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Through the hinterland

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While traveling, off the National Highway, not only you travel in soot free and serene environment but you see more too. Lately, I got a chance to explore the lush green plains of Punjab, riding my trusted old motorbike on Band Patri of Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) from Sahiwal to Balloki Headworks. Many new and interesting things came in the way, which normally remain hidden from commuters on the National Highway or travelers in the area. The journey embraces you with lovely colors, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.


I took the side route and got onto the LBDC from Sahiwal, the city famous for greenery and best breed of mammals. The first thing along the LBDC that attracted my attention was Mandi Maweshian (animal market) near Gogera Sadar - one of the largest in the country. It is a complete bazaar where a large number of fine quality animals changes hand every month. You can find makeshift hotels (with arrangements for night stay), veterinary doctors, milk and fodder shops and even provision stores. "It is a complete market that keeps moving from one place to another as per its permanent schedule," told me an astute manager, who establishes a hotel wherever the market goes. "We have buoparis (businessmen) from Karachi to Peshawar, local farmers as well as people working in the market as our customers," he added. Another shopkeeper told, "Farmers sell their live stock here and buy provisions for their homes." The market has its own unique culture.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, May 26, 2017, ,

Powerful Paradigm

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There is a statue in a square of Rotterdam. This effigy has been carved out of stone. It is a human looking up into the sky, as if trying to stop what is coming down with his hands raised and there is a hole where his heart should be. Disproportionate, parts of the figure are not at the right places nor are seemingly fitting in the scheme of sculpture – neck is not exactly in the centre of the shoulders and is sticking out, elbows are at a little distance from arms. Similarly, legs, ankles, feet, stomach and chest all seem out of place. Seeing the sculpture from a distance gives an impression that it will wither away with the wind.

This Artwork was put on display in Rotterdam in 1951. Reflection of thoughts of sculptor Ossip Zadkine, thinkers of the city as well as the municipality, this statue was erected here after the World War II to commemorate bombing and burning down of the city.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, May 25, 2017, ,

Chill out at Chillas

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In northern Pakistan, Chilas - a small town - was once an important crossroads on the ancient trading route taken by travellers like Marco Polo. A jeep track leads from Chilas over the Babusar Pass to the Kaghan Valley. Until the opening of Karakorum Highway (KKH) this track was the main route to the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Going still is tough on the route that is passable only in the summers. We decided to take this track when I took the trip in May with my comrades, which started from Shinkiari.

Before leaving Chilas, visit to the famous inscriptions on the rocks is a must. Ancient inscriptions around Chilas date back in a period around first century BC. The most interesting thematic inscriptions are itched onto the faces of rocks between the KKH and the Indus River below Chilas town. One of the most interesting rock drawings we saw depicts two figures dressed in robes -- presumably Buddhist monks -- approaching a stupa in order to worship. The larger figure with a shaven head is carrying some sort of offering. The stupa to which theoffering is being made consists of a rectangular foundation with a ladder leading up to the path for circumambulation, which is surrounded by a railing. The dome of the stupa is decorated with a zigzag line, may be indicating a garland, and is surmounted by a small rectangular shrine and a vertical shaft with three horizontal discs. The architectural and stylistic features of this stupa drawing are similar to those of stupas found in the Swat Valley and other parts of ancient Gandhara in north-western Pakistan. Above the human figure making an offer and to the left of the dome of the stupa is a drawing of a single pillar with a capital (apparently a wild goat or ibex, which is the most common animal in rock drawings in the area) on a rectangular platform.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 16, 2017, ,

Migratory Birds

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Pakistan receives a large number of migratory birds from Europe and Central Asian States every year. These birds spend the winters in Pakistan and go back to their native habitats in the summers. The route these birds take from Siberia to Pakistan is known as International Migratory Birds' Route Number 4. It is also called the Green Route or Indus Flyway. Out of seven flyways, Indus Flyway is one of the busiest routes. Birds begin their journey in November. February is the peak time and by March they start flying back. These periods may vary depending upon weather conditions in Siberia and in Pakistan.



Birds' migration is of different forms: diurnal (during day), nocturnal (night flights), altitudinal (from heights to lower parts) and latitudinal (from north to south). One of the reasons for migration is that food is not available in indigenous habitats during winter seasons. Other factors include changes in temperature, reduced daylight hours, and instinctive behaviour.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, May 15, 2017, ,

Every Rose Has Its Thorns

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While most of my friends were having a great weekend, I was taking a trip to explore the lush green plains of Punjab, riding my trusted old motorbike on Band Patri (track along the bank) of Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC). Many new and interesting things came in the way, which normally remain hidden from commuters on the National Highway or travellers in the area. The countryside embraces you with lovely colours, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.

As spring approaches, the traveller, especially in the irrigated tracts, ride through endless expanses of waving crops of different shades of colour, out of which the villages seem to rise like islets in an ocean of green.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 09, 2017, ,

Deals in dinning

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Gowalmandi Food and Heritage Street has become an enriching experience in Lahore. It is a wonder what a few million rupees spent on the renovation of built heritage with balconies and angular projections lining the street some years ago have done to the ambience of the street. Lahorites have already (and justifiably) stated comparing it with lanes in Rome, Paris and Athens. More so during Jashn-e-Baharan.

Sizzling spicy foods on display in Gowalmandi reminds of what Vasco de Gama shouted after setting his foot on South Asian soils on the dawn of May 21, 1498, "For Christ and spices!" No data for consumption of spices in Gowalmandi Food Street are available but a proprietor of one of the biggest shops in the street told, "On the average I sell about 120 Kilograms mutton and over 40 kilograms of chicken every day. People prefer to eat mutton karahi and chicken barbecued. A milk shop proprietor said, "My daily milk consumption - in the form of chilled milk, yogurt, Kheer, khoya, lassi -- is over 2000 kilograms."
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, May 08, 2017, ,

Dolls, Toys and More

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Free download Dolls, Toys and More - eBook by S A J Shirazi

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, May 06, 2017, ,


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