Sunday, 8 July 2012

Ten Wonderful Things to See and Do in Pakistan

Who says nobody can have fun in Pakistan? With so many beautiful places and virtually unlimited possibilities for hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and other sports, a trip to Pakistan can be your ultimate Pakistani escape. Here's where you can go when your plane stops on this side of the globe.
1.) Moenjodaro
Located 350 kilometers off Karachi, Moenjodaro was considered one of the most spectacular cities of the ancient times. The ruins of this ancient city in the Indus Valley never fail to give travelers knowledge of the ancient life and the marvel of early systems of town planning. Walk along the remains of this olden city and witness the way of life, the culture and the traditions early Pakistani lived by.
2.) Ansoo Lake
See the famous teardrop-shaped lake of Pakistan. Located some 14,000 feet above sea level, Ansoo Lake is can be found in Kaghan Valley in the Himalayan Range. Be ready for some serious hiking though because there are no forms of transportation available except for some mules and horses which may not be able to carry you all the way up.
3.) Karachi
Who said that the urban life will spoil Karachi's beauty? Karachi hosts a number of museums, shops, islands, clubs, beachfronts, colonial buildings, amusement parks, and more. So strap on that sturdy shoes and head out and find your own adventure in the busy streets of Karachi.
4.) Abbottabad
Abbottabad is a popular summer resort that can be found at the end of Murree-Abbottabad hill tract. Find your place to rest in its pine-covered hills, lush parks and gardens, and superb golf courses. Travel here and discover the gateway leading you to your next adventure rally point.
5.) Deosai National Park
Located in the Karakoram Range near the Indian border and southeast of Skardu, Deosai National Park is located in one of the highest plateaus in the world - the Deosai plains. Doesai National Park serves as home for the Himalayan brown bear, ibexes, red foxes, wolves, urials, snow leopards, and some native and migratory birds. Travel to the Deosai Plains and experience nature as it unfurls 13,500 feet above sea level.
6.) Taxila
Founded some time in the 6th or 7th century BC, Taxila is an ancient city and a center for Buddhist learning. A 30-kilometer drive northwest from Islamabad will take you back in the times of legendary warrior leaders like Alexander the Great, Asoka and Kanishka. Follow the trail around this ancient city and discover religion, culture, tradition and history as it bare itself for you.
7.) Hunza Valley
Hunza Valley is located in the Northern Areas of Pakistan with an elevation of some 2 438 meters. This makes Hunza Valley a place for viewing some of the most astounding and majestic mountains the world has. Take a trek to this valley and see the sceneries that keep on revealing themselves with your own eyes.
8.) Harappa
Relive the Indus valley history and the lives of its people by going in this historical place in Punjab. Walk along the partly-buried city and discover for yourself the beauty of this lost city. Visit its site and marvel at the extensive planning and learn more about the civilization almost forgotten by the world.
9.) Trekking and Mountaineering
Travel to the Northern Areas of Pakistan and find yourself in the midst of numerous climbing, mountaineering and trekking options. This region in Pakistan is where three mountain ranges - the Karakoram, Himalayas and Hindukush - meet, and that means three times the fun. Hold your jaw, fasten your harness and test your ropes because your trip to this side of Pakistan will give you your ultimate high altitude fun.
10.) Basant Festival
Go to the city of Lahore in the beginning of spring and let the million flying kites welcome you in this colorful festival. Kite flying is the major activity for this festival and as many as 100,000 from all-over Pakistan and other neighboring countries go to Lahore and have their stake in the sky. Don some colorful clothes, party in gardens and rooftops and watch equestrian events, this event should never be missed.
Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV - the place to share travel videos []. Visit [] to view or share Pakistan travel videos [].
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Role of Gems in Artificial Jewelry

Gemstones have been used for many years as jewelry. The jewels add sparkle and flair to the person wearing the gemstone. These gemstones have also been used in the robes of kings and queens. Precious stones also had been studded in the crown of the kings.
Even today these precious stones are considered the status symbol. People love to buy stones for their rarity, popularity and specially for their attractive colors.
There are many types of gemstones, for example, rubies sapphires, cat eyes, coral jet, amber, topaz, opal, turquoise diamond, jade etc.These stones are unique in their shine, color hardness and attraction jewelry precious common dress a special one.
Today the priorities of people have been changed while choosing jewelry. They have turned their way towards gems when gold prices have been hiked
China, India and Northern areas of Pakistan are famous for gemstones. Tourists from all over the world come to these areas and they purchase it and increase the foreign exchange of the country.
Most of the people think that stones have great impact on one's life. So they should be put on matching with the stars (zodiac signs) otherwise they could have malign effects.
Now a days it has been noticed that these gems not only make jewelry precious but also they are used in dresses, shoes hand bags and many more. Their sparkle and shine makes the object more valuable.
A research has proved that all good designs are first introduced in artificial jewelry and later on they are recommended for gold jewelry.
I have performed research on many types of jewelry and concluded that a jeweler or group of jewelers is playing vital role to introduce new designs in artificial jewelry.
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Hunza Valley - Where Time Stops - And Fairies Tread

Hunza, that mostly remains covered under the sacred gown of snow in winter, when undrapes, the sensuous hilly contour and the luxurious vegetation become a magnet to all and sundry. The indigenous population becomes live in the vibrant spring season after a long freezing winter
Hunza, the lands of fairytales, where the snowcapped hills are like the dancing floor for the Aphrodite. Where the rivers roar in excitement and brush the stones to make them pebbles. Where the soft breeze murmurs to divulge the centuries old secrets. Where the old pine trees still embrace the clouds with warmth and passion to swing the droplets on flexible twigs. A terrain of serenity, and beholder of eternal beauty that may, for a second or two, make the onlooker oblivious of the worldly life.
Hunza, in the northernmost part of Northern Areas of Pakistan, was once a princely state, which, in 1974 lost its royal status to join hands with the Government of Pakistan.
In the South, the Gilgit agency borders it while towards the East the former princely state of Nagar fringes its margins. The valley of Hunza also enjoys the neighborhood of China to the North and Afghanistan to the Northwest. The celebrated town of Baltit, which, know, is known, as Karimabad is its capital.
Hunza was an independent princely state for 900 years ruled by "Mirs" until 1974. It remained as a subordinate of Kashmir during the regime of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, while the Mirs of Hunza used to send an annual tribute, as a token of their loyalty, to the Raja's court since 1947.
Geographically, gigantic mountains that have stretched over an area of 110 kilometers surround the valley. The terrain is full of variety with diversity in the heights of the peaks of 1500 meters to 8000 meters, the world-famous Rakaposhi (7788 m) peak is one of them which, against the calm blue sky, shimmers to the maximum and creates an illusion to captivate the eye up to a level where time seems to be stopping for ever.
The heights of Rakaposhi (7788 m) and the Ultar (77388 m) are the backdrops of this paradise valley where the glacial water of Ultar is known for some therapeutic distinctiveness, which, in favorable circumstances have caused the aboriginal populace, long life and a very low ratio of heart diseases. Researchers are pondering over the natural composition of this glacial water to disclose the secret that causes a longer life.
The valley is blessed naturally with luxuriantly green orchards (mostly of Apricot), streams full of dancing waters, roaring rivers, and meadows stretching in the quietude like that of heavens at a height which, is a unique feature of Pakistani Northern Areas. The juniper, pine and Dev Dar are the trees that, in their trunk rings, have recorded the cycles of rainy and snowy seasons of numerous centuries.
The blue of sky, the emerald of flora and the turquoise of water add to the palette nature has used to paint this landscape full of mountains, trees and flowers with a divine composition of colors and the brightness of the rising sun, worshiped by the whiteness of the snow which, on some peaks, have never melted for billions of years.
The Northern Areas of Pakistan are divided into five districts on administrative grounds where the chief secretary who is controlled by the federal government from Islamabad governs.
This soil has seen the invasions from the horse ridden Aryans to the powerful Greeks, the Persians and Afghans to the Muslims, and that is why the loam of this area has engrossed the aroma of different civilizations and the culture of various bordering nations.
The first century AD marks this area as the trade center like the Kashgar while from the 4th to 11th century AD, it was a hub of Buddhist culture under the Sogdiana dynasty, later on; Kushans, Hindus, Shahis and then Muslims influenced this part of the world.
Hunza being a remote area has got a mythical position in world tourism. This area was opened to the entire world in 1970 after the completion of historic Korakoram Highway (KKH), engineered on the remains of ancient silk rout from Pakistan into China.
The people of Hunza are believed to be the descendants of soldiers from Alexander's army even as the indigenous language Burushaski is still enigmatic, as no traces or links have been found regarding this language, to any other known tongue of the globe.
Mostly, the local people are in the cultivation of apricots, a brand of this valley. You may find the roofs of almost every home in orange due to the drying of these apricots, which is a common practice here. While if you feel obsessed to capture these shades of orange color, be careful! As more often than not, it is women who are indulged in the business of drying apricots and do not like to be exposed in front of any sort of lens.
Baltit fort in Karimabad is a place of ultimate joy, where standing on its terrace, you may find it stunning to look up at the mountains all around, but right at the foot of the fort, the beautiful little houses of the town of Karimabad would capture your ogle, a natural and picturesque view.
Spring is the season of joy, delight and expression of elation. Birds sing, plants ornate themselves with new leaves and flowers, and ultimately, all this attracts every living being. The face of earth, especially in fertile areas, changes dramatically as somebody would have painted an infinite canvas in exuberant colors. The hills being overwhelmed by natural forests on greater scale put on, a show of unmatchable flora with diverse shapes and limitless tinge.
Hunza, that mostly remains covered under the sacred gown of snow in winter, when undrapes, the sensuous hilly contour and the luxurious vegetation become a magnet to all and sundry. The indigenous population becomes live in the vibrant spring season after a long freezing winter when the temperatures in negative scale, make the life null and void.
As the valley of Hunza has seen many diverse cultures and civilizations through a passage of centuries from the Persian kings to Alexander the great, Kushans to Hindus and Buddhists to Muslims. The richness of Hunza culture is quite obvious, its folk music, dance, rituals and food have got the touch of diverse influences. Although now, the majority of population is Ismailites-Muslims but the rich culture of Hunza unveiled assorted and exclusive taste through traditional dresses, jewelry, cuisine, rituals and crafts.
Spring starts in Hunza in April with pleasant weather and roads gets open after snowy winters. But even then the best time is May and June as Hunza Festival is also celebrated at that juncture of time.
The start of spring in this astonishing valley put on display the variety of colorful and scintillating panorama where one could feel the magic and pleasure of natural beauty.
"All those things are beautiful, the perception of which please", said Shakespeare.
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Tourism in Islamic Republic

Tourism in Islamic republic of Pakistan is very popular for the serene natural beauty of the country as well as the cultural heritage that dates back to many centuries. International tourists come to this year round tourist's destination and a number of international airlines fly to Pakistan. According to a recent statistics more than 25 international airlines fly to Pakistan from over 40 countries. Most of the international Pakistan flights reach at its major aviation hub i.e. Karachi. But some airlines also operate direct flights to Capital city of Islamabad such as; PIA, British Airways, Saudia and China Xingjian Airlines. PIA, Indian Airlines, Saudia and Thai Airways fly direct to Lahore. Although the country has recently seen many crises but now it is moving towards betterment and the social and economic situation of the country is getting much better day by day. Not only holiday makers but also business travelers like to consider cheap Pakistan flights.
Natural Features: Northern areas of Pakistan are most popular feature of tourism in Asia as well as in the country. Some of the most naturally blessed regions are Swat, Kalam, Malam Jeba, Kaghan, Naran, Kashmir, Chitral, Muree, and many others. Foreign travelers come to these areas especially during summer season when they offer a cool weather and pleasant atmosphere. If you want to have a tour to these awesome places then consider taking flights to Pakistan in the peak summer months i.e. May through September. In summer months the temperature is below freezing point, roads are blocked and snow falling is common. These areas also provide you opportunity of having adventure sports there.
Historical and Cultural Features: Indus Valley Civilization, Gandhara Heritage, Mughal and early Muslim Heritage are most prominent cultural and historical features of Pakistan. Architecture lovers are just crazy to take flights to Pakistan and take a glance at marvelous shrines, mosques and forts located in and around Multan, Lahore, Islamabad and Bahawalpur such as; Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria, Shah Rukan-e-Alam, Hazrat Shams Tabrezi, Lahore Fort, Shahi Mosque, and Faisal Mosque that are master pieces of Muslim architecture. The archaeological remains found in Taxila, Herapa and Mohingodoro are unique and matchless.
Modern Age Features: Pakistan started its journey as an independent nation in 1947 but with the passage of time the country has seen many developments. The country has now too many attractions to lure all types of travelers. These attractions make tourists taken flights to Pakistan feel pleasure and they include; Theatres, Art galleries, Cinemas, entertainment complexes, Music clubs, sports clubs, domestic and international airports, hotels and restaurants, and many more.
Flight to Pakistan accommodates visitors open heartedly and warmly welcomes the people showing the eager to probe flights to Pakistan
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Pau Tourism - A Historical Guide Through the Streets of Pau

The city of Pau, in the south west of France possesses an abundance of historical charm just waiting to be discovered. Memories from Medieval times, revisiting the Renaissance, or remembering the role of the Romantics are just a few of the many riches you will encounter whilst exploring this culturally diverse city.
An obvious place to start your historical tour of Pau is the local tourism office (Office de Tourisme, 2 Rue Henri IV) where you will find numerous guides and leaflets (in English, Spanish, German, as well as French) outlining suggested walks and routes through the city. The tourism office itself has its own little piece of history. It was initially a hotel, constructed in the 18th century, and was the final resting place of Lord Selkirk of Canada.
"The Three Kingdoms" guide, found within the "History and Heritage" leaflet (Office de Tourisme), is undoubtedly the best way to ascertain Pau's rich past. Starting from Henri IV Street (Rue Henri IV), the guide leads you through an assortment of inspiring locations, including Bernadotte Museum, the Money Tower, and of course, the birthplace of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre - Pau Castle. There are twelve stages detailed within "The Three Kingdoms" guide, geographically assembled in a convenient way for tourists. Here is a summary of what to expect from those twelve areas.
1. The Tourism Office is the first port of call. Grab as many guides and free information as you can before setting out for a great day of history and culture.
2. Rue Henri IV is actually the same street as the Tourism Office, but after walking just a few strides you will see the subtle transformations from 16th, 17th and 18th century architecture. Notice the sculpted pillars and iron-wrought balconies, as well as the terracotta cobbles indicative of a Pyrenees building exterior.
3. The Parliament of Navarre was founded around 1620 after Louis XIII signed the Edict of Union of Bearn and France. The Parliament adopted the former Law Courts as its meeting place; a building originally erected in 1585, re-built after fire damage in 1716, and eventually vacated in 1856 when new premises where found. The original Law Courts have now been renovated and are home to the Pyrenees-Atlantiques General Council.
4. Pau Castle is the centre-piece of Pau's decorated history, being the birthplace of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre. From the Empress's Chambers to the Renaissance Gardens, you will find nine centuries of memories within, and surrounding its walls. The Castle features one of the largest tapestry collections outside of Paris, numerous, exquisite pieces of furniture and the tortoise shell which was used as a cradle for Henri IV. Cross the Gramont Bridge to access the Castle, admiring the stunning view of the Pyrenees in the distance.
5. The Castle Quarter is a collection of Medieval and Renaissance buildings re-structured in the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. Rue du Chateau features a number of private mansions and residences, each with their own story to tell. Visit the House of Sully (Peyre House) and touch the lucky door-knocker, see where Jean de Gassion, Marshal of France was born, wander over to Place des Etats, and then onto one of Pau's oldest streets, Mill Street (Rue du Moulin).
6. Admire more stunning 17th and 18th century architecture while strolling down Rue Joffre until you reach Queen Margaret Square (la Place Reine-Marguerite). This is Pau's oldest square, dating back to the 15th century, and was officially regarded as the edge of the city. It was a grim place known for public executions at the gallows, and was previously referred to as Market Square (Place du Marche).
7. The Hedas Quarter is as old as Pau itself. Initially structured around the stream which serviced the residents' water and washing needs, it also became a popular place for artisans to come and collect the building supplies they needed, including cobbles, sand and gravel. It is recognised as the oldest residential district within Pau's confines, and during its most boisterous years, featured many inns, cabarets and strangely, cow-racing!
8. At number 8 Rue Tran is the Bernadotte Museum. This 18th century Bearnais house is the birthplace of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who later became the King of Sweden, Norway and Eastern Pomerania. Born in 1763, Bernadotte started out as a soldier, and then moved up the military ranks to become Brigadier-General for Napoleon's Army, and later Imperial Marshall. He was eventually elected Royal Prince of Sweden in 1810, before taking the throne from King Charles XIII in 1818, and his descendents still reign in Sweden to this day.
9. La Place Gramont is the only 19th century building in Pau to have been completely renovated. In 1779, an engineer by the name of Francois Flamichon put his own fortune into constructing an elliptical-designed building, but died before it was finished. After being completed in 1838, the monument was called Place Gramont, as a gesture to a governor by the name of Gramont who had sustained Flamichon's venture.
10. La Porte Corisande, or Corisande Gate, is named after one of Henri IV's many lovers. It can be found on Rue Lassansaa, a street dedicated to the nanny who looked after Henri IV.
11. The Money Tower (Tour de la Monnaie) is found adjacent to the Renaissance Gardens, and was Bearn's mint, producing coins with the king's head on one side, and a cow on the reverse side. Camp Batailhe is the square neighbouring the tower, and was renowned for many religious trials and public duels, before eventually becoming a popular workshop for craftspeople.
12. "The Three Kingdoms" circuit concludes at Saint-Martin Square, in proximity to the Parliament. Saint Martin is the patron saint of Pau, and inside the magnificent church in honour of his name, a number of impressive paintings can be found.
This twelve stop guide to Pau's historical features is a great way to catch a glimpse into Pau's past, but by no means a bible in terms of touring the city. However, it is a great starting point and will give every tourist the groundwork knowledge to cater towards their own tastes and preferences in relation to a cultural visit of Pau.
S Kavanagh
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The Benefits Of Staying At A French Residence De Tourisme For Your Ski Holiday

France is unique in having the Residence de Tourisme concept - this is self catered chalets and apartments yet with hotel/chalet services optionally being available on site - such as breakfast, someone for help and advise, etc.
Many of us are now choosing self catering accommodation in these times when we are all trying to reduce our costs. Many also prefer self catering for groups and families, as you have your own personal space. However, there are also many disadvantages of self catered accommodation:- you usually collect your keys from an estate agents office and you are on your own for the week, no one is on hand to help with advice about the local area, if there are power or water cuts (which do happen quite often in mountain villages) there is no one on hand to help, and if you find at 8.00 in the evening - that you don't have enough dishes for everyone at the dinner table - you just have to manage. A Residence de Tourisme addresses the down sides of self catering accommodation, whilst retaining the benefits of both having your own personal space and lower cost than a hotel or fully catered chalet.
When going on a family ski holiday, you often want to have help from someone who knows the local area well or help with various aspects of your holiday, for example: collecting ski passes, arranging ski/boot fitting, arranging lifts to ski school, advice on mountain restaurants, help with organising child care, etc, this help is often available at a Residence de Tourisme - whereas in self catering you would be on your own.
The French created the Residence de Tourisme category to provide good holiday accommodation yet with all the services you would normally only get in a hotel. The cost is usually a little more than basic self catering, but the benefits are considerable. The French government encourage this by giving tax relief to people buying chalets and apartments under this scheme - this effectively saves them almost 20% of purchase price, the accommodation has to be operated by a management company and there is a requirement for the accommodation to be marketed for holiday use and it is not allowed to be used as a permanent dwelling.
The French regulations require that, as a minimum, three of four of the following services must be provided by the operator: at least one person available on site 24 hours a day, a breakfast service, linen and the option for cleaning more than once a week. The large operations will comply with these requirements by having a massive apartment block and minimal staff. The smaller Residence de Tourisme operations, by their nature will typically provide many other additional services, for example: lifts to ski school, grocery/shopping service, ski/boot fitting services, chef services, etc. They will also provide a high level of personal service that you normally only get from a private chalet holiday.
By choosing the right residence de Tourisme for your ski holiday, you can have the benefits of a private chalet yet at a much lower cost - paying only for those services which are really important to you.
So how do you find a Residence de Tourisme - the large ones are easy to find, however, the small ones not so easy - also - as the English don't generally understand the benefits, they often don's market these benefits in the UK - this means that searching using Google may well not produce the results you are looking for - unfortunately. The best way is to ask at the tourist bureau of the resort you are planning to stay at - they usually actively support the Residence de Tourisme's - as the French understand the benefits. There is usually a section on the resort web site for Residence de Tourisme accommodation.
Andy Williams is a freelance writer who recommends using Chalets1066 when looking to book your ski accommodation in Les Gets. Chalets1066 offer a fantastic range of catered and self catered Chalets Les Gets.
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The Residence De Tourisme Concept In Ski Resorts

Ski resorts are taking on the Residence de Tourisme concept to an increasing extent these days. The idea has been around since the 1980s, but do you know what it involves and what are its advantages? This article explains everything.
A Residence de Tourisme is an apartment block that is intended exclusively for tourist use. This gives the apartment owners the official status of being a 'Loueur en Meuble' (providers of furnished accommodation) which entitles them to claim back the VAT on the purchase price of the property. It can be applied to anyone, and represents a great opportunity for buying to rent. The buyer owns the apartment outright and decides at the time of purchase how many weeks he would like to occupy it himself.
He then draws up a contract with an agency which is responsible for renting out the apartment for the remaining weeks, thus guaranteeing an income.
Another advantage is that the occupiers of an apartment in a Residence de Tourisme enjoy a whole range of top quality hotel facilities. So what do these facilities involve? Investing in a Residence de Tourisme removes all the usual constraints and hassles of being a 'classic' owner; such the cleaning, laundry, and periodic maintenance of the apartment. It also allows access to some high quality services like spas, saunas, hammams, swimming pools,fitness rooms, well being treatments etc.
Every ski resort needs to manage its property developments, offering top class facilities and optimising occupation rates; On average most residences are occupied for 15 weeks each winter, which is a lot more than is usual for classic apartments. In addition, clients in winter sports resorts value the apres ski culture. Holidaymakers now expect to have a range of facilities available to maximise their comfort and enjoyment. So from the client's point of view, the Residence de Tourisme is the way forward.
Serre Chevalier now has quite a few 'Residence de Tourisme' properties available and it does seem to be a trend that is set to continue.
Serre Chevalier property has certainly been a good investment for the last 20 years or so and I believe will continue to be so as there is so much development going on in the resort.
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