Gwadar is famous for 3-things: fishing village, 5-star hotel on the hammerhead, and the famous Gwadar port, which was opened in 2007 by General President Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf. .
Gwadar port was “finally” built by the assistance of China. It is situated on a 3 very important cross-road: oil rich Middle East, Central Asian Countries, and Pakistan. The plan for this port was to facilitate trade and accessibility to Central Asian countries via Afghanistan. But situation in Afghanistan has resulted in this plan not materializing.
A good vantage point is to view this port is from the Pearl Continental Hotel which is situated on top of the hammerhead. PC can arrange a tour of the port if one wants to go and see it.
Hammerhead is a projection protruding out on the ocean, and looks like front of a hammerhead shark. This rocky mass was created by ancient mud volcanoes which covered this region. Majority of the mountains carved on the coastal highways are results of mud volcanoes. The hammerhead on its southern side gives a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea, and on its north end the Gwadar City.
Gwadar’s prime residential block, Sanghar Housing scheme, is built on top of this Hammerhead. Also on the Hammerhead is an army and a navy base.
Ormara is approx 240 km from Karachi. This city is also at a mid-point between Karachi and Gwadar. The city belongs to Pakistan Navy as several of their vessels, are stationed here. A large hammerhead formation protects Ormara from the sea. It is also a small fishing village, and a pit stop for fuel and nourishment. The beach at Ormara were beautiful; sandy, clear, and untouched. A small airport also serves the local population.
Ormara is also an ancient city, and Alexander the Great’s route is linked with it. The city got its name from one of Alexander’s General, Ormuz, who died here.
The landscape on the MCH is really spaced-out. The dry-diverse landscape, built by ages of erosion and eruptions, have made this drive on the coastal highway once (or twice) in a life time trip. Some of the sceneries, especially in driving through the Buzzi pass is breathtaking.
From a distance it looked like the replica of the Sphinx in Egypt. A naturally carved object on top of a range, the formation resembles the famous man-made structure.
This is situated well before Princess of Hope. I mistakenly thought this was Princess of Hope. The formation is within the Buzzi Pass. One can not miss it.
Buzzi pass is the main reason why I am going to recommend this journey – the most spectacular scenery one can imagine. Starting from Kund Malir where the MCH starts to climb and going all the way till you reach Ormara (approx. 100 km from Kund Malir), one is treated to an unimaginable scenery/views.
Overlooking the Hingol National Park, the scenery definitely resembles a mini-Grand Canyon. The road climbs to approx 1500 feet only, and on both sides there is something to see. On various spots small streams are flowing, or small crater type lakes are visible.
Various rock carvings that can be seen inside the Buzzi pass remind one of different architecture (Sphinx, Pyramids, Greek Pantheon, etc) around the world. Who knows maybe travelers through this region got the idea of building similar architecture.
MCH is the same route Alexander the Great took on his way back after sightseeing the Indian Subcontinent, and it was the treacherous Buzzi pass where he lost many of his legions
Right after you pass Hingol River bridge, the scenery suddenly changes. On your right are mountains, and on your left a desert. Beyond the desert is the ocean. If you have a 4x4, you can enjoy a short desert safari sunning up and down the sand dunes.
Hinglaj is an important Hindu community’s pilgrimage site. Situated almost 250 km from Karachi on the Makran Coastal Highway, once can easily traverse this journey in approx 3-4 hours.
From the coastal highway at Aghore, a dirt track leads towards Nani Mandir, a Hindu temple carved inside the mountain, and is situated approx. 10-15 km inside the Hingol mountain ranges. At one time once could take their own car till the temple, but neglect has caused the road to deteriorate, and one now needs a 4x4 to reach this site, as you may have to cross the Hingol river.
Mythology states that to calm Lord Shiva down when he was in his trance performing Tandava/dance, Lord Vishnu carved Sati (first consort) into several pieces, and spread it around the sub-continent. The head landed at Hinglaj.
Ex-Indian foreign minister of BJP, Jaswant Singh, made a pilgrimage to this Mandir in 2006.
Devotees part of pilgrimage is to visit the Mud Volcano first, Baba Chandrakup, and than travel to Nani Mandir.
Nani Mandir is revered both by Hindu and Muslim followers.
I am still planning to make a trip to this place.
The geographical terrain of Hingol National Park was created millions of years ago by various mud volcanoes which existed in this area. Very few (some say 18) active volcanoes are left, and one of them is called Baba Chandrakup (apprx 200-300 feet high). It is also claimed that this is the largest mud volcano in the world. The mud it spews out is not hot, but cold.
On the Makran Coastal Highway there is huge sign directing one towards the mud volcano, but one needs a 4x4 to reach this volcano – or walk 7 km towards it.
The mud volcano is part of Hindu mythology, where devotes on their pilgrimage camped overnight at the base and offered “Roti” (bread) in the morning, and confessed their sins. Those who do not confess are separated from the pilgrimage and asked to go back. After the completion of their rites, the pilgrims proceeded towards Nani Mandir, approx 27 km from here.
I am still planning to make a trip to this place.