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Monday, November 25, 2013

2013-11-14 Trip to Kallar Kahar, Khewra, Ayubia and Derawar Fort

2013-11-14 Trip to Kallar Kahar, Khewra, Ayubia and Derawar Fort Bahawalpur - Itinerary - Route Map

Departure: Thu, 14 Nov 2013 @ 03:30 am (from Karachi)
Arrival: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 @ 08:00 pm

Total Kilometers Travelled: 3,450 kms

Total Petrol Consumed: 211.2 liters
Car Used: Toyota Vitz 1000cc
Total Cost of Fuel: PKR 24,500 @ rate of PKR 116/liter

Total Participants: 5
Total Per Head Cost for Complete Tour (all expenses included): ~ PKR 12,000/person

Itinerary:

2013-11-14 Trip to Kallar Kahar, Khewra, Ayubia and Derawar Fort Bahawalpur - Itinerary - Route

A. Sohrab Goth, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

B. SDS CNG Station, SDS CNG Station, Karachi - Hyderabad Motorway, Jamshoro, Pakistan

  • First stop near Hyderabad by-pass
  • Fajir prayers
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C. Al-Amin Restaurant, N5, Moro Bypass, Moro, Sindh, Pakistan

  • Breakfast – Restaurant’s facilities, Food Quality and Taste were good. Prices were little higher than normal. Food Taste/Quality:
    • Omelet – not recommended
    • Egg Qeema / Anda Gutala / Khaagina – good
    • Normal Paratha – fair enough
    • Aalo Paratha – good
    • Tea – good
    • Kulfi – PKR 30 per kulfi; very good in quality and taste. Highly recommended Thumbs up
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D. Khairpur, Sindh, Pakistan

  • Zohar prayers
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E. Byco Filling Station around Sadiqabad, Punjab, Pakistan

  • Asir prayers
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F. Filling Station around Zahir Pir, Raheem Yar Khan, Punjab, Pakistan

  • Maghreb prayers
  • Tea Time – Coffee cupTea, Biscuits & snacks
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G. Hafiz Abdul Wadood Sohan Halwa, Khanewal Rd, Rashidabad Chowk, Rashidabad, Multan, Punjab, Pakistan

  • Dinner @ Madina Hotel Plate
    • Typical Road Side Hotel with average food quality and taste
    • Mutton “Rosh” was somewhat new dish – unlike the one I experienced before, this one had more soup / yakhni in it and looks/tastes more like Mutton Soup. Suits well in cold weather.
    • Beef Qeema – not recommended
    • Chicken Karachi – average
  • Isha prayers
  • Bought “Hafiz Abdul Wadood 501 ka Multani Sohan Halwa” @ PKR 440 per KG – Highly recommended Thumbs up
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H. Jhang, Punjab, Pakistan

  • Fajir prayers
  • We saw Fruiter and Mustard crops along the route – check photos
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I. Kallar Kahar Motorway Service Area - North Bound, Lahore - Islamabad Motorway, Chakwal, Punjab, Pakistan

  • All rest houses on Motorways are exceptionally well equipped with all the amenities one can imagine. Good quality food outlets, clean rest rooms, Mosque, Fuel Station, Super Market, Plenty of Indoor and outdoor sitting areas, spacious parking, kids play area. All designed with an artistic finesse.
  • Brunch – Quality was very good. We tried Zinger Burger, Chicken Corn Soup, Murgh Cholay, Chicken Biryani, Club Sandwich, Tea and Coffee. Taste was not up to the mark, probably because of lack of spices that I’m used to. Prices were higher than normal.
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J. Boating Area, Kallar Kahar, Punjab, Pakistan

  • Honestly speaking – I was disappointed! Confused smile I heard a lot from different people about the majestic scenic views of Kallar Kahar, but unfortunately it does not met the expectations we had.
  • We did take a ride of boat, there were two types of rides:
    • Self rowing (foot) paddle boats accommodates 2 persons per boat and I think the ticket price was PKR 100 per boat per ride of 10 minutes
    • Group boat with a rower can accommodate up to 6 persons per boat and the ticket price was PKR 260 per boat per ride of 10 minutes
  • There were plenty of food & snacks outlets.
  • The site also had a PTDC Resort.
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K. Khewra Salt Mines Tourist Resort, Khewra, Punjab, Pakistan

  • It was so tragic that we didn’t make it to the Salt Mines because the entrance was blocked by the Moharram procession and we had to return back from almost the doors of the Salt Mines. Sad smile
  • However on our way to the Khewra Salt Mines and on main Khewra Road, we witnessed a beautiful scenic spot:
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(Before L):

Ayubia (National Park), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

  • Road to Ayubia was very good and well maintained apart from some sharp and dangerous turns.
  • We entered Ayubia at night and it was very cold, Freezing my guess is, it must be around 4 or 5 degrees centigrade. We saw ice along the route; if “ooper wali aunty” had not thrown it after defrosting her fridge Smile with tongue out; then it was either due to the fallen snow or due to drop in temperature freezing the water along.
  • We stayed in a moderate hotel who charged us PKR 2,500 for one night for double suit with an extra mattress. Facilities were quite satisfactory except the availability of Hot Water for rest rooms. It was so cold that when I tried to wash my hands, they turned into pale purpleSick smile and I had to massage them for almost 5 minutes to get them to normal.
  • At a place where shops closes @ 9:00 pm or less, we were very fortunate that hotel kitchen staff managed a full chicken roast and delicious chicken karahi for us @ 12:30 am. Shukar Alhamdolilah !
  • Breakfast – Tea was very good; for me at least because it was made from Tea Bag instead of pateeli-ke-pucki-hoe-chai. Puri Paratha was also very tasty, proportionally crispy and soft. Omelet was the thinnest, I’ve ever seen and as a consequence with a huge diameter.
  • We were so lucky that our hotel was very close to both Ayubia’s Dunga Gali Trek and Ayubia’s Chairlift.
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Ayubia’s Dunga Gali Trek

  • The sun was shinning bright Sunand perhaps it was the day when I really enjoyed the sun shine Smile. The weather was chill and we left our hotel for a walk on the streets of Ayubia, stopping briefly on shops along the road. We bought some warm head gear and socks besides some gifts items for near & dear ones.
  • As we went down the slope, we saw the sign board directing visitors to the left passage of the road and towards the start of famous Dunga Gali Trek.
  • Amazing Trek I must say – very easy to traverse Smile and packed with wonderful scenic spots and trail. You’ll find plenty of covered rest areas. We only wished we had a thermos full of coffee Coffee cup with us (note for next trekking trip). With all that beautiful greenery and forest, refreshing chilly wind and warm sunshine… amazing experience!
  • Once we finished trekking, right after the exit, there was a Hotel where we sat down and enjoyed much needed CUPS of hot tea
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(check back in 24 hours for video)

L. Ayubia Chair Lift, Ayubia Rd, Ayubia, Pakistan

  • Half way between our Hotel and Ayubia Dunga Gali Trek, was the entrance for Ayubia Chair Lift, so we head towards that on our way back from Trekking.
  • A photo snap Camera with trained Eagles sitting on your hand or shoulder would only cost you PKR 20 provided the Camera is yours. Although there are also people who can take polaroid photo of yours for additional PKR 20 per picture.
  • The ticket for one person for a two-way ride was PKR 180.
  • From outside it seems unsafe but when we we rode the chair lift, it was not that dangerousDevil
  • Along the Chair Lift Track you will witness monkeys roaming around, they were quite bold and were following visitors who were trekking in the area.
  • Apart from other Hotels, Guest Houses, a very beautiful PTDC Motel is also available for tourist which you can also view from above while riding the Chair Lift.
  • Plenty of food & snack outlets, gift shops and local handicraft shops were available.
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(check back in 24 hours for video)

M. Ayubia Park Mountain Top., Rawalpindi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

  • Your Chair Lift (one side) ride ends at the peak of the Mountain. It was a beautiful place to trek, rest, enjoy all sorts of cold and hot drinks, food, snacks etc.
  • Horse riding is recommended – the trail we opted for was the shortest one I’ve ever rode. It seems like we were given the demo of the actual trail and it cost us PKR 160 per head. For the longer trail they were asking PKR 440 per head and IMO that’s quite reasonable as well.
  • I think you will enjoy the return ride more as it goes from top to bottom and offer great scenic views of the hill station, valley and the mountain range covered in green and white; trees and snow. Colors of Pakistan, MashaAllah!
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(check back in 24 hours for video)

N. Tourist Street, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan – aka New Food Street of Lahore

  • Extremely disappointed Confused smile - I was expecting a much grandeur appearance than what I saw. When I asked the same question from the people at the food street, they said it was probably because a number of shops were closed due to Law & Order situation at that time, police barricaded the main entry and put up a check point for security. But even then, it scored much less against the Food Streets of Karachi like Burns Road, Hussainabad, Boat Basin, Port Grand, etc. Be it diversity in cuisines, number of food outlets, quantity, taste and appearance. Can you imagine, we searched the whole street and we didn’t find “Lassi”! come on it was Lahore! Sad smile
  • One of my friend told me that it was Gawalmandi – The Old Food Street, which we should visit, but it was too late by then and we were short of time. Besides, when I asked people at the street that how different this new food street is from the old one, they replied its almost the same. That crushed the remaining urge, if there was any, to visit Gawalmandi.
  • Outside the new food street and right on the foot path of main road, there was a stall for fresh juices, milk shakes and fast food. We tried Zinger Burger and milk shakes and both were very good and the price of Zinger would definitely shock you… PKR 100 only Disappointed smile. Although the size was small but still… that was Zinger! Smile with tongue out
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Somewhere around Okara, Punjab, Pakistan

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(check back in 24 hours for video)

O. Derawar Fort, Punjab, Pakistan

  • On our way from Bahawalpur to Ahmed Pur East there was a very good road side restaurant and rest area. I didn’t remember its name correctly but it was like “New Baloch…” something like that and it’s owner, whose framed photos were affixed on the walls, seems like an influential Baloch Family. The restaurant’s theme was all Baloch style with Carpets and Dasterkhuwans. Traditional Baloch embroidery and artwork on walls, windows and doors. The menu also has famous Baloch dishes, Afghani/Kabuli Pulao being the one. This site has spacious parking, clean rest rooms, shower area, a huge and well maintained garden, mosque, shops, etc.

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  • The road to Derawar goes from Ahmed Pur East and it was in a bad condition unlike every other road that we travelled in Punjab. Overall the road network of Punjab is extremely good. Cities, towns and even villages are connected with well maintained and smooth roads and we were impressed with such a good road network of Punjab. However road to Derawar was an exception to this, it was broken from a number of places, and cause a lot hindrance throughout our journey to Derawar and back.
  • If you have a little interest in Archeological and Historical sites, Derawar Fort is a treat to watch with your bare eyes!
  • Like many other similar historical places, this great Fort also speaks of neglect by the concerned authorities. I’m sure, each one of us, the individual citizens, can do better service, planning, uplift and management of these sites than the authorities that were entrusted with the task in the past or at presentSteaming mad.
  • It was full moon Sleeping half-moon when we were at the top of Derawar Fort and the view from top of the surrounding and of the fort itself was majestic.
  • Adjacent to the fort was the historical Abbasi Mosque – I think some renovation work was done on the mosque because it was in a good shape. It serves as the Jama Mosque for the locality as well and is Alhamdolilah in active state.
  • At that time, our camera/mobile phone Mobile phone batteries were all drained and it was unfortunate that we were not able to capture some of the very good angles of the fort and mosque under full moon.
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P. Royal Inn Hotel, Gambat, Sindh, Pakistan

  • A very nice hotel with all necessary amenities. Good range of entries from Continental, Pakistani and Fast Food cuisines. Chicken Corn Soup was very good. Club Sandwich was of average taste but quality was good. Chappali Kebab Burger’s bun was from old stock and was replaced on my request. Tea was just fine. Prices were a little higher than the normal.
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Q. Bombay Bakery, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan

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