During my teens, I used to read Mustansar Hussain Tarar’s travel logs and always fanaticized the places and I always think how can one be so crazy about traveling and literally what does he get from all this “Vega bonding” (He called himself Vega-bond by profession in one of his books). But now I think yes its true traveling is like therapy, not for everyone but yes for some people, and am one of them. Roads usually absorb all the burden of my soul, it doesn’t allow me distracted by any other thing, any other thought.
In 2015 I travelled snow based areas, my focus was snow and snowfall and 2015 winters were the best winters. This time I thought of some desert and plain, and at the same time I heard of Jeep Rally happening in Cholistan desert, though this Rally is an annual festival but hats-off to my ignorance I never heard of this before. I came to know it happens every February, but I don’t only want to be part of festival only (Ya! After all am a girl and how much I can show interest in Jeep Rally), I want something more.
I got to know “Tour De Pakistan” arranging a trip to south Punjab covering few shrines in Multan, Bahawalpur and then Cholisten Jeep Rally, I found their charges most economical ones and I joined them. On Thursday night around 11:00 PM we started out journey from Islamabad and we reached Multan around 8:00 in the Friday morning. We anchored in Kehchari road for the breakfast and believe me it was one of the yummiest breakfast I ever had (I recently got the chance to visit Multan and believe me we went the same place for breaky) place was not much hygienic but taste was damn good atleast we don’t have such kind of breakfast in Islamabad. After breakfast we went to visit the shrines of Shah Shams Tabriaz Rahmat-ullah and Baha-ud-Zakriya Rahmat-ullah. We were given around 1 hour to visit both the shrines, and it’s seriously an experience to observe the locals and rural citizen of nearby villages came in form of groups (mainly called Toli).
We took the road to Bahawalpur around 10:00 AM after visiting Shrines, and reached there around 2:00 PM. Qattar hotel (banquet hall mainly as well as hotel) were booked for us in Bahawalpur, best hotel I stayed in till the time locally, services were just amazing. We were asked to get settled and joined back after an hour. Lunch was organized in a local sideway restaurant but it was so delicious, I can’t forget that daal mash. After lunch we were given 1 and half hour for rest and in the evening we went to visit “Darbar Mahal”, mahal is the word for palace in native language. We reached there after Asir, but our admin was just not ready to leave the place and on several inquiries he said we are hanging here till maghrib, after maghrib lights will be on, I thought him a time waster than, but oh my words, when the lights went on after maghrib. That spectacular view of Darbar Mahal was just out of the words, even Nawab Sadiq (Nawab of Bahawalpur, owner of palace) won’t agree to leave the Palace after having the view. Pakistan army just kept the Palace in brilliant form.
Next destination after the “Darbar Mahal” was “Noor Mahal”, we paid entry fees there and the area we were allowed to visit was only a hall, this is not fair with the visitors, if we pay we should allow visiting more areas and rooms of palace.
After visiting “Noor Mahal” we stopped at “Farid gate Bazar” but unfortunately because of Friday bazar was closed. We bought a huge ice cream cone just for PKR 5/- yes it was this cheap and taste was good. We end the day having dinner at “Dar-ul-Kabab”, the yummiest bbq I ever had.
First destination on Saturday 13th Feb was “Laal Sohanra Safari park”, it has plenty of black bucks (kind of deer), we spent almost an hour there, as we have to drive to Cholistan to see few historical places in desert. We drove for almost 4 hours from Bahawalpur to Cholistan desert. On reaching Cholistan we visited the Shrine of Sahba Rasool S.A.W (Companion of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W)), and YES I was in doubt too that how on earth could it be possible but yes the lengths of grave itself was one of the evidences. We reached for “Drawar Fort”, after the shrines and yes for our entertainment it was CLOSED, because the authorities of the area ordered to close it as visitors will destroy the historical fort which is not well maintained to keep up with this number of visitors, Why don’t we care for such pieces of historical art, quite a shame NO ?
Festival was gaining its pace as more and more Jeeps and pickups and other vehicles were reaching to be the part of Rally. The area needs this kind of festivals to cater the poverty level. We roam around the desert, went to abbasi mosque, visited tombs of Nawabs of Cholistan, which was luxuriously build and depicts the clear class difference. We rode the camel, which was one of the best experiences. We end the day with the concert organized by Huwaei and then the magical fireworks that was simply beautiful. We had the pure desi dinner and spent the night in a Daira (a small house with two rooms and washroom).
Sunday, 14th Feb was our last day of tour, we reached around 9:00 AM in the desert near the start line of the Jeep Rally. Nadir Magsi was the last year champ and he was the first one to start and I haven’t seen any other man vowed more than Nadir Magsi. Crowd was just crazy to have his single glance, to have one picture of him or with him, I must say before Magsi put his vehicle on the track madness and craziness was just in the air. A huge crowd left after magsi started the Rally, and then one after one another vehicles paved their paths. We left for Islamabad around 11:00 AM from Cholistan desert, had our dinner at Shor Kot, I couldn’t help myself mentioning that “Chicken adabo” of “Naveed Restaurant” was simply brilliant.
The journey back home was quite long, but I always say the farther the better.
Hope you like the lookbook