Sunday, July 24, 2011

Buddhist Monastery and Ruins at Takht-i-Bahi

It is astonishing to know that people from oldest times were more civilized and well-behaved as compared to present times, keeping in mind the technological backwardness and lack of infrastructure. This magnificent piece of architecture of a Buddhist Monastery was discovered in 1st Century and it is quite well-preserved till date.
The complex consists of court of stupas, temple complex, monastical complex and residential cells. All rooms are well-constructed using bricks.
The irony of the time is that, even most of the Pakistanis do not know about this site or have not seen it themselves. A large majority has even not heard about it. It is one of the only 6 UNESCO World Heritage Site from Pakistan included in the UNESCO list.
You can read more on my UNESCO Sites Blog at: "Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Architectural wonder - Naulakha Pavilion in Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort is one of the 6 sites included in UNESCO World Heritage Site List and is one of the only 2 UNESCO sites listed as UNESCO Sites in Danger, which makes Lahore Fort a unique site indeed. This picture on postcard is taken from inside of Lahore Fort and shows us three historic monuments - Naulakha in Lahore Fort (The closest building with curved roof), Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Shrine (Building in yellow and white color) and the grandiose Badshahi Mosque (One of the largest mosques in the World) at the farther distance. 
Built in 1633 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Naulakha Pavilion is one of the 21 monuments inside Lahore Fort building which are still preserved. This pavilion is located near Sheesh Mahal (the Mirror Castle). Although the pavilion was decorated with precious and semi-precious stones in the beginning but none of them can be found anywhere now :(
The amount spent on the construction of the pavilion was 9 lakh Rupees (0.9 Million Rupees) which was an enormous sum at that time. Bearing in mind the huge expenditure, the building was named as "Nau-lakha", which refers to 9 Lakhs spent on it. The same word "Naulakha" was later inducted in Urdu language to refer to something "very precious". You can view more details here.
Naulakha Pavilion was one of the favorite building of Rudyard Kipling, when he spent some time in Lahore. One of Kipling's novel is also named as "The Naulahka" referring to a precious necklace. When Rudyard Kipling settled down in his own home in Dummerston, Vermont, he named his residence "Naulakha".
The "Naulakha" photo has also been used on the reverse side of Pakistani One Rupee Note from 1964 - 1980. You can see an image of the bank note below:-
The Pakistani Embassy in Washington D.C. is also inspired by Naulakha motif and is partly built on it. Here is an image of it too:-
The postcard was sent to me by Vera from Lahore itself and a common postage stamp of Rs 2 denomination is used on the postcard. The stamp features a portrait of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
I wish Pakistan Post can improve their cancellations and the ink used to cancel. The present cancellations being used are so shabby and they ruin a nice piece of postal history so easily.
What are your comments about this historical building?

Historic Center of Yaroslavl, Russia - A Fairy Tale Land

At first sight, I thought that this fairy tale castle is depicted from Narnia or bears a close resemblance with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - as mentioned in Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling, but the actual story is slightly different.
The postcard is from the beautiful city of Yaroslavl in Russia, which is a major commercial center in the area since 11th century. The castle shown on the card is absolutely awesome. The clouds and the yellowish trees make the scenery even more charismatic. It is infact a painting, but I believe that the actual scenery would be as beautiful as it is shown here.
You can read more about the Historic Areas of Yaroslavl in Russia on my UNESCO Sites Blog, as it is also a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Russia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Desan Meadows, Kalam, Swat Valley, Pakistan

What a beautiful place to feel the awesome power of nature! So pure and so mesmerizing!!!
Desan Meadows form one of the most gorgeous landscapes where you can see crystal clear water gushing through the mountains, Frozen glaciers, lush green mountains, vast meadows, and countless other natural wonders. Travelling in Swat Valley is a lifetime experience for anyone.

After a brief pause in tourism in Swat Valley because of some hostile terrorist elements, the things are back to normal. Pakistan Army has cleared the valley from all types of miscreants and the tourists are enjoying the majestic beauty of the valley already.

If you ever decide to go to Desan Meadows, then you can find the way from Utror - about 16 kms from Kalam.

What do you think about the lush green meadows at this height?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Postcards for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding

While the World is suffering from Royal Wedding fever, I found this beautiful picture of the postcards presented for sale in a shop. The postcard compares the Royal Wedding of 2011 between Prince William and Kate Middleton with the wedding of his parents' Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
The wedding rings get a special attention on the postcard.
You can also see some other collectibles here:-

What do you think about both of them? Any comparison?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rakaposhi - The crown Jewel of Hunza, Pakistan

A majestic mountain peak soaring to the height of 7,788 m above mean sea level. Its Rakaposhi which is located in Hunza valley in Gilgit-Baltistan Division in Northern Pakistan.
"Rakaposhi" is located in Nagar Valley and is the 27th highest peak in the World and 12th Highest in Pakistan. The word "Rakaposhi" means "Snow-covered" in local language. It is also called as "Dumani" meaning "Mother of Mist". It was first climbed in 1958 by a British-Pakistani expedition.
The Rakaposhi Mountain Range serves as a host to a number of endangered species including Snow Leopard, Marco Polo Sheep, Brown Bears, Wolves and many other species.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gujjar Nomads of Kaghan Valley

Gujjar Nomads of Kaghan Valley in Pakistan travel towards southern areas in harsh winters of the valley and move back towards Babusar Pass in the start of spring to feed their herds.
I am always astonished to see how much area they travel during the year. In fact, they travel thousands of miles on their feet along with their goats, sheep and cows, Sometimes they also get help from donkeys and horses but that help help is primarily aimed at carrying the luggage.
Kaghan valley is a magnificent grazing area for cattle and during brief summers, the sheep and goats grow a lot because of healthy food and pleasant atmosphere. The primary area for grazing for Gujjar Herders is near Babusar Pass, in the grounds of Gitidas. It is about 11,000 feet above mean sea level and is lush green during summers.
I wonder whether the goats and seep get slim after taking a long walk back before winters, any ideas?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finland - The Land of Thousand Lakes

Hi Pals!
I have brought a beautiful postcard from Finland to share with you. This interesting postcard is made by Finnish Association of Nature Conservation and shows one of the thousand beautiful lakes in Finland. Finland is known as "The Land of Thousand Lakes".
The stamp used on the postcard is also very unique. It is an Odd-Shaped Stamp from Finland, where the Finnish flag is waving out of the perforation of the rectangular stamp. The stamp was issued in 2006.
The monogram of Finnish Association for Nature Conservation is a seal which can be seen on front top-right corner of the postcard and is also water-marked at the rear of the postcard. 
"It is the largest non-governmental organization for environmental protection and nature conservation in Finland. Its objectives include the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns and the protection of biodiversity."
Thanks a lot Marika for sending me this nice postcard!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tent Pegging in Pakistan

Today I would like to share a gorgeous postcard from Pakistan. It is a card showing the popular horse sport of "Tent Pegging". The photo on the postcard shows the display of tent-pegging at the National Horse and Cattle Show, Lahore.

As per Wikipedia, Tent Pegging is defined as, "Tent pegging (sometimes spelled "tentpegging" or "tent-pegging") is a cavalry sport of ancient origin, and is one of only ten equestrian disciplines officially recognised by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. Used narrowly, the term refers to a specific mounted game with ground targets. More broadly, it refers to the entire class of mounted cavalry games involving edged weapons on horseback, for which the term "equestrian skill-at-arms" is also used."
You can read more about Tent-pegging here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

De-Listed Omani UNESCO World Heritage Site - Arabian Oryx Sanctuary

Today I would like to share another stunning postcard with you. Here I have a UNESCO World Heritage Site from one of its kind Site. I say so because the card depicts views from Arabian Oryx Sanctuary from Oman and the site was de-listed from the UNESCO List in 2007. It is one of the only two sites de-listed from the UNESCO Site List.  The other one was Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany which was de-listed in 2009.
As per Wikipedia, "Oryx is one of four large antelope species of the genus Oryx. Three of the species are native to arid parts of Africa, with a fourth native to the Arabian Peninsula. Their pelage is pale with contrasing dark markings in the face and on the legs, and their long horns are almost straight. The exception is the Scimitar Oryx, which lacks dark markings on the legs, only has faint dark markings on the head, has an ochre neck, and horns that are clearly decurved. 
The Arabian Oryx was only saved from extinction through a captive breeding program, and the Scimitar Oryx, which probably now is extinct in the wild, also relies on a captive breeding program for its survival."
You can read the brief description of "Arabian Oryx Sanctuary" as described on Official UNESCO WHS here.
The stamps used on the postcard are also very beautiful.

  • The $1 postage stamp on the left is a part of a set of 9 postage stamps issued in 2005 by Australian Post as the "Greetings" series.
  • The second stamp on the right is a $1 stamp from the "Wild Flowers" set of 4 stamps issued in 2006. The stamp shows the wild flower - Pincushion Hakea
  • I also liked the Australian Post Airmail Label on the Postcard. Its so graceful and artistically designed.

The Postcard was sent to me by Laurent from Postcard Interactive Company of Sydney. It is a group of very seasoned Postcard Swappers who are also running a small printing company. They specialize in publishing special thematic postcards on world-wide loved themes like UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Airports and Aircrafts, Map cards, Navy Bases, Cruise Ships, Stadiums, Lighthouses, Railways, World Animals and other similar topics. Some of the unique and very gorgeous Limited Edition covers can also be found on the site.
You can buy postcards or covers from Postcard Interactive Company of Sydney at a very economical price or even swap with them.
If you buy from the Company, they will send you the postcards without any extra postage charges - with a minimum order of only 6 postcards. I assure you that the rates of Postcard Interactive Company of Sydney are very competitive and less expensive while the quality is superb. So check them now and find your favorite postcards or covers among hundreds of items on the site.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Historic Views of Istanbul, Turkey

Here is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site postcard from Turkey showing "Historic Areas of Istanbul". It is a magnificent postcard showing Suleymaniyah Mosque built in 16th Century AD.
The stamps are also very nice especially I loved the aircraft stamp.
 Read more about the postcard and the stamps here: "UNESCO WHS Turkey: Historic Areas of Istanbul"