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The hills around Ziarat are covered with juniper trees, thickest on the north, south and east sides. The valley has one of the richest and oldest juniper forest in the world, The juniper tracts along with its range lands, cover an area of approximately seven hundred thousand acres of which 2.30,000 acres are the State forest. Average age of the extremely slow growing juniper trees is 300 years. Juniper berries are used as flavor. Oil is aisc) extracted from these trees which has a nmnber of uses.
Medical herbs like Epherda, Artimesia and mint etc are also produced. Fragrant lavender hushes cover almost the entire landscape from July to October.
Markhotr (Mountain Goat), Gud (Mountain Sheep). panthers, partridges, chakors, sisis and other birds and animals attract lovers of wildlife and hmlters to this area. Ziarat promises a bracing climate to its visitors, it is delightfully cool during the summers. The average maximum temperature is about 80 degree F while average minimum is 35 degree F. Average annual rainfall is about 12 inches. Normally it gets snowfall fall November to March .
During winters Ziarat town is almost totally deserted with the shifting of the Government office to Sibi. Only chowkidars and a few tribesmell are left. Summer population ranges between 3,000 to 5,000, mostly tourists. The tribes of the area are Sarabgzais, Tarins, Syeds, Doomars and lsakhels - all Pashtoons. The people are generally sturdy and very hospitable. Once of the most popular summer retreat in Pakistan, Ziarut can proudly claim a unique position. lts healthy atmosphere and serene environments earned it the hollour of association with the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i- Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He had great liking for Ziarat and he spent the last days of his life in this enchanting valley. It is because of this reason that the small double storey Ziarat Residency has won the position of a national monument. Because of his failing health caused due to his ceaseless work during the Pakistan Movement overwork for the newly born Islamic state, the Quaid stayed in this residency for about three months from June to September. 1948. Built in 1890/ 91 by the British, this beautiful residency is a two-storey building with a stone and wooden super structure. It has some of the loveliest lawns and beautiful flowers in the country, From the balcony of the upper floor, as well as from the lawns down below, the entire valley appears to be nicely laid down filr panoramic view. The Quaid stayed on the upper floor in the room on the left side and his illustrious sister, late Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah,just in front of his room on the right side. The bed, furniture, the cutlery etc. used by him are intact and placed in their original position. Ziarat literally means a place for pilgrimage. History tells us that this place existed much before the advent of thc British Rule in the Sub-continent. Its local name then was Gwuskhi or Kowashki and was changed to its present name of Ziarat in 1886. It derived its name from the neighbouring shrine of famous Muslim saint Mian Abdul Hakim, popularly known as Mulla Tahir and Kharwari Baba. The shrine is situated in the valley, below the "Prospcct Point", about 4+ 2 miles south of Ziarat Town. According to a legend, the Saint came here from Khandahar in Afghanistan, He opposed the highhandedness of Ghlzai King Hussain. He was forced to leave his native town and migrated to this place. On reaching this valley he took abode on a hill top and prayed for this place saying: "This place shall flourish". Thereafter water started Oozing from the spot which is still flowing and is regarded as holy and wholesome. There is a jeepable road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooking the juniper valley. It is also an excellent picnic spot,
Ziarat was first selected as health resort by the British in 1883. The first pucca building to come up there was the Political Agent's residence which was constructed in 1891 at a total cost of Rs. 19,666. Piped water was provided to the town in 1898-99 at a cost of Rs, 38,000. A summer camp for European troops stationed at Quetta was first set up at Ziarat in 1885. At that time income of this tiny town stood at Rs. 38010 and expenditure at Rs. 2,689,
Ziarat's attractions are many, For the naturalists and hikers it provides wonderful walks amidst picturesque surroundings, hunters interesting games and for devotees the shrine of Karwari Baba.
There are many lovely walks through the wooden glades. Huge gorges and defiles constitute a feature of the scenery. For spending a holiday delightfully cool Ziarat is very pleasant and enjoyable, It was because of its scenic beauty that a Hollywood film company included a few shots of the Sandeman Tangi in its film "Jengis Khan" in 1952.
A trip to Ziarat from Quetta can be made by two routes one by the single road, which though a short-cut, is very difficult but full of fun and excitement for the hunters. The other is the Quetta- Karachi-Ziarat Road. It is a metalled road with road side tea shops. After travelling over 43 miles of the ragged country side one reaches Kachh where, besides a few tea shops, there is a Rest House equipped with necessary facilities. Thereafter a 33-mile long hilly track takes one to the green valley of Ziarat. This part of the journey is quite interesting and one comes across lofty hills covered with a thick juniper, patches of green fields and clean and cold water froin springs.
After crossing the road passing through a gorge, one is struck by the panoramic view of this enchanting summer resort with the high Khalafat Peak overlooking.
There are now three hotels, two restaurants, a Dak Bungalow with three annexies, one Rest House (Ziarat House) a Youth hostel. PTDC's Cot tage Motel with six cottages with a beautiful lawn and restaurant, three beautiful huts of conical design. about a dozen newly built cottages and shopping centres. It also has banking facilities.
Formerly there used to be only one rickety bus making the rounds, over- crowded with passengers and baggage, But there are now taxis, and bus service. A visit to Ziarat, unlike the past, is no problem now. Private sector also runs luxury coaches.
Though Ziarat is itself a wonderful place with its own charms and beautiful picnic spots but there are a number of places of interest around it which a visitor could hardly afford to miss.
These places provide a lot of fun.
Sandeman Tangi is 2-1/2 miles north- west of Ziarat. It is the meeting point of two hills presenting a fascinating and inspiring view. A spring flows down to the "Tangi", The water action over centuries has made the surface of the lofty stone walls very soft to touch.
The tail gorges present fascinating view and the visitors can walk inside and see the natures beauty from the depth where sun never shines.
Prospect Point is an excellent picnic spot 372 miles south of the town. There is a jeepable road but those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty at leisure can have a walk. The road which passes through the lofty hills and deep ravines overlooks the valley, about 1000 feet below, covered by the ever-green juniper trees. There is a newly constructed Rest House from where one could have a wonderful view of the valley particularly during the rainy season. Down below is the shrine of Kharwari Baba.
Chashma Walk is a 1ove!y walk from the swimming pool and ahmg the deep ravine. It is one of the very few stretches of flat ground in Ziarat.
Presents a lovely view from a jeepable road winding through the hills. The length of the road is 6 miles and the place rises to an altitude of 1,000 feet from the starting point.
Then there are a few more small but interesting places like Faran Tangi, Sista Tangi, Khalifat Hill and on its foot "Zizri" and Khandai popularly known as "lshq-i-Lahu".
A few nailes ahead of Ziarat is the juniper laden "Chauter Valley" ,rich in scenic beauty but still unexplored and undeveloped.
Before approaching Ziarat one comes across the fruit rich areas of Kawas and Zandara which have their own beauty and splendour.
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