Tuesday, June 15, 2010


SWAT – THE ELYSIAN VALLEY (DOCUMENTARY) by Amer Rizwan Copyrights @ Amer Rizwan

Lofty green mountains, splashing waterfalls, meandering streams and towering pine trees are going to welcome you once you step into the idyllic valley of Swat. This Charming, peaceful and fascinating tract in the lap of vegetative sky-high mountains, with eternal snow on their lofty crests, is an everlasting source of attraction. Its beauty attracts tourists to enjoy the soothing and serene panorama, and the friendly behaviour of its inhabitants.
Above all the valley boasts of preserving the enviable imprints of yore that is a source of attraction for both the local and the foreign tourists alike. A visitor entering into Pakistan would never be contented without roaming about Swat.

Swat is known to be one of the most enchanting valleys of Pakistan. The total population of this idyllic land is some Eighteen Lac. Its height is not similar but varies from 2500 ft. to 7500 ft. above sea level. Gandhara art is one of the continuous traditions of its ancient civilization. This paradise on earth attracts visitors and tourists from far and wide. Of late, an attempt was made to terrorize the civilized, kind, hospitable and enlightened people of Swat in the name of religion. However, thanks to the commendable resilience of the people of Swat, they overcame the challenges; the most tumultuous phase of their history is the story of the past now.

Mingora, the Headquarters and the most populous town of the valley, is the hub of commercial, social and economic activity. It is situated 975 feet above the sea level and 300 Kilometers away from the federal capital Islamabad. The valley has witnessed the down and fall of quite a number of ancient civilizations. In 326 BC, Alexander the Great traversed the valley with his army. In 256 BC, Gandhara Civilization and Buddhism had their heyday in the region. Besides the written accounts of some Chinese writers suggest that even Chinese explorers had been to the region as early as fifth century BC.

One of the finest spots of Mingora is the city itself and Marghazar. Doubtlessly the area is one of the unique marvels of nature. In its natural charm and verdure it is second to none. Meandering Swat River flows through the centre of Mingora city; the spectacular scene exalts the beauty of the city. The total length of the river is about 140 miles. The land of Swat is bedecked with natural sceneries, worth-seeing mountains, flowing rivers and splashing waterfalls – all these rare pieces of nature invite the visitors to behold them.
Marghazar the beautiful – Owing to the towering lush green mountains that surrounds it and its captivating beauty, Marghazar can rightly be called a Valley within the Valley. Here, the natural beauty is supplemented with a man-made masterpiece. Just behold the architectural plan of this sprawling well proportioned building. ‘Mian Gul Abdul Wadood’, the then Wali of Swat, ordered its construction in the year 1941 as his summer seat. The peculiar feature of this building is that it has been adorned with red marble, ordered specially form Jaypur, India. This type of marble has been used in the construction of the Taj Mahal Agra as well. Of late, this white palace has been converted into the Hotel White Palace. The Hotel is equipped with latest facilities and it caters for the needs of the tourists who come from far and wide not only to visit the place but also to stay here. In summer in particular, Marghazar and the White palace hotel are swarmed by visitors, both local as well as foreign who are mesmerized by the soul-lifting beauty of the surroundings and the towering peaks. The Building has the honour of hosting Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 as well. The room in which her Majesty stayed has been preserved in its original form as a mark of homage to the Queen. The clay, vegetation and water of the valley has nourished many civilizations in its cradle; nay the valley is the burial place for them as well when by the inevitable law of nature these great civilization had to lick the dust after touching their zenith.
Gandhara is one such civilization that reached its pinnacle in the year 256 BC. The relics of this old civilization are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the valley. Later on, Mangols, Arabs, Africans and Rajputs tried their luck in the area as well, but they could not obliterate the permanent imprints of the Buddhism. Butkara near Saidu Sharif is one such place which provides the best link between the ancient and the modern age. The Venue has one central stupa and many other statues that are still in their original shape though there are a number of them that have not been able to withstand the tide of time and are not in a very good shape. Butkara has many relics of yore but by and by the vicissitudes of time have obliterated them. Many of the utensils, ornaments and other items of the day-today use have been discovered at Butkara during excavations in different times. They have been put in the Saidu Sharif museum. This beautiful Museum contains some rare masterpieces of the Gandhara Civilization, a civilization that can rightly be called as one of the most ancient and cherished civilizations of the world. These rare specimens speak volumes of the cultural richness of the people and the land of Uddiyana or Suvastu– the ancient names of Swat.
The richness of civilization is reflected in the art and craft of the area. In the artisanship and handicraft, Swat is simply matchless. This versatility and richness attract the tourists as well. These hardworking artisans working on the handlooms to produce carpets are the continuation of the centuries-old tradition. Traditional Swati garments would catch one’s eye throughout the market. Jewelry shops offer mostly the rich and beautiful local variety. These beautiful ornaments adorned with precious stones are dear all over the world for their beauty. Swat’s woolen industry is second to none; embroidery is the traditional art of swat valley. The artisans of Swat have contributed a lot in the growth of art and culture. These works with multi-coloured threads and delicate beams make these pieces to be simply priceless.
Fiza Ghat is the most beautiful tourist park, situated at the bank of river Swat. It is a very good place of outing and entertainment for the locals and the tourists alike. Both the elders and the children can have good excursions here.
Malam Jabba is a favorite summer resort, yet it doesn’t disappoint in the winter either. Malam Jabba ski resort has become international arena of skiing fanatics already. The whole area here becomes white in winter, while during the summer it's all green. At 8’700 feet above sea level, Malam Jabba Ski Resort stands on top of a mountain of the Hindukush range. Surrounded by mighty Karakorams and stunning Black mountains, Malam Jabba is more than just a Ski Resort. It is not only a holiday resort that attracts tourists throughout the year but also the home to the remains of ancient civilizations.
Let us have a glimpse of Saidu Sharif a historical town near Malam Jabba. This attractive town is named after Saidu Baba whose tomb and the adjacent mosque are the source of spiritual bliss for the visitors and the locals. Southern Swat has the ideal sites for paragliding. According to experts, its mountains are the most ideal for the sport. If more attention is paid and more investors are encouraged investing in the sport then definitely it would go a long way in promoting tourism in the area. Undoubtedly overseeing the Swat Valley from the height thanks to parachute is much more entertaining.
Even the music in this area cannot escape from the dreamy beauties of the nature and the strong impact of the rich civilization.

1 comment:

tabassum majeed said...

this documentary describes image of Swat in very beautiful way.
i fully agree with u sir that Swat ia a historical place but what Government is doing for preserving this beauty? Roads toward Kalam and Malam Jabba are the dangerous ones. Government is not takeing any step to reconstruct these roads. i will not compare swat with Murree but its reality that beauty of Murre is artificial but Government has invested a lot on moterway, its very encourging but a little bit attention must also be given to Swat.