can you find so many historical places in near vicinity to each other?
Although "Lahore Fort & Shalamar Gardens" is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Danger, but still Lahore Fort is a huge fort with a lot of historical buildings, monuments and gardens. Badshahi Mosque has a magnificent museum depicting various items of Muslim history. Between these two mammoth structures lies the Bara-Dari (Building with 12 doors), that you can see in the above picture as well.
Minar-e-Pakistan (Minaret of Pakistan) is also located across the road, which is a modern architecture building. It was constructed to commemorate the passage of Pakistan Resolution on 23 March 1940.
I will get some more photos to share with you as soon as I visit the place again - which I am anxiously waiting as well.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore - A Symbol of Pakistan's Sovereignty

"Minar-e-Pakistan" or the "Minaret of Pakistan" is a monument built to remember the passing of a resolution to demand a separate country for Muslims of India by All-India Muslim League at this ground on 23 March 1940. This was the first official declaration to establish a separate homeland for the Muslims living in the South Asia. Pakistan now celebrates this day as a national holiday each year.

The minaret reflects a blend of Mughal and modern architecture and attracts visitors from all over the World. The large public space around the monument is commonly used for political and public meetings, whereas Iqbal Park area is popular for kite-flying as well.
Design.   The foundation stone was laid on March 23, 1960. The construction took eight years and was completed in 1968. Today, the minaret provides a panoramic view to visitors who can climb up the stairs or through an elevator. The parks around the monument include marble fountains and an artificial lake.

Structure.   The base is about 8 meters above the ground. The tower rises about 60 meters on the base, thus the total height of minaret is about 72 meters above the ground. The unfolding petals of the flower-like base are 9 meters high. The diameter of the tower is about 97.5 meters (320 feet). The base platform is shaped like a five-pointed star and encloses two crescent shaped pools. There is a central spiral staircase rising up with 162 steps. The top-dome of the minaret is made of Stainless steel inlaid with fine glass pieces.
The structure is made of reinforced concrete, stones, and marble. The rostrum is built of patterned tiles, and faces the Badshahi Mosque. The base comprises four platforms. To symbolise humble beginnings of the freedom struggle, first platform is built with uncut Taxila stones, second platform is made of hammer-dressed stones, whereas third platform is of chiselled stones. Polished white marble at the fourth and final platform depicts the success of the Pakistan Movement.
Inscriptions.   At the base, there are floral inscriptions on ten converging white marble Commemorative plaques. The incriptions include the text of Lahore Resolution in Urdu, Bengali and English, and Delhi Resolution’s text, which was passed on April 9, 1946. On different plaques, Quranic verses and 99 attributes of God are inscribed in Arabic calligraphy, whereas National Anthem of Pakistan in Urdu and Bengali, excerpts from the speeches of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in Urdu, Bengali and English, as well as few couplets of Allama Iqbal are inscribed.
Minar-e-Pakistan has also been featured on numerous bank notes and coins of the country.
Would you like to visit Minar-e-Pakistan? What are your views for this majestic structure? 

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