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08/12/10  The lush-green valley of Swat, with its rushing torrents, icy-cold lakes, fruit-laden orchards and flower-decked slopes is ideal for holiday-makers intent on relaxation. It has a rich historical past, too. This is the "Udayana" (the Garden) of the ancient Hindu epics; fought and won some of these major battles before crossing over to the plains of Pakistan. This is "the valley of the hanging chains" described by the famous Chinese pilgrim-chroniclers, Huain Tsang and Fa-Hian in the fifth and sixth centuries. Swat was once the cradle of Buddhism of all its schools - Little Vehicle, Great Vehicle and the Esoteric sects where once 1,400 monasteries flourished. It was the home of the famous Gandhara School of Sculpture which was an expression of Graeco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition. Swat was also the historical land where the Muslim conquerors, Mahmud of Ghazni, Babur and Akbar fought their battles preparatory to the conquest of the sub-continent. The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues are found all over Swat. The valley of Swat sprawls over 10,360 sq. km at an elevation of 975.36 metres. The normal temperature is maximum 21.11C (701F) and minimum 7.22C (45F). The tourist season is year-round.

Saidu Sharif:

Headquarters of Swat, Saidu Sharif houses the Swat Museum which contains one of the finest collections of Gandhara art in the world.

Mingora:

Mingora 3.21 km (two miles) from Saidu Sharif has yielded magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture and the ruins of great stupas. Other beauty spots worth visiting are Marghzar, 12.87 km (eight miles) from Saidu Sharif, famous for its "Sufed Mahal", the white marble palace of the former Wali (ruler) of Swat; Kabal, 16 km (10 miles) from Saidu Sharif with its excellent golf course, Madyan, 55 km (34 miles) from Saidu Sharif, Bahrain, and Kalam. Malam Jabba, at 2,652 metres (8,700 ft.) above sea level and 39 km (24 miles) north-east of Saidu Sharif is being developed as a ski-cum-summer resort.

Angling:

The hatchery at Madyan stocks the Swat River with trout. The angling season opens from April.

What to Buy:

Swat is famous for its embroidered table cloth, Ladies shawls, Table mats, Gold-threaded purse and caps, woodwork and honey.

How to get there:

Swat is linked by road and air with Islamabad/Rawalpindi and by road with Peshawar. PTDC runs air-conditioned coach service twice a week between Saidu Sharif and Rawalpindi and Saidu Sharif and Peshawar. Where to stay There are moderately priced hotels, motels and rest-houses.

Malam Jabba - Adventure At Its Peak:

8'700 feet above sea level, Malam Jabba Ski Resort stands on top of a mountain of the Hindukush range, north east of Saidu Sharif. Surrounded by mighty Karakorams and stunning Black mountains, Malam Jabba is more than just a Ski Resort. It is a holiday resort that caters to all interests and is also home to the remains of ancient civilizations.

Amidst its natural beauty and imprints of Gandhara civilization, lie the wonders of modern tourist facilities such as: 52 room motel, 2 skiing platforms, Roller/Ice Skating rinks, Restaurant offering both local and international cuisine, Telephone facility, Snow clearing equipment etc.

The food, lodging and skiing facilities are all managed by foreign trained staff and offered at competitive prices.

 

 




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