If anyone in Pakistan thinks “Sharbat Khan” and “Mohabbat Khan” are weird names to say the least, they should take a detour of the scenic Chitral valley and ask for the names of the Kalasha people living there.
The Kalasha does probably have the weirdest names on earth.
Named after the items and utensils of daily use, some of them which are hard to find, the children in the valley are often named after“Telephone”, or“Computer” or even “Balti
Predominantly polytheistic, the Kalasha’s proudly call themselves the direct descendants of the Alexander the Great and hold pagan views about life, faith and destiny.
Most scientists and anthropologists dispute the legend: No genetic ties between Kalasha and Greeks have been discovered, and scientists believe the Kalasha are Indo-Aryans whose religion has some commonalities with pre-Zorastrian Iranians.
But regardless, the legend once lured busloads of Greek tourists to the valleys, seeking a link to their ancestral past.
Women wear vibrant-colored embroidered dresses and beaded headdresses called“susutr" — are viewed with both admiration and suspicion by the Islamic majority. As militant Islam gains hold in regions surrounding the Kalasha — most recently with Pakistan’s cease-fire agreement with the Taliban in the nearby Swat Valley — the fate of Pakistan’s indigenous tribes hangs in the balance.
If asking for a `telephone` or `cooker` in the remote Kalash valley of Rumbur or Bumburate the local people lead you to someone`s house; take it easy as Kalash people have been naming their children after household items since long.
Zahid Ali, a university student doing research on Kalash culture, said that in the Kalash dialect the local names of both men and women hardly carried any meaning. However, he said that the Kalash try to avoid repeating a name already used.
Mostly uneducated and backward, the people do not have access to basic education and health facilities and life in the rugged mountainous region is anything close to a comfortable one. Subsistence farming is the source of livelihood where mostly the womentend to the fields and men follow the other essentials of life.
”No two Kalash can be found with the same name,” says Zahid, adding that the Muslim names like Saifullah Jan, Abdullah were now being used.
He said that a stranger could not differentiate between a man and woman through their names, but now the Kalash women had starting using Muslim names like Fatima, Khadija, Shahida and others. Enumerating some funny names of the Kalash, he mentioned Number-One, Mobile, Radio, Cassette, Akhbar, Chaprasi. He said that `Pepsi` was the original name of a young boy living in his neighbourhood.
Rehman Dheri is a pre-Harappan archaeological site, dated about 4000 BC situated 22 kilometers north of Dera Ismail Khan in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The site is considered to be one of the oldest urbanized centers found to date in South Asia.
The low mound of this fortified town is visible from Bannu Road. This rectangular mound is covering about 22 hectares and standing 4.5 m above the surrounding field. The fortified town of about ten to fifteen thousand inhabitants shows sign of town planning. Pottery and stone and metal tools were found. No seals were found and no writing was discovered, though some forms of engraving or scraping on the pottery were observed.
The site was first explored in 1971 by Dani and excavated by Durrani in 1976-82 and Durrani, Ali and Erdosy in 1990, Rehman Dheri brought new horizon and broadened the scope of the proto-historic study of south Asia. The site is located ideally on the major caravan trade routes between South Asia southern Afghanistan eastern Iran Baluchistan and central Asia The importance of the site can be judged from the fact extended the frontiers of the Indus valley to Northwest and early phase of the Harappan Civilization on the other.
The salient feature of the Indus valley civilization like grid iron pattern, town planning, uniformed trade network, pictographic /ideographic writing system seals and sailings mass production of ceramic technology have been found in the early and proto form in Rehman Dheri.
These ideas of the mature Harappan times were conceived first by the people of Rehman Dheri. The city was fortified with massive defense system of mud bricks having bastions and watchtower. All the artifacts from Rehman Dheri are an ivory square shaped seal depicted with two mountain goat and a few symbols one side and two scorpions a frog and few symbols on the other.
The final occupational phase of the site is clearly visible on the surface of the mound by eye and also through aerial photographs. It consisted of a large walled rectangular area with a grid iron network of streets and lanes dividing the settlement into regular blocks. Walls delineating individual buildings and street frontages are clearly visible in the early morning dew or after rain and it is also possible to identify the location of a number of small-scale industrial areas within the site marked, as they are, by eroding kilns and scatters of slag. The surface of the mound is littered with thousands of shreds and artifacts.
The remains of Rehman Dheri are over 4.5 metres deep, and cover a sequence of over 1,400 years beginning at c.3,300 BC. The site represents following periods:
· 3300-3850 BC
· 2850-2500 BC
· 2500-1900 BC
Nothing much is available at the site except thousands of broken utensil remains and stone. Rehman Dheri is considered to have been abandoned at the beginning of the mature Indus phase by the middle of the third millennium BC. The plan of the Early Harappan settlement is therefore undisturbed by later developments and, as such, represents the most exceptionally preserved example of the beginning of urbanization in South Asia.
The search has been called off. Time has run out.
Three Ice Warriors have embraced a glorious end.
An end which has made them immortals in the annals of history.
An end which has epitomised their struggle to explore, dream, endeavour and discover.
They wrestled against the vows of nature, well-aware of the risks involved. These warriors must have a deep satisfying smiles on their faces when they must have realised that time has finally come, waiting somewhere in makeshift bivouac,
hoping that a rescue team might show up any moment. Their unbeatable valour and courage, brings back the memories of the warriors from the medieval times, which knew no fear, and laid down their lives even when outnumbered and outsmarted.
Goodbye Gerfried Goschl, Cedric Hahlen and Nisar Hussain.
The three member International team, which started their second summit push on Friday, March 9, never made it back to the camp. They were last seen some 400 meters short of the peak, by one of the Polish team member Alex Txikon, just before a fierce storm started pounding the 8,068 meters Gasherbrum-1. Poles made it safely to the Base Camp in midnight, the International team never did.
The rescue attempts, supported by several Pakistani climbers and Pakistan Military choppers, have now been called off. Gerfried’s brother, Wolfgang Goschl, who flew to Pakistan two days ago, finally decided to abandon the search and Rescue Operations. A small ceremony was conducted in the Base Camp.
The representative of Goschl and his team-members said:
“The search flights in Pakistan have recently been completed. Both sides of the mountain were flown by two helicopters. There are no signs of life of the climbers were discovered. It is now seen at the time to face reality. As hard as it falls to us all and they let go, we have no
choice. We really want to thank you all very much, have in recent days, hoping and praying with us. The press, we now ask ourselves in our grief and let alone in our pain”.
The three regular mountaineers have now turned themselves into legends. They will usher a new era in hard climbing-winter ascents and will help many around the world, learn from the mistakes they made.
International Team led by Austrian Goschl, who also has a brilliant record of winter climbs on several of the 8000ers in the world, were pitched to summit the G-1 also known as the Hidden Peak from the South side, a route which was never treaded before. Goschl was accompanied by Hahlen (Swiss), Nisar (Pakistan) and Carlos Suarez (Spain) and had charted out a thoroughly revised, water-tight plan to not only summit the peak but also pull an unprecedented Winter Ascent and Traverse.
Goschl relied heavily on his good friend Hussain who has climbed the peak several times, supporting expeditions in the capacity of a High Altitude Porter (HAP). He was also one of the youngest and the first Pakistani to summit all five 8000ers in the country.
After several weeks of constant struggle, the team managed to pitch camps all the way up to 6800meters, wrestling fierce
storms and the deadly Jetstream that pounded the Karakorum in January. They braced temperatures as low as -50 Celsius with wind speeds surging to a horrendous 200km/h.
They remained steadfast and persevered against the odds and finally made their first summit push in the mid of February. They had to face a quick withdrawal as the weather worsened and barely made to the Base Camp. They waited for another weather window which might give them the chance to summit the peak for the first time in winters, little realizing that they would never be able to return to the Base Camp to soak their feet in hot water.
The three-member team disappeared on March 9 at an approximate height of 7,700meters. They were last spotted by Alex just before a raging storm hit the mighty Gasherbrum-1, reducing visibility to zero. An already prevailing Solar Storm had disrupted radio and Sat-Phone communications between the climbers and the Base Camp, adding up to the difficulties in tracing the trio. Their route, which comprised of an ascent from the south and a descent from the north, further piled up the difficulties in tracing the lost climbers in the four-day Search and Rescue Operations that followed.
Pakistan Military provided two choppers which remain grounded for the first three days of the SAR operations as low
visibility and bad weather prevented them from carrying out the operations. Goshcl’s brother Wolfgang, finally decided to pull off the rescue attempts after six days.
“I'm not dead, I change only the rooms. I'm into you and go through your dreams”. (Michelangelo).
www.pakistan-explorer.comwould like to express our deepest condolences with the aggrieved families. May their soul rest in peace.
Initiated in the yester years of thriving tourism culture in the country especially in the then North West Frontier Province, Khyber Train Safari remained the centre of attraction of major chunk of the tourists who thronged the country in the 80’s.
Plying on the railway track built by the ruling East India Company, in Colonial India, the very first journey was made through Jamrud, near Peshawar, and Landi Kotal in the year 1925, driven by the two vintage steam locomotives built in 1920s by Vulcan Foundry and by Kitson & Co., in the United Kingdom. The first set of bogeys was driven by the wife of Victor Bailey, the engineer who had the honour of laying the tracks in the difficult mountainous region of the Khyber Pass.
The train safari was called off in 1982 when the Pakistan Railways succumbed to colossal financial loss and the route was no more viable to sustain its own cost. However, in the year 1990, PR re-launched the project renaming it as the Khyber Steam Safari (KSS), through the joint collaboration of a private enterprise. It was again disbanded in the late 90’s as the War on Terror was unleashed on the tribal regions of the country.
The 1920s model vintage oil-fired steam engines pulled the two bogeys through a myriad of tunnels and colonial era bridges hauling the two passenger compartments to a height of almost 1,200 meters. The train passed through difficult terrain, crossing some 92 bridges and 34 tunnels to reach the highest railway station in the country, Landi Kotal.
Also called as "a journey into time and history", the train comprised of 75 seats, including 28 window seats, with onboard kitchenette, service counter and two toilet facilities and travelled through 42 kilometers of breathtaking mountainous region of the legendary Khyber Pass. The train track also has a unique reverence as it passes through the runway of the Peshawar International Airport, making it one of the only three runways with a train track on it in the world.
Pakistan Railways, with its present vows, is struggling to retain its already meager strength of trains plying on the Karachi Peshawar route and many of the local and less productive train routes have already been pulled off. Lack of tourism in the region and dearth of facilities in the war-ravaged Khyber region has delivered a severe blow to the region’s financial and economic condition.
As per agreement with the local tribes, the English Government allowed free of cost transportation to the local tribesmen back in the 1920’s and the agreement is still honoured by the Pakistan Government. Revival of the KSS will definitely go a long way in the financial upbringing of the region and will be a feather in the cap of the present ANP set up in the province.
Mohenjo-Daro was a city located in the south of Modern Pakistan in the Sind Province, on the right bank of the Indus River. It was built between four and five thousand years ago, and lasted until 3,700 BP. It was part of the Harrapan Civilization, and the city had at least 35,000 residents. Mohenjo-Daro means “mound of the dead”.
The city was approximately one square mile in size. In 1922-1927 large scale excavations at Mohenjo-daro were carried out by R. D. Banarjee and continued by M. S. Vats and K. N. Dikshit under the direction of Sir John Marshall. E. J. H. MacKay carried out further excavations from 1927 to1931. Sir Mortimer Wheeler made small excavations in1950.
As a result of this extensive work almost one-third of the area of the old city was exposed, revealing for the first time the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in the Indus Valley. Typical of most large and planned cities, Mohenjo-daro had planned city streets and buildings. The settlement was thought to house roughly 5,000 people, and had houses, a granary, baths, assembly halls and towers.
The city was divided into two parts, the Citadel included an elaborate tank or bath created with fine quality brickwork and drains; this was surrounded by a verandah. Also located here was a giant granary, a large residential structure, and at least two aisled assembly halls.
To the east of the citadel was the lower city, laid out in a grid pattern. The streets were straight, and were drained to keep the area sanitary. The people of the city used very little stone in their construction. They used two types of bricks- mud bricks, and wood bricks, which were created by burning wood. They used timber to create the flat roofs of their buildings; there are brick stairways leading to the roofs of many houses.
Some houses were small, and others were larger with interior courtyards. Most had small bathrooms. Potter’s kilns, dyer’s vats, as well as metalworking, bead making, and shell-working shops have all been discovered. The people were good at irrigation and flood control. However, when the Indus River changed its course around 3700 years ago, the civilization died.
All Indus valley sites including Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, were built according to a grid pattern plan. Each city had broad parallel streets which crossed each other to divide the city into compact rectangular blocks, and had an advanced and extensive drainage system. In addition to its numerous other achievements Mohenjo-daro and other Indus sites made extensive use of baked brick (unlike the sun-dried brick typical of Mesopotamian civilization), which gave greater durability to all of its buildings.
Defensively Mohenjo-daro was a well fortified city. Though it did not have city walls it did have towers to the west of the main settlement, and defensive fortifications to the south. These fortifications taken into consideration, as well as a comparison to the Harappa ruins to the northeast, lead to the question of whether Mohenjo-daro was an administrative center.
Both Harappa and Mohenjo-daro share relatively the same architectural layout (Harappa is less well preserved due to early site defilement), and were generally not heavily fortified like other Indus Valley sites. It is obvious from the identical city layouts of all Indus sites, that there was some kind of political or administrative centrality, however the extent and functioning (and even the placement and type) of an administrative center remains relatively.
Soanian People ~500,000 (Soan Valley Civilization)
Mehrgarh Culture 7000–2800
Indus Valley Civilization 3300–1750 (Mohenjo_daro)
Vedic Civilization 2000–600
Indo-Greek Kingdom 250-10AD
Gandhara Civilization 200–1000AD (Harrappa, Sirkap)
Indo-Scythian Kingdom 200–400AD
The Oldest inhabited city of South Asia: Excavations underway at the historic Gor Khattri in Peshawar
Archaeologists are resuming excavation at historic Gor Khatri monument to discover the exact archaeological profile of ancient Peshawar, presently enjoying the distinction of oldest living city in South Asia.
A recent archaeology excavation at Gor Khatri has established the city’s historical profile and now Peshawar is officially claimed by Archaeology Department to be the ‘Oldest Living City’ in South Asia, boasting a recorded history that goes back as far as at least 539 BC.
“Still after claiming to be the oldest living city of South Asia, the exact archaeological profile of Peshawar is not discovered yet because the excavation at Gor Khatri was stopped before reaching the virgin soil due to shortage of funds,” informed Saleh Muhammad, Director Archaeology and Museum Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The provincial government, he added, has now included the project for resuming of excavation at Gor Khatri in the Annual Development Plan of new budget and work is going to start soon.
“Once the capital of Gandhara, Peshawar is so old that its origins are lost in antiquity,” remarked Dr. Ihsan Ali, former Director Archeology Museum Department and presently Vice Chancellor Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan.
The claim is firmly grounded upon two significant archaeological findings during excavation at Governor’s House in 1906 and at the ongoing archaeological dig at Gor Khatri, Dr. Ehsan said during his recent lecture at Wali Khan University.
Dr. Ihsan Ali said presently exact profile of Peshawar city does not exist and it is not clear that exactly how old Peshawar city is.
Quoting renowned Archaeologist, Syed Abdul Qudoos, Prof Ehsan said ‘Peshawar is a true metropolis of orient and the legendry city has many secrets to share.’
The history of Peshawar is a story of different people and of many cultures, conquered by Greeks, ruled by Buddhists, destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt by the Brahmins, invaded by Ghaznavis, captured by the Mughals, over run by the Sikhs and annexed by the British in succession, he added.
“Resumption of excavation at Gor Khatri would enrich the archaeological profile of Peshawar because we are hoping of discovering more evidences of life beyond the period from 4 to 6 century BC”, observed Saleh Muhammad.
The excavation at Gor Khatri, which continued for four years and published in the British Journal ‘Current World Archaeology’ with the title as ‘The deepest and biggest excavation in the world’ revealed 20 layers that provide a complete profile of the city ranging from British down to the pre Indo-Greek era.
The excavation discovered that Peshawar was a province of Persian Alchamenian Empire in 4 to 6 century BC, he added.
He apprised that from Alchamenian, it came under the sway of many different influences and rulers namely Mauryans, Greeks, Scythians, Kushans, Sasanians, White Huns, Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, Slave Dynasty, Ghorids, Suri Afghans, Mughals, Durrani Afghans, Sikhs and the British before creation of Pakistan.
This claim can be verified through discovery of antiques during excavation which have been displayed at city’s museum set up within the premises of Gor Khatri. The museum provides detailed information about archaeological and ethnological profile of Peshawar.
The museum, he continued, was set up with the objective of highlighting the archaeological importance of Peshawar city throughout the world by displaying the antiques recovered during excavation.
“Welcoming the development, Dr. Ali Jan, spokesman of KPKTourism Corporation (KTC), when contacted observed that enriching of Peshawar’s profile would enhance its archaeological importance and help KTC to attract more tourists and history lovers to the city.
By discovering more evidence that Peshawar is much older than the claim of 2,600 years, the city can be included in the list of oldest living cities of Asia or may be of world like Jerusalem and Damascus, he hoped.
The present excavation has placed Peshawar proudly in the ranks of very few other cities in the world and digging more evidence will further boost its distinction, he added.