Quetta in Baluchistan Pakistan is the province’s capital city and the largest city of the South-Western province of Baluchistan of Pakistan.
Location of Quetta, Baluchistan Pakistan
Quetta is the largest city near the South West of Pakistan and 11 hours drive from both Islamabad and Karachi.
Quetta Time difference
The city is so far West from the nearest comparable city, it is 33 minutes ahead of Pakistan’s Standard Time (Solar time). But the clocks show the same PST as the rest of the country. That is GMT+5 hours.
What is Quetta Baluchistan like?
When you first approach Quetta city by air, you’d suddenly feel the ground getting browner with a lighter shade. Greenery would be sporadic patches of ever-green Quetta pine trees, only.
Weather of Quetta
The moment you get off from the plane, pleasant weather, the serenity, quietness and dryness of Quetta will stay with you forever. No one perspires in Quetta, as the humidity remains below 10% all year round. It never gets too hot in Quetta, even in peak summers just because of the near zero humidity and wind blowing through the Valley. It also snows during the month of January every year.
In summers when the temperature hits 40 0 C once.
Route map to Quetta from Islamabad
It is a little difficult to travel to Quetta by road, because you’d have to take the Sibi-Bolan route, since the Dera Ismail Khan – Zhob road is still not that well made. It is also difficult to reach Quetta by train, since the travel time is more than 24 hours from Islamabad, since there is no direct track there. Train is still a lot better than driving there. The views on the train are also breathtaking, especially the Bolan Pass.
What is Quetta famous for?
Quetta is famous for its
- Cool weather
- The Arid unique topography and vastness
- Fresh fruits like Apples, plums, cherries
- Dry fruits like pistachios, pine nuts and dried grapes
- Kitchen supplies and decorations from Iran are very unique
- Quetta staff college where Mountbatten studied, is another attraction.
- The cheap Irani petrol is quite easy on gas prices.
- The Hazara mongoloid people of Quetta are also quite famous mostly because of their unique facial features and beauty.
- The 1935 Quetta Earthquake that destroyed the whole city.
I love Quetta because I spent my childhood there.
Is Quetta a Valley?
Technically, yes, Quetta is surrounded from all four sides by reasonably high mountain ranges.
The city of Quetta is nestled just below the foothills of the majestic Koh e Murdaar (the mountain of dread). Snow that melts from the top of Koh e Murdaar feeds Quetta city. Quetta valley is protected from all four sides by high mountain ranges, Murdaar, Chilton, Mashlaq and Kuchlaq. No wonder the British India chose to establish their officers’ military school here. Mountbatten was also their alumni here.
Not that it helped Pakistan in any way.
Best Hotel of Quetta
Serena Hotel in Quetta is the safest and the best managed hotel in the city.
The architecture is themed like the mud huts of Baluchistan
Must see places of Quetta
So there is the list of nine must see places in Quetta, Baluchistan that is a sort of travel documentary , along with their pictures and images, Pakistan for you all:-
- Hanna Lake
- Urak waterway
- Speen Karez Dam
- Wali Tangi Dam
- Ziarat Pine Forest
- Ziarat Quaid Residency
- Legend of Mum of Koh e Murdar
- Quetta Army Staff College
- Bolan Market Quetta Cantonment
- The Ibex of Hazargani National Park
- Flights taking off at Samungli Air field
- Hazara (mongoloid) residential area Muriabad
- Temples of Quetta
- Khojak Pakistan Railway tunnel cart drive
- Drive to Pakistan Afghanistan border post Chaman
- Pir Ghaib / Bibi Nani reatreat and Waterfalls
- Historic Bolan Pass
- Mehr Garh ancient civilization
- Quetta Archaeological and Military Museum
- highest Khan Mehtarzai Railway Station
- Pishin animal festival
- Millennium Mall Quetta
- Liaquat Bazar Carpet market
Hanna lake is 30 minutes drive from Quetta Cantonment and is safe for families. This is the place where the Quetta crowd loves to picnic, trek, ride boats and just hang out with friends on holidays.
The lake fills up when it snows in the winters
Urak water way and Fruit orchards
Urak fruit gardens, waterway and park is 45 minutes from Quetta Cantonment and is also safe for families.
The best part is getting to eat the Apples, peaches, cherries and plums lined along the road.
The local farmers would let you eat directly from the trees.
This is how hospitable Balochi people are
I still have a missing pair of sun glasses that washed away in the gushing cool water of Urak proper.
Spin Karez Dams
The Spin Karez Dam is also 30 minutes drive from Quetta and has its own guest house. Both Hanna and Spin Karez dams were built by the British India colonials on the streams that were fed by snow melting off Koh e Murdaar mountain range. Due to global warming, it doesn’t snow that much anymore, maybe once every winter, and a few inches. Therefore, not much water collects in these two dams and there is hardly any fish there.
But when the Dam fills, up, life returns to the water with migratory birds from Siberia
Hazar Ganji Chiltan National park
The Hazar Ganji Park is one hours drive from Quetta, the last 20 minutes is on gravel road. Hazar Ganji national park is home to the Chiltan Markhor mountain goats.
These mountain goats look more like the Urial of Punjab, except with straighter horns. There is a beautiful mountain cabin right at the beginning of the Hazar Ganji National park, which you can hire by approaching the forest officer at Quetta town Centre. They even give you cooks to make Dam Pukht mutton roast, along with a park ranger for protection.
The park ranger looks more menacing than any terrorist that could come across. Lots of women and families visit this park to enjoy on weekends.
Guys, along with their crates of holy water, and peace pipes love this site isolated from prying eyes.
This site is for peace loving travelers
Ziarat Hill station and Fruit Farms
It takes 3 hours to reach Ziarat from Quetta. The road is perfect and safe. Ziarat is home to the oldest juniper tree forest in all of Pakistan.
Ziarat Juniper forest
This is not because Pakistanis have chopped down everything else. Ziarat receives very little rainfall all year round and it snows once a year. Hence, this Ziarat juniper pine wood is dense and naturally protected because of the dryness.
The few water reservoirs that have been dammed up are actually Tangi or narrow gorges, through with rainwater and melted snow has been flowing through for ages. These Tangis have helped locals raise fruit farms with the tastiest peach, plum, cherries, apple that I have ever tasted.
Ziarat Kharwari Baba Shrine
Ziarat has a Kharwari baba shrine in one of these gorges that you’d have to drive down towards from top of the mountain.
Ziarat Quaid e Azam Residency
Then there is the Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s guest house, where the poor guy was banished by blood sucking Pakistani elite that are still at it in this wretched country.
Mashlaq Mountain Top
At the opposite end of Quetta Valley is the Mushlaq mountain top drive will take at least three hours, as the last hour will be dust and gravel track to the top.
Mashlaq mountain range protects Quetta valley from the Western side. One a narrow passage allows vehicles through. There is a dirt road that leads to Mashlaq top.
From the top you can see the complete Quetta Valley and straight run to Shorawak, Afghanistan on the other side. During the Afghan war, the bombs that hit Shorawak could be heard all the way to this mountain top.
The night sky from Mushlaq top is something you’d have never seen before.
Karkuli wool Sheep
The Karakuli wool sheep are raised at Mushlaq range and have the finest wool used to make caps and high value products
Hiking at Mushlaq
Mashlaq top is part of the Hazar Ganji Chiltan national park, so it’s an excellent place to hike. Just don’t forget to mark you ground features, or you’d be lost in the entire wilderness, and would end up spending the night in the open. Not that It’s a bad thing, but it gets very scary and dark at night, with no human in sight for tens of miles. You’d have to wait for a goats herdsman to show you the way next day, while you are starving and thirsty.
Karez of Mushlaq
Did I mention Mashlaq still has the old Karez system of sub soil canal system intact and preserved?
Pir Ghaib waterfalls
Waterfalls of Pir Ghaib are 3 hours drive from Quetta on good road. The last part is gravel road. Pir Ghaib has a metaled road right up to the place.
This is where a local saint was murdered by the local warlord and his disciples believe that he was raised to heaven before that, yawn!
One thing is for sure, these saints really know how to find the best, heavenly places to preach. It also has clear water running through this isolated valley where sunlight hardly reaches and full of date palm trees.
The Bolan Pass is also 3 hours from Quetta. The road is fully metaled.
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Bolan Pass is from where, I believe, Ahmad Shah Durrani came through in 1748 to raid India, and get rich of the spoils of Hindu worker ants collecting gold dust in their temples. This is one of the easier exits from the Quetta Valley into Sindh and Punjab.
The colonial British used the same pass to arrogantly reach deep into Afghanistan
Railway track of Bolan
The dilapidated railway track across the bolan pass is like traveling in a time capsule. Two locomotives, on in front of your carriage and one at the back pull and push you up and through the Pass. You get to see untouched landscapes, beautiful waterways, bridges, tunnels, all that were considered engineering marvels of the time.
They still are marvels for our brain dead elite though, and that makes it ironically interesting.
Ibn e Batuta and Koh e Suleiman
In the fourteenth century, as per Ibn e Battuta, while traveling along the Indus River commented that the land beyond Koh e Suleman, is abysmal darkness. He belived that It was a two weeks run across bone dry and hot territory, with bandits aplenty, to reach the Sindhu river (Indus) and first signs of civilization in Multan.
Mostly people never reached the next next watering hole.
Come to think of it, the bandits are still there even after 700 years, only the road is a little better. While driving through the Bolan pass, the old British pul and tunnels appear suddenly; this, along with the clear water streams make this Bolan Pass, a must visit place.
9000 years old Mehr Garh archeological site
Mehr Garh is the oldest archaeological site in Pakistan, that was inhabited somewhere around 7th BC.
The layout of Mehr Garh is better than most of the recent towns in Pakistan.
The only drawback is that Mehr Garh is smack in the Centre of badas* brigand land.
PAF Base Samungli and its airfield is one hours drive from Quetta city.It is a pleasure to watch aircraft take off from the runway in crystal clear visibility.
If you don’t get permission from the Airfield authorities, just climb up a close by mountain and observe the spectacle in 4K quality
Askari and Quetta Cantonment Parks
Askari and cantonment Parks are full of pine trees. These are the only places you see families enjoying time with lady folks.
With their carefully manicured fields and pine trees, Askari and Cantonment Park are a breath of fresh air in a dry and arid place. It’s only here that you realize that Quetta and Baluchistan has women too. The food courts around Askari and Cantonment parks are clean and delicious too. There are some good rides in the parks too.
Spin Boldok Chaman Border post
It takes 3 hours to get to Spin Boldok. Driving out through the Kuchlaq exit of Quetta Valley, you reach Chaman Border Post, called spin Boldok.
This is smuggling central for all of Pakistan.
- Drugs: all sorts are available maybe including Quetiapine for Schizophrenia
- Stolen vehicles
- left over military fatigues
I once bought a Russian soldier’s blood stained wooly cap, during the height of USSR’s invasion of the country, from an Uzbek afghan in Spin Boldok.
now you get NATO and USA’s forces memorabilia.
On the way to Chaman border you’d see how well-entrenched the British were in their fortifications overlooking Chaman, to ensure no barbarians raided their dear Quetta Valley.
Alam Dar Road Hazara town Mari Abad
The Alam Dar road is right behind the Quetta Cantonment. Alam Dar road, as the name sake, is the heartland of fanatically Shia, Hazara People of Pakistan.
With their striking good looks and western looking physique, Hazara people are a novelty in Quetta and much sought after. Lots of dark dudes like me get rich just to snag a Hazara lady.
Alam Dar road is where you’d see civilized, educated, music and arts appreciating people of Quetta. Do be carefully; they are really into martial arts, the bone crushing kind.
The view of Mari Abad from the foot hills of Koh e Murdaar at night in clear weather is gorgeous.
Wali Tangi fresh water Dam
The water is crystal clear and it has a stone shaped like an animal.
Khan Mehtarzai highest railway station of Pakistan
This railway station is located at the remotes and the most beautiful sites in all of Pakistan. at 2200 meters altitude, it freezes over in winters.
Liaquat Bazar Hand Knit Carpet Shops
The Handknit carpets of Liaquat Bazar, especially the Kafkaz design ones, are a must to buy.
Quetta Staff College
What can I say about Quetta staff college that hasn’t been said before.
The alma mater of this institution have subjugated and abused the people of Pakistan like no other enemy could have done.
It was designed by the colonial British to produce the most intelligent sociopaths, that love power, and would go to any lengths to attain it – including murdering their own people.
And it has done wonders in this aspect.
Therefore, it must be visited at least once.
Temples of Quetta
Quetta once had a thriving Christian, Parsi, Hindu and even Jewish population.
I could only reach a few of the Hindu temples.
Outside of Quetta, the best sites to see are
- Moola Chotak of Khuzdar,
- the Hindu temple of Zhob,
- Coal Mines,
- Drive from Quetta to Karachi
- Chaghi Gold mines
- Gwadar port
These I leave for the next post.
So, if you have to go to Quetta, enjoy your stay and travel; it’s not a death warrant.
Quetta Gladiators Cricket Team
The city of Quetta has a cricket team that shot to fame in the 2019 national Pakistan Super League final against Peshawar Zalmi and is a hot favourite ever since.