Northern areas attract thousands on Eid vacations

In Local
April 14, 2024



ABBOTTABAD/
BALAKOT:

Packed with the baggage of cooked food, fruits and tents for camping at the picturesque Thandyani, Qaiser Khan and his family rejoiced after visiting their dream tourist resort during the Eidul Fitr holidays.

They enjoyed snow games, mountaineering and trekking amid rainy weather conditions.

An ex-Wapda employee, Qaisar and his sons Zershan and Ehtisham, enjoyed national and cultural songs such as “Sohni Dharti” and “Monga da Khyber Zalmi” on their music system. They were also busy fixing and hammering bolts on tents in a suitable location in Thandyani.

The family was looking forward to enjoying the rainy weather on the weekend without any cost. Amid disappearing sun behind clouds hovering over Thandyani hills amid blossom of seasonal flowers, Qaiser’s wife who belonged to Wapda Town Nowshera, was seen preparing green tea on a gas stove after warming up the Peshawar’s famous Chappli Kabab, Paye and Polao (rice dish) they brought along and making it ready on ‘Dastarkhwan’ to serve her family members on Saturday.

“Galiyat is my favourite tourist place. I planned Galiyat’s tour a few years ago but postponed it due to travel restrictions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and today dream of my family to see its mesmerising natural beauty with soothing environment came true,” said Qaiser.

Wearing traditional Peshawari Chappal, the 59-year-old tourist said that he had brought tents and other stuff along as the hotel room and food cost is very high for a common man at Galiyat. “The rent of a normal two-bedroom per night in Thandyani and Nathiyagali is approximately Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 which was beyond the capacity of the middle class”, he added.

Like Qaiser Khan, thousands of families and tourists arrived at northern Khyber Pakthunkhwa especially Malakand and Hazara divisions including Galiyat and Thandyani to explore its waterfalls, gushing rivers and lakes of Saiful Malook, Ansoo, Dudipath and Mahoodhand and colonial era tracks besides enjoying the expensive trout fish and water boating in River Kunhar at Kaghan and Khanpur dam at Haripur.

“Despite torrential rains in K-P and Punjab, the response of tourists, adventurers and sportsmen in Malakand and Hazara during the Eid holidays was impressive,” Saad Khan, said the spokesman for the Cultural and Tourism Authority.\

He said that Galiyat, Thandyani and Nathiagali, Kaghan and Naran including Saiful Malook and Ansoo lakes in Manshera district were the most visited destinations during the Eid holidays.

Four Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) would be developed at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral, Khan said, adding these ITZs would be constructed with a loan grant of $70 million from the World Bank. He further said that the ITZs of Thandyani and Mankiyal would be connected with Swat and Hazara motorways through link roads that would open up entire Malakand and Hazara for tourists and make Pakistan a hub of international tourism.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2024.

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