Ziarat (Urdu: زیارت) is the capital of Ziarat District, Balochistan, Pakistan. It is located at 30°22’47N 67°43’38E with an altitude of 2543 metres (8346 ft) and is a famous holiday resort of Balochistan and nearly every trip from Karachi to Quetta stops at Ziarat. Ziarat (literally ziarat is an Islamic shrine) was the summer residence of the chief commissioner of Baluchistan, and sanatorium for the European troops at Quetta: 8,850 ft (2,700 m). above the sea and 33 m. by cart-road from the railway. There is a good water supply, and the hills around are well-wooded and picturesque.
Ziarat is also very famous for its juniper forest. Junipers species Juniperus macropoda , Juniperous exceisa polycarpus or Pashthani Juniper are found in Ziarat districts and Zarghoon mount and some other mounted areas of Balochistan known as the second largest Juniper forest in the world, which covers an area of about 247,000 acres (1,000 km2). It is said that some of the Juniper trees are as old as 5000 years. There are many important species found in this ecosystem including animal and birds, the Chakor partridge, bushes and ground flora which local people use these plants as indigenous treatments for a variety of diseases.The junipers are considered to be the real treasure of Ziarat. There are trees in the valley which are more than 5000 to 7000 years old. In Ziarat a herb called Ephedra sinica is found in abundance from which a chemical called ephedrine is extracted, an important constituent of various medicines, especially cough syrups. When the snow falls in Ziarat’s winter the juniper valley is at its most beautiful.Chiltan Adventurers Association Balochistan is raising voice on National & International level as Juniper Defenders for the conservation of this world heritage since 1984.
The name Ziarat means, “Shrine”. A local Pashtun saint, Kharwari Baba, is believed 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 from Ziarat.
Ziarat is 2449 meters above sea level and remains quite cool during summer and receives enough snowfall during the winter. Light woolen clothing for summer and heavy for the winter are recommended.
People and culture
The inhabitants are the Pashtuns. Nomadic tribesmen also pass through the valleys around during spring and autumn with their families, herd of sheep and camels. The women wear shalwar (baggy trouser) and long skirted shirts with a chadar ao Dopatta having embroidered and mirror work. Men wear shalwar, long shirts and waist coat with a turban on the head.
Pashto is the main language spoken here. Urdu and English are also spoken.
How to get there?
Ziarat is located 133 km (2 hours by car) from Quetta.
and to Quetta u can get there by,
There is an international airport about 15 minutes by taxi from the city center. Flights with PIA will take you to most major cities in Pakistan, such as,Karachi , Lahore and Islamabad. International destinations are to London and Amsterdam.
There are daily train connections with most major cities in Pakistan. The overnight sleeper Bolan Mail departs Karachi daily at 5PM, arriving after noon the next day. Another sleeer train, Quetta Express starts in Peshawar (33 h) daily at 8AM and make stop-overs in Rawalpindi (29 h) and Lahore (24 h) on it’s way, arrivial time in Quetta is around 5PM the next day. Comming from Afghanistan, there is a train departing the border town of Chaman every day at 2PM, arriving later that evening just before 6:30PM .
One international connection is avalible, with Zahedan in Iran. The train departs Zahedan the 3rd and 17th of every month at 8AM, supposedly arriving the next day at 3:15PM. Be aware however that delays are the norm, the actual arrivial time is usually between 3-6 hours after schedule. On some occations this train might be cancelled and replaced by a bus.
The highway connects eastward to Karachi and westward via Koh-e-Taftan to Tehran, Iran, 1435 km away. The road to Sibi connects it with Punjab and upper Sindh. The road via Loralai – Fort Monro -D.G. Khan and Multan is a shorter route for Punjab. The Chaman Road is a link between the country and the Afghan border.
Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation has a Motel Complex with 18 comfortable rooms and cottages. Accommodation can be booked from the PTDC Offices in Quetta, Karachi and Islamabad. There are other comparatively inexpensive hotels in the town’s center.