Quetta, the fruit garden of Pakistan and the capital of Baluchistan is the legendary stronghold of the western frontier. It sits at 1,680 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level. Quetta is one of the most important military stations of the country, occupying a vital and strategic position on account of the fact that the boundaries of Iran and Afghanistan meet here, and the Bolan Pass lies on important lines of communications. It is connected by rail with Lahore, (727 miles) away, with Peshawar (986 miles), and Karachi (536 miles). A new road connects it with Karachi through Khuzdar, Makran and Las Bela. It is also connected with Zahidan (Duzdab), Iran, by railway. Quetta tribesman are strong and silent in their bearing, they are known for their friendliness and hospitality. To make a visitor comfortable is part of their tradition.



About 50 km, from Quetta is the valley of Pishin, which is surrounded by thousands of acres of vineyards and orchads, made by boring holes into rocks to bring to the surface the deep water. The rich harvest of apples, grapes, plums, peaches and apricots is loaded at Yaru railway station, seven miles from Pishin.


It nestles in the hills ten kilometres (six miles) east of Quetta, a startling turquoise pool within bare brown surroundings. There is a lakeside restaurant with picnic tables shaded by pine trees. At one end, the irrigation dam rises out of the depths like battlements of a fort. It is very attractive for holiday makers, are crowded with hikers and campers in holidays. You can hire a boat and paddle on the lake and round the island in the middle.


To the left of the Hanna Lake for two kilometres (one mile) away, and right for the eight-kilometre (five-mile), there is another picnic spot- the environs of Urak Tandi Valley, which is known as the fruit garden of Quetta which is full of orchards in April. Cherry, apricot, apple and peach trees form a tunnel of blossom over the road. Urak, at the top end of the valley, is a village of square, mud houses roofed with roots and mud laid across wooden beams. The village is surrounded on three sides by the Zarghun range of hills. A stream rushes down from Urak Tangi, a narrow gorge in the hills; a short walk will take you up onto the lower slopes where partridge call among the rocks and you can look down on the whole valley. In the little water mill beside the stream two round stones grind wheat into flour.


After 16 km from Pishin is the man made lake Bund Khsdil Khan. Its cool gently rippling water attract many visitors for duck shooting in early winters.


The main bazaar on Jinnah Road is full of Pathan traders wearing huge turbans, Baluchi hawkers with red embroidered caps, and full-skirted nomad women carrying bundles of imported cloth for sale. It is always crowded and colourful. Baluchi mirror-work embroidery, jackets, fur coats, sandals, Afghan carpets onyx, semiprecious stones, dried fruit and nuts are the best buys in the bazaar. The Kandahari Bazaar on Iqbal Road, which crosses Jinnah Road at right angles, and the Liaquat Bazaar on Liauqat Road, are also good hunting grounds for Baluchi souvenirs.






Junction Mafiking Road,


Darbar Hotel,

Thana Road,


Imdad Hotel,

Jinnah Road,



Tahir Khan Road, Liaquat Bazar,



Jinnah Road,



Shahrah-e-Zarghun (Lytton Road),


Gul's Inn,

Ali Bhoy Road,near Jinnah Road,



Prince road in Quetta

822720, 824736


Querry Road,




The Bolan Pass, dark grim rocks bring home even more vividly than the more famous Khyber the natural obstacles to be faced by any army seeking to cross the mountains of Pakistan's western frontier. The steepness of the Pass is best appreciated on the return rail journey with its alarming sequence of slip lines built to catch runaway trains.


Sibi is 163 km from Quetta, particularly famous for Horse and Cattle Show, the national festival, held in February from April every year. Thousands of the best camels, horses and cattle in the country are brought to the show and tended by Pakistan' most colourful tribal people. Since the 15th century Sibi has been a meeting place for tribal chiefs, and since the 17th century the annual durbar (meeting) has been combined with a mela (Agricultural fair). Sibi is a town with distinction and great historical importance. It used to be the seat of a number of rulers of area in the olden times. Sibi is a very ancient town. According to local tradition, it derives its name from Sewi, a Hindu Princess of Sewa race, who ruled over the area for a long time before the advent of Islam. The present town of Sibi was built after the 2nd British invasion of 1878. In the days of British rule, Sibi was known as Sandemanabad. It was named after the name of Captain Sir Robert Sandeman under whose command British troops were sent to repel the internal feuds and external aggressions. Sibi has figured prominently in the annals of history due to its position lying on the mouth of Bolan Mula and Harnai Passes. The towering and intervening hills kept it cut off from the rest of Baluchistan and it appeared to have followed the fortunes of Multan and Karachi instead of Khorasan in the north. The area between Bolan Pass and Derajat is marked in the olden maps as Sewistan.
According to the local traditions the area was ruled at that time by Hindus known as Sewas. These Sewas are stated to be connected with the Rai dynasty of Sindh. In the history of Alexanders invasions of India, the name of Sibi or Sibia tribe is mentioned. Prior to the advent of the Muslim rule in the area in the seventh century, Sibi seems to have formed part of extensive Hindu Kingdom on the Indus with their capital in Alor.

The first Muslim invasion is said to have been made under Mohammad Bin Qasim, an Arab general of Caliph Walid who took over the place during the reign of Dahir. Sibi formed part of Ghaznavid Empire under in the beginning of eleventh century. It was one of the seven Kingdoms of Sindh during the time of Nasiruddin Kabacha.

Balochs and Pathans are the two main races which have lived in this historic town for centuries. Among the Balochs are the tribes of Rind, Jamalis, Khosas, Golas, Umranis and Khiloanis while among the Pathan tribes are Kakars, Pannis, Tarins, Sanatia, Spin Tarins, Tor Tarins, Khetrans, Zarkhuns and Bolhari, Syed, Tarans, Chishtis and Ahmaduzai Syeds.

The most important buildings, constructed during the British period, are the Residency, the Victoria Memorial Hall, which is presently known as the Jirga Hall built by public subscription in 1303, government offices and residential quarters for officials, including those of railways, municipal buildings and dispensary. Barness School for boys and Girls School, Gaisford Library, Ladies Hospital and Victoria Sarai, constructed by Sardar Sohbat Khan Gola, and is known presently after his name and two masjids and two dharamshala.

The 15th century Chakkar Fort, built by the legendary Mir Chakar Khan Rind. It is on the road to Sibi Airport. Crumbling mud walls with round bastions enclose the inner fort, which contains two beehive-shaped stores for food and ammunition.


No trip to Quetta is complete without a visit to the mountain resort of Ziarat. This beautiful town is 122 kilometres (7miles) away to the northeast of Quetta. At 2,460 metres (8,200 feet), above the sea level, Ziarat is a holiday resort amidst one of the Largest and oldest juniper forest in the world. It is said that some of the juniper are as old as 5000 years. Juniper berries are used for flavouring and oil is extracted.Apart from the Juniper, the valley has an abundant growth of medicinal herbs such ephedra, artimesia, mint etc. The climate is generally dry. It is severely cold during the winter and peasantly cool in summer.

There is snow between the months of December to April. It was developed by the British as a summer retreat. Ziarat offers colonial-style accommodation and pleasant walks through the surrounding juniper forest. Ziarat has retained the air of a peaceful British hill station.

Quaid-e-Azam's residency with its lush green lawns, chinar trees and flower garden commands a striking view of the whole valley. It is a two storey building with a modern super structure and some of the loveliest lawn in the country. It is of historical importance, as the Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, stayed here during his last illness. The furniture used by the Father of the Nation is Are laying at their original palces. The Residency is to be converted into a National Museum.


Barren hills of multi-coloured rocks hide one of the most beautiful and spectacular valleys of Pakistan. Situated some 60 miles north-cast of Quetta, Zhob Valley is not much known despite its beauty and the ancient culture that once flourished here.

The original name of the town was Apazai. During the British period it was named Fort Sandeman after Sir Robert Sandeman. It has now been renamed as Zhob.

This 200 miles long and, on an average 15 miles wide Valley, is probably natures biggest gift to Pakistan. Starting at Kan Mehtarzai, which is 7,500 feet above sea level, 60 miles from Quetta, Zhob Valley continues through Muslim Bagh, Qilla Saifullah and Fort Sandeman to Afghanistan border.

Being not less than 4,500 feet above sea level at any point and surrounded by hills which are over 10,000 feet high, this Valley to boasts of scenery of the loveliest spots, unspoiled by human hands. One can enjoy a snowfall or a very bracing winter, or a cool summer in this Valley. The Valley abounds in fruits: the nicest peaches, apples, grapes, apricots, pomegranates, plums, almonds and walnuts.

For wild flower collectors, the Zhob Valley is a paradise. Wild lovely flowers bloom from February to May, especially lavender, tulips, hyacinths, poppies, iris, ephedra and others.

The resemblance of the Zhob Valley pottery with that discovered at various cities in the Indus Valley also suggest links with these cultures. Also, the grey-ware, bowls found in the Zhob Valley sites are similar to a group of early pottery from sites in the Fars province of Iran.

The climate of Zhob Valley is very healthy. Winter is a bit long and severe but spring and autumn are beautiful. In some winters, Kan Mehlariai and Muslim Bagh experience several feet of snow, though normal temperature is about 19-50 'F. But in summer the maximum temperature shoots to about 100 'F but due to very dry climate it is not uncomfortable and evenings are invariably cool. Scorpions are abundant here. The best months to visit this area are February to March when one can see snow and spring together, April when wild flowers bloom and August to October when there is an abundance of fruits and the weather is pleasant.

Some people still lead a nomadic life and are on the road for the greater part of the year.

The migration to the plains start from October and some caravans go as far as Multan or Hyderabad with sheep, camels and donkeys. It is common to see small babies and newly bom lambs tied together in nets on camel backs. These caravans return to their native land in March or early April.

Due to extremely severe winter, food has to be stocked and the common practice is to slaughter a few, specially fattened sheep and dry their meat by hanging it on poles. This salted and dried meat called Landhi, is considered a local delicacy. Another popular dish is Shorba, a thin meat soup in wooden basins in which pieces of bread are soaked. This is eaten from the basin iteslf, five to six persons sharing each basin. Barbecued lamb, rice with boiled meat, meat curries with only salt and pepper are the common dishes. Green tea is the favourite drink.

Most of the work is usually done by women, who work a great deal in the field as well. Water being scarce, it has sometimes to be brought from long distances usually by little girls or the female members of the family.

The common dress of men is Shalwar, Shirt and long coat while women wear flowing frocks which touch the ground. They wrap themselves up in red shawls and very seldom can one see a woman not dressed in red. This is a legacy of the past when various tribes spent their time shooting at each other. Since women did not take part in shooting they dressed themselves in red so that they were not shot at by mistake. Women wear silver jewellery and waistcoats or dresses with small mirrors are worn on festive occasions.

Women also like to have their hand and faces tattooed in various designs. Henna is extensively used by men as well as women, not only on their beards but on hands and feet.


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