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09/12/10  History:

The history of Ziarat during the British colonial administration is the same as that of the Sibi district of which it was a part until 1986. The area came under British colonial influence by the middle of the last century, and was made a part of British India in 1887 like the rest of the old Sibi district. Two years earlier, in 1885, the British Government had acquired land for construction of a civil station (at the present Ziarat town), on payment of Rs.1,400,000 to the Saidzai sub section of the Sarangzai tribe. Before the creation of Sibi district (in 1903), Ziarat used to be the summer headquarters of Thal and Chutiali District (Duki Sajavi Sub Division). Later when the Sibi District was created in 1903, it became Sibi District’s summer headquarters. It formed a part of Shahrigh Tehsil of Sibi District till 1974 when it was given the status of a sub-Tehsil.

Before Independence, the camp offices of the Agent to the Governor General in Baluchistan; the Revenue Commissioner, Baluchistan; the Civil Surgeon, Baluchistan; the Political Agent and the Colonisation officer, Nasirabad, used to shift to Ziarat during the summer. Following the creation of Sibi Division in 1974, the divisional offices shifted to Ziarat during the summer.

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, spent his last days at Ziarat Residency which is now a National Monument. The local people believe that the Quaid-e-Azam had in fact breathed his last here in Ziarat, contrary to the official reports that he expired in Karachi on 11 September, 1948, the day he was shifted there from Ziarat. The residency building is a majestic piece of architecture, but people visit it primarily for its association with the Quaid-e-Azam.

Ziarat Valley:

A visit to Quetta is incomplete without a trip to Ziarat. Situated 76 miles (3 hours by car) from Quetta, at an altitude of 8400 feet above sea level, Ziarat is a holiday resort amidst one of the largest and oldest Juniper forests in the world. It is said that some of the Juniper trees are as old as 5000 years. The name Ziarat means 'Shrine' a local saint, Kharwari Baba, is belived to have rested in the valley and blessed it. After his death he was buried here. People frequently visit the saint's shrine, which is 10 km by jeep from Ziarat.

Extensive research is being done in the forest nurseries to replace the juniper forest with fast growing trees as the regeneration of the juniper is very slow.

The magic of Ziarat lies in its honey-flowers which attain a large size here, its lush green grass and cool weather even in the hottest months of summer. 'Shinshoab' a lavendar-like wild bush, looks lovely in twilights. There are many interesting spots to visit around Ziarat. At first, the Quaid-e-Azam residency which was built in 1882, is a terrific place to visit which still reminds one of the times when the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent the last days of his life. A walk to Chashma is favourite amongst joggers and those who wish to have a pleasant walk. Situated 6 km from Ziarat the 'Prospect Point' offers breathtaking view of the valley.

Hundreds of hectares in and around Ziarat are utilized for apple orchards. Apple grown in the orchards, particularly the black and red kulu variety, are simply delicious. A fair amount of black cherry is also grown in Ziarat. The cherry season lasts from the 1st to 15th of June. Tourist season is all year round, particularly form May to October. Ziarat remains quite cool during hot summer and receives enough snowfall during winters. Light woolen clothing for summer and heavy for winters, are recommended. All in all Ziarat offers a nice cool vacation spot for travelers of all ages.

Topography Ziarat:

The district is mostly mountainous area. It is roughly a rectangular piece of country comprising several valleys. The principal valleys are: Kach, Kawas, Ziarat, Zandra, Mangi, Mana, & Gogi Ahmadoon. The altitude ranges from 1800 - 3,488 meters.

The soil is loamy on both sides of the streams, and loamy stony in other places, varying in hardness according to proportion of clay and shingle. In most parts of the valleys, the fields are in terraces, the faces of which are carefully riveted with stones. The hill torrents are kept within bounds by well-constructed spurs of timber and rush wood. In rainy seasons the floodwater brought by hill torrents is diverted on to the fields. The fertile mud is beneficial for the cultivation of valuable crops.

In the dead of winter the temperature often falls well below zero Celsius. The temperature ranges from (-) 160 to 200 C.

Climate Ziarat:

The area is refreshingly cool in summer, from May to August. It starts getting cold in September and is extremely cold during November - March. In winter, it gets a good amount of snowfall.

Average rainfall is 20.60 mm. The range is 53.8 mm -1.3 mm. The months of January - March in winter and July – August in summer receive most of the rainfall.

Important places/Buildings:

The entire area in the upper parts of Ziarat district is worth visiting for its natural beauty, its enchanting juniper forests, mountain peaks, the lush green valleys, springs and streams. The popular sights are Ziarat town and surroundings the Qaid’s Residency, the shrine of Baba Kharwari, Zizri valley, Prospect point, Mana valley, Sandeman Tangi, Karvi Kach and Khilafat peak. These are briefly described below.

Ziarat:

Ziarat is the holiday resort of the province and no visit to Quetta is complete without a trip to Ziarat. The district is famous for its ancient and magnificent juniper forest which spreads over 126,000 acres, and is the second largest in the world. Some of the trees are almost 4,000 years old.

Residency:

The most famous landmark is, of course, the Residency. It was here that the Father of the nation spent his last days. The building, constructed in 1892, was originally meant to serve as a sanatorium but was later converted into the summer residence of the Agent to the Governor General (AGG). It has now been declared a national monument.

Shrine of Baba Kharwari:

The shrine (Ziarat) of Baba Kharwari (whose real name was Mula Tahir) is one of the most well known places in the district. Baba Kharwari rendered great services to the cause of Islam in the early 18th century. His shrine is situated about 9 km from the town and a large number of people who visit Ziarat go to the Mazar to offer Fateha.

Zizri Valley:

Zizri valley, situated on the southern edge of the district, possesses a breathtaking beauty. The road leading to the valley is kacha, rough, and tractable mainly by four wheel drive vehicles.

Prospect Point:

Six km from the town, this place offers a spectacular view of the Koshki valley. There is a local government resthouse on this spot and a wide open space for picnic/camping.

Mana Valley:

This lush green valley with its apple orchards and scintillating blue lake is a popular tourist site.

Sandeman Tangi:

Within easy reach of the town, this narrow gorge between lofty mountains culminates in a perennial spring. This is another major tourist attraction.

Khalifat Peak:

This is the second highest peak in the province – 3,488 m high. For climbers it presents a real challenge. The district is blessed with an overall natural beauty. There are many more places of interest than those mentioned above. In the summer season, thousands of tourists visit the area.

 

 




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