PARKS IN PAKISTAN
Ayubia National Park is a small national park in the Murree hills. The initial area of the park was 1684 ha, expanded through a northern extension in 1998 to make a total of 3312 ha. The park supports one of the best remaining examples of moist Himalayan temperate forest in Pakistan and is surrounded by seven major villages and three small towns (Nathiagali, Ayubia and Khanspur). The national park consists entirely of reserve forests, which spill out of the park area on the west and south sides. The scenery is superb with huge pine forests covering the hills and providing shelter to the larger and smaller mammals. Ayubia National Park is a major recreation area visited by large numbers of local tourists, mostly from Islamabad and Abottabad. No official figures are available, but local estimates suggest that there are about 100,000 visitors per year.
This park provides refuge to the elusive leopard and the black bear. Other mammals include Asiatic leopard, Yellow throated marten, Kashmir hill fox, Red Flying squirrel, Himalayan palm civet, Masked civet and Rhesus Macaque. Bird watching is excellent here. Some of the bird species pass through the park on migration. The population of the Koklass Pheasant and the rare Kalij Pheasant are the highest known for Pakistan. Only 30 Kalij Pheasant are known to exist in the park. The birds that abound the park are Golden eagle, Himalayan Griffon vulture, Honey buzzard, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Hill pigeon, Spotted dove and Collared dove.
Located in the land of the Kafir Kalash and beautiful Gol valley of Chitral is the Chitral Gol National Park, surrounded by snow clad mountains and pine trees. In fact the Chitral Gol is a narrow valley, its gorge running for some 18km before broadening out into a basin surrounded by high peaks. Numerous tributaries drain into the Chitral Gol, which flows southwards into the Kunar River. This park is famous for its Markhor goats with an estimated population size of 650. Other ungulates, such as Siberian ibex and Ladakh urial (Shapu), occur in very small numbers, as do black bear. The status of snow leopard changed from tenuous security in 1970 to seriously threatened by 1974. The species does not appear to be resident, visiting the park occasionally. Wolves are seen less frequently following restrictions on grazing by livestock.
Mammals in the park include Snow leopard, Kashmir Markhor, Siberian ibex, Ladakh Urial, Black bear, Tibetan Wolf, Red fox, Yellow throated martin and Himalayan otter.Common birds in the park are include Lammergier vulture, Himalayan Griffon vulture, Golden eagle, Demosille crane (Passage migrant), Peregrine falcon, Himalayan snow cock, Himalayan monal, Snow partridge Crested lark, and rock Partridge.
Spread over an area of 3,000 square kilometres, at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level, the Deosai, or "Dev Vasai" - the Land of Giant Plains are among the highest plateaus in the world. The highland was named for a famous legend described by the Gujjars, who used to spend summer here and rest of the seasons in Himalayan foothills. They believe in a fable according to which centuries ago there was a "Giant", who lived there all the year round and grow all the crops he needed for himself on this widespread land. For just over half the year - between November and May - Deosai is snow-bound. In the summer months when the snow clears up, Deosai is accessible from Skardu in the north and the Astore Valley in the west. In August, Deosai Plains are home to some of the most colourful flora of the world. Stretched for miles apart, are the colourful flowers of species seldom seen in such a large abundance anywhere in the world.
Deosai Plains make up one of the last frontiers of natural habitat for the Himalayan brown bear, a creature that once roamed the mountains freely. However, there is also a continuous threat to bear population in all locales of its existence due to the poaching of young cubs. These little bears are captured by gypsy tribes who tame and train them for dancing and circus shows. Since the female is closely attached and very watchful to its cubs, poachers kill the mother first making the young ones easy to capture. Another threat to Brown Bear is from the hunters for its skin, fats and other body organs. Hunting is usually carried out by the local villagers. Some local quacks believe that its fats and some other parts enhance virility. Therefore to conserve this endangered species of bears from extinction, this park was established and recently a research project has started by Himalayan Wildlife Foundation (HWF) and the Northern Areas Forests, Parks, and Wildlife Department to secure the survival of the brown bear in the Deosai Plains and to monitor their population. The park currently has in between 20-28 Brown bears. Brown Bear is still under threat of extinction in its inimitable colony. Unfortunately, hunting is still done and poaching of cubs is also carried out, but there is a marked decline in these ruthless practices over the past few years. The other climatic threats to the Bear population are always there and are unavoidable.
Brown Bear is found lonely when wandering or grazing in grassland. However, female is usually accompanied by its cubs. During the breeding season, a male is used to be associated with a female only for two weeks. Mating takes place from early May to the middle of July, while the baby bears usually come into the world from the months of January to March. The most interesting thing about a bear is its "Winter Dormancy". In early days of winter when snow starts covering grassland and weather becomes harsh, Brown Bear holds back grazing and other activities in open areas and enters den to spend whole winter. It usually hibernates for five to seven months from November to April. During this, its body temperature, heartbeat and other metabolic rates are reduced. Its requirement for food and water is also eliminated. At the onset of summer, it wakes up and comes out of den in search of food again. Some scientists believe that Brown Bear does not hibernate completely as other animals, which live in cold climates, do.
The Deosai Plains are also home to the snow leopard, ibex, red fox, golden marmot, wolf, the Ladakh urial, Himalayan Musk deer, Golden marmot and a number of resident and migratory birds. Birds in the park are Golden eagle, Lammagier vulture, Griffon vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk and Snow cock
The rolling grassland of Deosai Plains support no trees or shrubs and the area is snow covered for seven months of the year. Spring comes to Deosai in August when millions of wild flowers begin to bloom all over the lush green grassland. This is a time when Deosai looks like a paradise with a landscape full of wild flowers on green rolling hills and crystal clear water streams with snow covered peaks in the background. Extending to about 40 to 50 miles and surrounded by snow capped peaks, the Deosai has the purest of air. Clouds above may appear just beyond ones reach and hills. The Deosai pose an inspiring captivation with their ever changing colour with changing light. On the high plateau one may find very special plants and flowers. The plain is dotted with Edelweiss, in the Alps it is a protected flower. Between this almost exotic flora live bears, marmots and even the snow leopard may be found.
Spread over 38,429 acres, Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, is another beautiful national park of Pakistan. "Hazarganji" literally means "Of a thousand treasures". In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, that, there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Mongols and then the great migrating hordes of Baloch, all passed this way. The area is mountainous with precipitous slopes divided by ravines. The Chiltan Hills and Hazar Ganji Range lie west and east, respectively, of the north-south Chiltan divide. It can easily be reached from the provincial capital Quetta and attracts many visitors. Facilities include a museum, picnic spots and accommodation in rest houses. This park was primarily established to provide refuge to the endangered Chiltan wild goat or Markhor. In the 1950s it was said to exceed 1,200, but in November 1970 the population was estimated to number about 200, based on a total count of 107 individuals. At present the total population of the Chiltan wild goat is estimated to be about 800. The Suleiman markhor is also present in the northern part of the Chiltan Range and a few urial still survive on the western slopes between 1,500m and 2,100m. Carnivores include Stripped hyena and Red fox.
Other mammals in the park include Indian wolf, Leopard, Caracal, Jackal, Red fox, Porcupine and Desert hare. Houbara bustard, Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Honey buzzard, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Scops owl, Common cuckoo, European bee-eater, Rock partridge, European nightjar, Long-billed pipit, Orphean warbler, Variable wheatear, Blue rock thrush, Stonechat, and Lichtenstein's desert finch are some of the bird species found in the park.
Reptiles in the park include Monitor lizard, Russell's viper, Saw scaled viper and Spiny tailed lizard.
Located at a height of over 4000 metres and along the famous Karakoram Highway (KKH) and near the Kunjrab Pass, Khunjrab National Park is Pakistan's third largest National Park. The park is adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve in China. This park was established in 1975 on the recommendation of renowned wildlife biologist Dr. George Schaller, since the population of Marco Polo Sheep was declining at an alarming rate. In fact the construction of the Karakoram Highway provided an easy access to the hunters to the wildlife in the area. The Marco Polo Sheep’s trophy sells for as much as $60,000 and this rare animal was hunted to near extinction. Also, the building of the highway has disturbed the wildlife in the area and many animals have migrated across the border to China and Afghanistan.
Khunjerab National Park consists of three different valleys: Khunjerab (through which the Karakoram Highway passes), Ghujerab and the remote Shimshal valley. As local communities had traditionally used the entire area for grazing domestic livestock in summer, Dr. Schaller recommended a 12 kilometre portion of the park to be closed for grazing in order to provide protection to Marco Polo sheep against disturbance and food competition. This portion of the park was declared the core zone of the park. However, imposing a ban on grazing of livestock without compensation or concessions to grazing for the local communities created serious conflicts between the park management and the local people.
Now with the emergence of this park, the number of this species is very slowly increasing. Marco Polo Sheep is recognized by the very long outward curving horns, developed in the mature males. An aged ram is is very impressive and majestic, mainly because of massive spiraling horns which can span a man's outstretched arms and almost twice the height and size of most other wild or domestic sheep. The Marco Polo sheep is an inhabitant of very high mountains subject to severely cold winds and climatic conditions throughout the year. Currently, its population is confined to northwestern part of Hunza district along the Chinese border. Here, between spring and autumn, it occupies two separate valleys in the northwest section of Khunjrab National Park, and also inhabits the Kilik-Mintaka border area, just west of the National Park. Marco Polo sheep is probably the most endangered of Pakistan's wild sheep and goats, and unless action is taken immediately they will probably become extinct. Kilik/Mintaka Game Reserve along the border with China, east of the KKH and the Khunjerab National Park has been specially created to provide 65,000 hectares for preservation of Marco Polo sheep habitat.
The the total remaining population of Snow Leopard is estimated around 7,000-10,000 worldwide, of which around 300 are found in Pakistan. Anyone who can venture up to Nagar Valley, 65 kilometres north of Gilgit, one has a fair chance of siting the big cat, preferably at dawn or dusk. The Baltistan Wildlife Sanctuary covering 415 square kilometres in Baltistan, contiguous with the Astor Wildlife Sanctuary to its south and east and south of the Indus River, is basically established to protect the Snow Leopard besides Brown Bear, Lynx, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan fox, Markhor, Blue sheep and Asiatic ibex. Recently, an animal husbandry program in Chitral has been established which combines science to provide a new approach to save snow leopards. Snow Leopard is also found in Khunjrab National Park.
Other wild life that is found in the park include the Himalayan Ibex, Brown Bear, Tibetan Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Blue Sheep, Tibetan Wild Donkey, Ermine, Alpine Weasel, Stone Martin, Golden Marmot, Large-eared Pika, Cape Hare and many other small mammals. Most of these animals are considered to be in the threatened species category.
Beside the mammals, a wide variety of birds is also found in the park area, which include Golden Eagle, Lammegier, Himalayan Griffon and Eurasian Black Vultures, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrow Hawk, Eurasian and Lesser Kestrel, Saker and Peregrin Falcon, Himalayan Snow Cock, Snow Partridge, Grey Heron, Hill and Snow Pigeon, Northern Eagle Owl, Eurasian Cuckoo, Common Swallow, Magpie, Alpine Cough and Raven.
With the establishment of the park and laying down strict rules for the locals as well as the hunters, visitors can view plenty of wildlife from the main KKH. Ibex can easily be seen grazing on distant ridges, Golden Marmots play alongside the road and sometimes even a brown bear can be spotted. A four-day trek to the Karchanai Nullah rewards visitors with a close-up view of a herd of Marco Polo sheep. According to estimates supplied by members of the KVO, there are now around 1000 Ibex, 300 Blue Sheep, 60 Marco Polo Sheep, and a handful of brown bears and Snow Leopards (which have been spotted) living in the park. Since these animals tend to migrate across the border, these numbers are not accurate.
The Khunjerab National Park has the potential to develop into one of the world’s foremost national parks. According to WWF officials, a plan is now afoot to turn it into an ‘International Peace Park’ with conserved areas on both sides of the border. Negotiations with the Chinese are underway. If this plan can be realized, it would mean one ecological park with open boundaries for the wildlife – a truly spectacular habitat on top of the world.
Lal Suhanra National Park was declared a national park on 26 October 1972, following recommendations made by the Wildlife Enquiry Committee in 1971. Originally, the park comprised an area of 31,355ha, of which 20,932ha were desert, 8,488ha irrigated forest plantation and 1,934ha reservoir; it was due to be enlarged by 22,680ha. It is crossed by the dried-up bed of the Hakra River and features an important wetland, Patisar Lake. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation(PTDC) has 6 A/C bedroom resorts in the park. Beside this camping can also be done in selected campsites.
Blackbuck became virtually extinct in the Cholistan Desert but the species has been re-introduced in Lal Suhanra within large enclosures, together with Chinkara gazelle, Nilgai antelope, Hog deer and Indian rhinoceros. There is big lake in the center of the park called Patisar Lake, which is ideal for bird watching. Patisar Lake regularly holds between 10,000 and 30,000 ducks and common coot in mid-winter. Over 13,00 waterfowl were present in January 1987. The park also supports a large population of birds of prey.
Beside Black Buck, Nilgai antelope is also being bred in the Park. Recently a pair of rhinos has been added. The best attraction is the lion safari to see the lions in their natural habitat from close quarters. One lion with four lionesses roam freely and one can go as close as the photograph above. But one is not advisable to get out of the vehicle since these lions are wild and can devour on anything live and close.
Mammals in the park include Long-eared Hedgehog, , Black buck, Chinkara gazelle, Hog deer, Red fox, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Porcupine, Caracal cat, Mongoose, Jungle cat, Indian Wolf, Wild boar, Honey Badger, Little Civet, Indian (Black-naped) Hare, Smooth-coated Otter and Indian rhino.
As for birds more than 160 species are found in the jungle, some of the notable birds are Houbara bustard, Griffon vulture, Honey buzzard, Marsh harrier, Hen harrier, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Egyptian vulture, Larks, Shrikes, Wheatears and Barn Owl. Reptiles in the park are Monitor lizard, Russell's viper, Indian cobra, Saw scaled viper, Wolf snake, John's sand boa and Spiny tailed lizard.
Hingol National Park spread over an area of about 1,650 square km² along the Makran Coast, Balochistan is the largest of National Parks of Pakistan, and is located approximately 190 kilometres from Karachi. The area was for the first time declared reserved in 1988. The park area covers parts of the three districts of Lasbela, Gawader and Awaran of Balochistan province containing a variety of topographical features and vegetation, varying from arid sub tropical forest in the north to arid montane in the west. Large tracts of the NP are covered with drift sand and can be classified as coastal semi desert. The National Park includes the estuary of the Hingol river which supports a significant diversity of bird and fish species.
The Hungol valley has fantastic scenery of towering cliffs, pinnacles and buttresses, the river winding between. Some 350 miles in length, the Hungol is Balochistan's longest river. Unlike most other streams in Balochistan which only flow during rare rains, the Hungol always has flowing water in it. The water is crystal–clear, reflecting the incredible blue of the sky. It makes for picture–postcard scenery. Hungol river and valley are located in Hungol National Park.
Hingol is known to support threatened invertebrates in addition to a variety of bird species. The River Hingol has been nurturing crocodiles for centuries. The Marsh Crocodile, Olive Ridley and Green Marine Turtles, endemic and threatened species of fish, such as the Mahasheer occur and schools of Plumbeous Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are known from close in-shore areas. The park is an excellent habitat to wild animals including over 3000 ibexes, and 1500 Urials and more than 1200 Chinkara, besides number of resident and migratory birds. The Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), Dalmatian and Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) are regular visitors to the area.
Mammals in the park include Sindh Leopard, Indian Fox, Jungle Cat, Jackals, Sind Wild Goat, Blandford's Urial, Chinkara Gazelle, Honey Badger, Indian Pangolin, Hedgehog, Porcupine, Indian Grey Mongoose, Cairo Spiny mouse and the Rock Mouse. As for the birds, Houbara Bustard, Dalmatian and Spot-billed Pelican, Lagger Falcon, Red-headed merlin, Kestrel, Grey Partridge, See See Partridge, , Eagle owl , Sind pied woodpecker, Hume's chat, Brown rock pipit, Striped Buning, Finche Larks, Hoopoe, Shrikes and Wheatears. Beside Bonnelli's, Imperial Tawny and Golden Eagle are also found here. There are three varieties of vultures, namely Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and the Cinereous Vulture. As for sand grouse, there are many varieties like Stone Curlew, Indian, Coroneted, Painted and Close-Barred Sand Grouse.
The wet and muddy patches are home to Marsh Crocodile, Olive Ridley and Green Marine Turtles, Desert Monitor lizard, Yellow Monitor lizard, and different species of lizard and chameleon.
Kirthar National Park is the the second largest national park of Pakistan spread over an area of 3000 square kilometres. Kirthar was designated a national park by the Sindh Wildlife Department in 1974, the first of Pakistan's parks to be included in the UN's listing of National Parks of 1975. In addition, Kirthar qualifies for the strict criteria fixed by IUCN for a Category II protected area, designated mainly for ecosystem preservation.
The rolling valleys and rugged lines of the Kirthar hills form a natural haven for Urial sheep, Ibex and Chinkara gazelle. Jungle cats, desert cats and even the occasional leopard or desert wolf also prowl the park. Pangolin (scaly anteaters), porcupines and monitor lizards abound the park area. The best season to visit the park is from October to February, since in summers it is scorching hot. However, it is the greenest in August during the monsoons.
Other attractions in the park are the 18th century Chaukundi style tombs at Taung and pre-historic archaeological remains at Koh Tarash. The enormous Rani Kot Fort is also within the park, two hours by jeep from Karchat. Rani Kot is about four hours from Karachi via the Super and the Indus Highways.
Machiara National Pak is located in the Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir. It is one of the few sites in which a breeding population of the western tragopan pheasant, Tragopan melanocephalus, exists. Western Tragopan, with its brilliant red neck and black and white speckled plumage, is one of the most magnificent pheasants in the world. But the pheasants are more than just beautiful birds, for they also have scientific value for environmentalists and ecologists. Western tragopan pheasants are also found in most northerly mountains of Pakistan and are on the verge of extinction. World Pheasant Association (WPA) is doing its utmost to save these beautiful pheasants from extinction.
Machiara National Park consists of montane mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest and contains a significant number of bird species. Machiara National Park is one of three globally significant national parks selected for a Global Environment Facility sponsored project. The overall goal is to set-up management models demonstrating effective natural resource conservation and make a significant contribution to the development of Pakistan's capacity.
Margalla Hills National Park, is located in the foothills of the Himalayan range. The topography is rugged, with numerous valleys and many steep and even precipitous slopes. The area is drained by the River Kurang and its tributaries, which flow into the River Soan. This park is the most accessible park in Pakistan due to its close proximity to the national capital, Islamabad. A visitor centre is planned for Daman-E-Koh, providing lounge accommodation and an information service. Lodges, camping grounds and picnic sites are also planned and the provision of a chair lift may be considered.
Margalla Hills are unique in Pakistan, being rich in Sino-Himalayan fauna, some species (especially birds) of which are at the western extremity of their distribution. It is an extension of the Islamabad wildlife sanctuary, which includes the Shakar Parian Hills and the Rawal Lake. The park was setup to provide refugee to the Gray Goral, Barking deer and the Leopard. Protection to these animals have benefited other unusual and interesting smaller animal as well. Margalla Hills Park provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching. A Cheer Pheasant hatchery has been established at Chak Jabri and Dhok Jewan to raise captive Cheer pheasants that have become extinct in the hills. These are then released in the wild.
Asiatic leopard, Wild boar, Golden Jackal, Rhesus Macaque, Leopard cat, Gray Goral sheep, Barking deer, Chinkara gazelle, Red fox, Pangolin, Porcupine, Yellow throated marten and Fruit bats are some of the mammals found in the park.
Birds in the park include Himalayan Griffon vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Egyptian vulture, White cheeked bulbul, yellow vented bulbul, Paradise flycatcher, Black partridge, Cheer pheasant, Khalij pheasant, Golden oriole, Spotted dove, Collared dove, Larks, Shrikes, Wheatears and buntings.
Besides, a number of species of reptiles like the Russell's viper, Indian cobra, Himalayan pit viper and Saw scaled viper are also found in Margalla Hills Park.
This 20,360 sq. meters rose garden
is famous for its roses. It has 250 different varieties of roses as well
as a dozen types of Jasmines, Flower shows are occasionally held here,
particularly during spring. Nearby is the Tourist Camping Site.
Shakarparian hills are situated
near Zero Point, at a height of 609 meters. Its terraced garden offers
pleasant and sweeping vistas of Margalla and Murree hills, Rawal Lake,
Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Snack Bar facilities are available.
This low hill over looking Islamabad, known as Daman-e-Koh, offers panoramic view of Islamabad. Snack bar facilities are available at PTD’s Daman-e-Koh Restaurant. The place is ideal for afternoon and evening outing with family and friends.
MURGHZAR MINI ZOO AND CHILDREN’S PARK:
Murghzar Mini Zoo is located at the foot of Daman-e-Koh viewpoint. A display corner of Pakistan Museum of Natural History and a Japanese style children’s park have also been established near the Zoo. The Park is a gift to Pakistani children from the children of Japan.
Liaquat Memorial Hall and Garden
This hall was built in memory of late Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. It has a large auditorium and library. Art exhibitions, cultural shows and stage plays are performed here frequently. A well-laid garden with sports facilities and children’s park has been developed near the hall.
Ayub National Park
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres and has a play-land, lake with boating facility, an aquarium, a garden-restaurant and an open air theater.
Rawalpindi Golf Course
Situated near Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi Golf Course was completed in 1926 by Rawalpindi Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs of Pakistan, founded on 2nd November 1885. The facility was initially developed as a nine-hole course. After several phases of development, it is now converted into a 27-hole course. The successive Presidents of Pakistan are patronizing the club. From the elegant clubhouse, one can have a wonderful panorama of Faisal Mosque, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the Golf Course itself. Major national golf tournaments are held here regularly. For more information, please contact the Assistant Secretary, Rawalpindi Golf Club, G.T. Road, Rawalpindi (Tel: 56131346).
Rawalpindi Public Park and Cricket Stadium:
Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened for public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 just opposite the Public Park. The 1992 World Cup cricket matches were held on this cricket ground. The stadium is equipped with all modern facilities.
Historically, Birmoglasht used to be the Summer Residence of the Mehtar of Chitral. Situated at approximately 9000 feet above the sea level, the area has been declared a National Park in which 4 acres of land was acquired by PTDC in 1975.
The climate is very pleasant in the summer and many tourists visit the area because of its scenic beauty. The forest around the area add to the charm of the place.
Shalimar Gardens Lahore
Five kilometers east of Lahore are the famous Shalimar Gardens laid out by the Mughal Emperor Shah-Jehan in 1642 A.D. The Gardens are spread out in typical Mughal style and are surrounded by high walls with watch-towers at the four corners. Originally, the gardens were spread over seven ascending terraces, but only three remain now which cover an area of about 42 acres. The brick-work of the floors of the three terraces have been repaired according to their original designs which differ on all three terraces. There is a marble pavilion under which water flows and cascades down over a carved marble slab creating a water-fall effect. Across the water-fall is a marble throne. At the end of the second terrace is a beautiful structure called Sawan Bhadon, a sunken tank with niches on its three sides. Water cascades down from it in sheets in front of the niches, producing the sound of falling rain. In the olden times, small oil lamps were placed in the niches which reflected myriad colours, through the water.
Shalimar gardens have the proud privilege of being the stage of all important state receptions. Outside its walls the annual festival of Mela Chiraghan is held every year during the year of March. Special lights on the first and second terraces of the Gardens have been installed and the area is illuminated half-an-hour after sun-set.
Chhanga Manga is a man-made forest 68 kms from Lahore. There is a lake, and a miniature railway which winds its way through its forest. Chhanga Manga has 12,510 acres of plantations. It is a popular picnic spot spread over 50 acres with a lake and row boats, motor boats, children's park, swimming pool, cafeteria, canteen and rest-houses.
The Park is 28 kms from Lahore. It can be visited by road and by rail. A rail-car leaves for Jallo Railway Station every half hour. Spread over an area of 450 acres, It has expanses of lawns, a forest research centre, a children's park, zoo, a small museum and a gift shop.
Once a major campsite of Mughal rulers, Wah Gardens is located 12 km west of Taxila on G.T. Road. The gardens were developed with magnificent trees and water channels by successive Mughal emperors. Tapering cypress trees, loved by the Mughals, line the canals through which cool waters once flowed between elegant Romanic pavilions and cascading into large reflecting basins. The gardens are being restored to their original beauty, by the Department of Archaeology, Govt. of Pakistan. Entry fee is Rs.4 per person.
The Lush-green valley of Swat, with its rushing torrents, icy-cold lakes, fruit-laden orchards and flower-decked slopes is ideal for holiday-makers intent on relaxation. It has a rich historical past, too.
This is "Udayana" (the "Garden") of the ancient Hindu epics; "the land of enthralling beauty" where Alexander of Macedonia fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plains of Pakistan. This is "the valley of the hanging chains" described by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Huain Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries.
Surrounded by the green Bah-e-Jinnah, Liaqat Hall, originally the frere hall was once the Town Hall where inc colonial days, concerts and social events were held reqularly. This two-storied Venetian Gothic building now houses the Liaqat Municipal Library on the ground floor and an art gallery on the upper storey. Named after one of Pakistan`s renowned artists, Sadequain the gallery displays a permanent collection of the artists`s work, Sadequain spent the last years of his life painting a huge mural on the ceiling of the gallery but, sadly, did not lived to complete it.