Colors of Baluchistan

Baluchistan has always remained a pretty mesmerizing place for me. My first visit to Quetta was in 2002 when I traveled from Karachi and explored Quetta surroundings and Chaman. Then I came back again on two different visits – one, on the way back from Iran via Taftan by road in Jan 2007 and another as part of covering 4 provinces in 4 days in March 2008. All of these three trips were solo travels that had its own charm. Baluchistan is mostly barren. Mountains here are although dry they have their own charm and has a very different attraction than that of the ones in North.

Since my last travel however, things had not been very good or Baluchistan or at least this is what we perceive from thew news coverage in media. During last Trekkers Meetup in December 2016, Aziz Jamali sb gave a small talk on Baluchistan and options to explore there. He also clarified some of the misconceptions regarding latest security situation there. This motivated quite a few of us and we decided to leverage the upcoming long weekend on 23rd March and visit Baluchistan.

Although there are some options to go to Quetta directly from Islamabad on buses and private cars but from my travel in 2008, I had a special attraction for the road from DIKhan to Zhob via Suleman mountains range and I wanted to cover it again. We thus decided to opt for this route. We booked Daewoo for Thursday night so that we can reach DIKhan before Fajir and cover this Zhob road in the morning. We had a van already booked through one of our friends based in DIKhan who joined us soon after we reached daewoo terminal. This allowed us to leave before Fajir. We offered Fajir at Daraban and had breakfast there. The amazing road took us to Zhob from where the driver decided to take Lorali and Sanjavi route to Ziarat instead of Qila Saifullah and Muslimbagh, a decision that he later regretted. Road was acceptable till Sanjavi but was in a miserable condition beyond it till Ziarat. We reached Ziarat around 9 in the night and stayed at a rest house that we had already got booked.

Next day, we left for Zizri valley. Plan was to climb Khalifat peak. However luck was not in our favor. One of our friends, Sajjad got slipped and got his angle fractured. Luckily we had just started and not gone too far from road before the accident happened so we took him back to Ziarat. To our dismay, there was no proper medical facility available in Ziarat town and we had to take him to Quetta immediately. In Quetta, we took Sajjad to civil hospital where the xrays confirmed his fracture and it got him his leg plastered. It was very unfortunate but Sajjad remained composed. He decided to remain on rest at Jamali sb’s place with his brothers and pushed us to continue with our plan.

Next day, Feroze and Taimur, our local hosts in Quetta offered to take us to Shaban valley that we happily accepted. Baluchistan has a very different and captivating terrain. It doesn’t have lush green meadows as of North but the terrain has its own charm. Shaban valley was the charm of this typical Baluch landscape.

Any trip to Baluch mainland cannot happen without enjoying their traditional delicious food. If you are a meat lover, you are in heaven. Food and shopping were our other two main targets along with traveling and exploring places so we didn’t miss it either 🙂 We did manage to have the very famous khadda kabab that is whole lamp roasted underground for 405 hours with rice inside. It was amazing. We enjoyed other traditional Baluchistan dishes too like Rosh and special Baluchi sajji.

 

 

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