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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, , links to this post

Pashmina Color Galore

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At Spencer's Pashmina

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 16, 2017, , links to this post

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, , links to this post

Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan trilogy

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The first thought that came into my mind after visiting Okara can be described by four words: milk, butter, mammals and farms. Peers also told me the same. Besides Harappan ruins, I did not know the area. But one thing I did know, though, was that I should be happy to say goodbye to the place. Two years later, I felt drawn to the area and its people and it was very hard for me to part. There is so much to be seen, so much to be done. Above all, it has spirited, sincere and full-of-love people living in Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan historic trilogy. The distances in the hinterland are short but the landscape is so enormous that it had to be studied in parts like a large mural seen by a child.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, May 12, 2017, , links to this post

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, , links to this post

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, , links to this post

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, , links to this post

Din Mein Charagh

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Books have been bringing changes in human relationships and making difference in the lives of people. The power of worlds has caused people to loose their existence or to better them. Abbas Khan spends lot of time in reading. He reads philosophy to understand how varying points of view about existence are presented and psychology to know how philosophers come up with those points of view, Greek mythology to learn about their strong love of nature and Roman history to explore what they gave to the world.

For this he has explored annals of history, philosophies, biographies, autobiographies, and literature spread over centuries. He has mediated upon what he finds life building and has put them up in his eleventh book entitled Din Main Charagh for readers to benefit. His other published work includes three novels and seven short story books: Zakham Gawah Hain, Tu Aur Tu and Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada (novels), Dharti Binam Akash, Tensikh-e-Insan, Qalam, Kursi Aur Wardi, U’s Adalat Men, Jism Ka Johar (short story books) and Reza Reza Keenat and Pal Pal (afsancha -- shortest story books).
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, May 05, 2017, , links to this post

How I write and self publish

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Every body has a book in his mind, as they say. But, everybody trying to write one is a different thing, and self-publishing one is yet another. There are lots of considerations that induce people into writing about various things: people, events, ideas, issues, passions, observation, noble causes, problems and more. Some of these are pricked by their strong sense of right and wrong to raise their voice for or against a cause of their own or of their community's interest, while some others do it to cover up some disrepute and or misdemeanors. There are those who do it for amusement. And the ones for whom writing is a career. Of the many other classifications, there is a class of writers and it is a very well populated fraternity that takes its writings as a means to achieve an end. The end, of course, varies from person to person, but the mercenary passion with which the community members market (yes, market) themselves remains constant.

As a sub category of this specie there are among them the innocent writers who keep visiting publishing houses simply in a hope that some day someone will be convinced about the great idea presented by them and will be willing to invest on the publication of their work. The writer whom I am going to profile here is a commoner. That seems to be his first problem. When the first time he took the draft of his book to a well-reputed publishing house, the owner of a publishing house enlightened him to go do something else instead of writing. My writer friend was surprised with how the owner had given his opinion even without setting an eye on the draft of his life long labour of love.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 02, 2017, , links to this post


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