Light Within

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The village boy

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There are lessons in the first landscapes of every one's life. Mine was a vista of green paddy fields, smoking with Salt Range mist, against a setting of ribbon of River Jhelum which from distance looked like a shore of another land altogether. The rough, rugged hill range appeared uninviting against a sky withering with the morning, interrupted by the dawn's red and blue brush strokes. My first learning in life was also in the village.

In villages, people still live without roads or other civic amenities of this modern age. No telephone or the Internet (smartphone works in my village), even the electricity is the recent phenomenon; some are still without it. You see one village and you have seen all. This was the setting where I spent first twenty year of my life savoring the freedom of adulthood. It is where I decided what (and how) I wanted to do with life. It is where my brothers and friends live. It is where I return whenever my active life allows me to. It is where I want to settle and spend my future.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, December 04, 2014, , links to this post

Where I Get My Supply of Salageet - Shilajit?

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Some places are so peaceful and unspoiled that it is almost unbelievable. One such locality is the picturesque, tranquil and pollution free (and undeveloped) boarder village Arrandu in district Chitral. The very sound of the name is musical. This village is located 'on' the Pakistan Afghanistan boarder. Dir-Chitral Road bifurcates near village Mir Khanni and a jeep able track along Kunar River leads to Arrandu through Domail Nisar and onwards into Afghanistan.


Gateway to the South Asia, the Chitral valley has been center of activity since ancient times. Macedonians advanced through this region in fourth century. In 1338, Timur subdued the area on his way to the plains of Punjab. Mughal King Akbar garrisoned here in 1587 and the British in 1897 in Chakdara on Dir side of Lowari Pass. Among soldiers who served here in Chakdara then was young Winston Churchill who later became Prime Minister of Britain. So far about the past importance of the valley but the little hamlet got the international fame during Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. It remained in the news and was commonly called as 'BBC Baby'.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, November 26, 2014, , links to this post

Green Mag

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Download Green Mag (pdf) by Prof. Dr. Norbert Pintsch here

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, November 20, 2014, , links to this post

Chaniot's claim to fame

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Chaniot - the name is enough to start the furniture lovers, travelers and cautiously curious dreaming. Antiquity is the first message of the town. And, international quality furniture "made in Chaniot" is collectors delight with potentials for marketing all over the world.

On the bank of River Chenab in area called Sandal Bar, Chaniot town is an exotic place in the foot of series of hillocks that seem to be man made rather than evidence of old mountains. The town is very ancient. It was inhabited before the time when Alexander of Macedon came in the South Asia and was principal City during the rule of White Huns. Chinese explorer Hiuen Tsiang visited it. Alberuni has mentioned in Kitabul-Hind that Chaniot was one of the there most important places in this part of the world.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014, , links to this post

Changing Chitral

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Picturesque Chitral town sits up in Pakistan's northwest district, walled in by the Hindu Kush range. During winters, the only way in is by air (weather permitting) as the two passes, the 3118-meter Lowari from Dir and the 3810-meter Shandur from the upper Gilgit Valley are closed to road traffic. The Fokker Friendships drone for 50 minutes and burst through clouds on decent to reveal on mountains covered with whitecaps and red tin roof houses.


This is Chitral. On the small airfield, the cold wind thrust you to shiver. The remoteness of the district has left it undeveloped in spite of grand natural beauty, hospitable people and ancient history. The town is a base camp for tourists, adventurers and researchers from across the world. And, people seem to be living there in peace.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 25, 2014, , links to this post

Thatta Kedona slide show

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Pakistan Slide Show

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014, , links to this post

Owning Fred Bremner

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Pervaiz Munir Alvi

Fred Bremner was not born or raised in Pakistan. In fact during his life time there was no country on the map by the name of Pakistan. Yet, for thirty five years he lived and worked among, owned studios and properties at, and traveled through out the areas that would later become Pakistan.

He was a commercial photographer who like thousands of other enterprising Britons earned his living by working his trade. But he was one of the pioneers of his art working in Karachi, Quetta, Rawalpindi and Lahore, the four important and major cities of Pakistan today.

He was not a diplomat, historian or a journalist, yet his photographs and publications have become an important source of historic records of the cities, events, places and people in Pakistan. By helping record the history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century he, however unintentional it may, has rendered important services to what would later become Pakistan.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, October 20, 2014, , links to this post

Pakistan Ramsar Sites

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The twin villages Ucchali and Dhadhar are the place to be for those who seek happiness in being close to the raw nature and to find the most alluring and fascinating places off the beaten track.

To travel as a person interested in nature (as if there were other ways to travel) is to have regrets these days. More and more that one would like to have seen is - inevitably, inexorably - already gone. But there are, of course, many such places out there. Only one has to find them.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 14, 2014, , links to this post

No love like salt

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The Salt Range derives its name from extensive deposits of rock salt. It stands as remnant of forts with bastions and temples. Exceptionally, this region maintains an almost continuous record of history that can define the evolution of society. Forts and temples surviving along the range are a reminder of how untouched many of the ancient remnants are. Alexander from Macedon came to this range twice: one from Taxila and later once his forces refused to go any further from the banks of the River Beas. From here he marched towards the Arabian Sea on his way to Babylon. And, now an NGO is constructing the monument of Alexander near Jalalpur town in the foot of the salt range in district Jhelum.

For those who take their first chance to the area, the landscape all along the Salt Range is rock-strewn, lacking in softness and loveliness. In many parts, it becomes barren and uninviting. But, in truth the range is dotted with historical wonders, romantic legends, archaeological remains, and varying geological formations. Surroundings are very quiet. Urial is also found in the range though facing extinction. A journey along the range is exiting as well as informative.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 09, 2014, , links to this post

Shifting Sher Garh

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An old sleepy and dusty village Sher Garh lies about 20 minutes drive away from Renala Khurd (Okara). The coins found at Sher Garh prove that the place was inhabited at the time of Kushan dynasty. Though “the name Sher Garh was given by the Governor of Molten, Faith Jang Khan after the name of Afghan King Sher Shah Sure,” wrote Abbas Khan Sarauni in his book Tarikh Sher Shah Suri.

On the old bank of River Beas, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Even the electricity and telephone are a recent phenomenon. But the village has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious people from all over the world, the village is venerated by a large number of devotees. Reasons, a massive mud fort and mosque which were built in the period of Afghan Sher Shah Suri. And, it is the last resting place of Saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Kirmani Bandgi.If one wants to absorb the sense of history, Sher Garh is a place to visit. Director Syed Noor has set his film Chooriyan in the background of this village. One has to possess a sensibility shaped in granite not to be moved by the village of past age that has not changed much in last 400 years. In the periphery few van (salvadora) trees, may be as old as the village stand witness to the bygone era. The village is experienced changed due to awareness about various things and agricultural advancements but at a snail speed.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 01, 2014, , links to this post


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