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Thandiani, another mountain top tucked away in the KPK mountains (Shaikh Muhammad Ali)

(34 14' 0" North, 73 22' 0" East)

Not the least of the challenges of travel, therefore, is learning how to import -- and export -- dreams with tenderness..George Santayana

A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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I had come to learn about Thandiani (another famous mountain resort close to Nathiagali) from a colleague in 2005 and since then had been finding a reason to visit this resort. Where theres a will theres a way. Luckily, I had befriended the Director of COMSATS University, Abbottabad and discussed with him the option of visiting Thandiani in the summer break of 2007. He was more than happy to invite me to take this excursion and arranged my stay at a guest house, the services of which were hired by the university for their guests. Come the evening of 19th May 2007, we packed our bags in our Margalla 1993 and off we went to Abbottabad. Abbottabad is at a distance of approximately 116 kms from Islamabad and takes around 3 4 hours to reach the destination.

(On the road from Havelian to Abbottabad) We reached Abbottabad around Maghreb prayers and were put up in the guest house which was nicely tucked away in a sleepy corner of the city somewhere close to the Pakistan military academy, Kakul. After having a comfortable nights sleep at the guest house, we were up early around 7:00 a.m. the next morning to leave for our destination i.e. Thandiani.

A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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(The family @ the guest house and ready for the excursion) The distance from Abbottabad to Thandiani is approximately 31 kms and the steep, snaky mountain road takes around 1.5 hours or more to reach the destination. Thandiani is at an elevation of 8,497 feet above sea level.

(On the way to Thandiani from Abbottabad) Before reaching Thandiani, we passed through a place called Kala Pani (Black water) which used to be a huge river once and stopped by to take a few pictures.

A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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(A scenic view of Kala Pani which used to be a huge river once) We stayed at Kala Pani for around half an hour and enjoyed tea, Pakoras and took a stroll around the thin river side.

(The author besides the Kala Pani River)

A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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History: Thandiani (literally meaning 'Very Cold') is a hill station in the Galyat area of Pakistan. Thandiani was established as a Sanatorium during British rule, for the convenience of officers stationed at the neighboring cantonment of Abbottabad, it contained some European houses and a small bazaar, which were occupied only during the summer months. Most of the local population belongs to the Sarrara tribe1. Location: Thandiani at an elevation of 2,750 meters is supposed to be the coolest among the hill stations of Pakistan. It commands grand and lovely views. To the east beyond the Kunhar river may be seen the snow clad ranges of Kashmir. To the north and northeast are the mountains of Kohistan, Bhogarmang and Kaghan. To the northwest are the snowy ranges of Swat2.

( To the west are the Black Mountains. To the southwest, one can have a panoramic view of Abbottabad plains and the distant Tarbela Lake, and to the south are Miranjani and Pine clad slopes of the Galliyat. The approach to Thandiani is from Abbottabad, but it can also be reached from Murree -


A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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Nathiagali route as well. Thandiani is 31 KM from Abbottabad and 25 KM from the Thandiani-Nathiagali crossing3.

( The drive from Abbottabad takes more or less 90 minutes, with lovely views on both sides of the road. The road is metalized all the way. Thandiani is an undeveloped tourist spot. The abandoned buildings, a small church and GPO are the only imposing structures around a few small huts and tea stalls. The absence of electricity and water supply has not allowed this place to get overdeveloped like Nathiagali and Ayubia. This place has all the potential to develop as a good base for ecotourism activities. It is totally unspoiled and has lovely views all around4.

3 4

Ibid. Ibid.

A trip to Thandiani Another Mountain Resort

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(Adil Shivering at the Thandiani top) After taking a few more pictures at the top and enjoying a hot cup of tea and a quickie lunch while enjoying the shivering weather, we descended from the mountains and headed for home i.e. Islamabad while stopping by at Abbottabad for some snacks and drinks.

(The author with little Ayesha who is barely two years old)

Shaikh Muhammed Ali The Wandering Dervish E-mail: Cell: +00-92-321-5072996 th Saturday, 16 July 2011, 02:45 p.m. (PST)
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