My least-favourite thing: A shocking reality of Peshawar is that it has many, many children and women beggars. You will find them following you, knocking on your car window, and even selling flower-bracelets at intersections. Keep in mind they will not hold out their cupped hands infront of you - this is because it is forbidden (haram) in Islam to beg to anyone except Allah. When ever I leave the house, I always make sure I have a handful or so of 5Rs. coins to hand out to any children that I see.
Even in Peshawar, where a lot of families have a poor standard of living, almost all of them will be charitable in any way that they can. Even if its sparing a single rupee, some extra food, or mentioning them in their prayers. Especially as a foreign tourist, it is important to remember that we CAN always do something.
Fondest memory: One of my lasting memories of Peshawar was as a newly-wed, venturing out into Army Stadium with my husband for the first time. We sat on the grass and ate together, and a little girl came walking towards us. This was my first experience with a child-beggar and it broke my heart. She was unclean, and had been picking flowers in the fields of the amusement park and we asked her to sit down with us. She was extremely shy, yet not hesitant to tell us why she was roaming the field.
The little girl told us how her father had been in the tribal areas for trade, and had stepped on a landmine, leaving him without legs. He was receiving treatment after surgery in Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Her mother delivered meals to her husband in the hospital and busy as a house-wife. This little girl then pointed across the field over tens of families to a little boy, who was her brother, also begging. She said her family could not afford to send them to school, so they came in the morning to Army Stadium and left late at night at closing to their families, to bring home whatever they had managed to collect throughout the day.
Such a shocking story to hear, I almost wondered if it was true. Before I could question the legitimacy of her story she said something that will remain with me forever... "If you don't believe me, then Allah is my witness". My husband and I had a teary moment, and of course provided her with all that we could spare. Please, if you ever go to Peshawar.... remember the children.
Get a local dress (Shalwar Kamiz), visit the walled city and places like Khyber Pass, Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Main Saddar Road, Museum, Army Stadium etc.
Always ask your guide before visiting a place. Peopel are generally friendly.
Stop over at LANDIKOTAL. Located in the journey at top peak of the Pass. A kind of village,Baazar,Mosque and Market...populated by PATHAN people. The Pathans are there wherever you go, greeting you with open smile. Speaking in excited tones and swaggering along in their baggy trousers,these keen, handsomely fierce people have created many legends of bravery and gallantry. These traditional guardians of the frontier are strange warrior race of romantics.
Photo :The Pathans Warrior.
From the last small town of Peshawar, I'm taking an old private saloon car ( Chaverolett ), taxi and coach was not available in 70s to the LANDIKOTAL. Agreed the price, paying inadvance. Thinking I will have a smooth tour all the way to the Khyber Pass...by the God Mercy, there is nearly two dozen of passenger to be in one saloon car. The driver with revolver at the waist instruct 12 persons including him as a driver in the car, 6 pessengers will be hanging like a Tarzan infront of the car AND the 6 pessengers hanging at a back..ofcourse
the driver supply a rope at the free of charge ( FOC). The saloon car packed with grocessary, people with Turban and 23 units of Carbine and MK V ( Second World War Rifle). While moving from slope to slope and corner to corner....the back and front passangers just relexed and chit chat amongst them, some of them start opening their mouth to talk, they are very friendly. The inside passengers start calling the front and rear passangers to introduce them to me.....what kind of stunt work they do, I believe the Russian Circus can't bet them.Unfortunate not even one of them can speak 'broken English', lucky, a little bit Urdu plus my 'broken Arabic' and our International Language : HAND SIGN help a lot in the friendly conversation. They surprise to know there is a Muslim Yapan ( Japanese)....hardly try to educate this men that I came from Malaysia...each time after explanation they say 'Yes'...again they call me Muslim Yapan.
Peshawar is the capital of the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), Peshawar is a very exotic city, and it has preserved the traditional atmosphere and retained its air of Arabian Nights.
The most exciting part of Peshawar is the old city,
Visiting the bazaar, which is as big as a whole quarter, is a true experience. I'm not sure , but there must be hundreds of small shops. It is
like a labyrinth of small streets and colourful bazaars, a mosaic of merchants, travellers, Phanthans and Afghans. The shops who offer the same
stuff can - in a typical Asian style - all be found together. (this picture is made at Chowk Yadgar, the central square in the old city, as you can see, a very busy place)
Favorite thing: As an amateur photographer, this is the place to be. In other places you must ask people if you can make a picture (and sometimes they ask money for it), but here, well it is the opposite, here people ask YOU, if you want to make a photo of them, so if you have difficulties with saying no, take plenty of filmroles, you'll need them.
Favorite thing: When I walked along the small streets I wondered why so many shops sold Pakistan flags and badges. Well I asked, and the answer to my question was that a few days later it was a National Holiday, that explaind a lot.
Well I must not forget to tell you about the relaxed and friendly spirit while negotiating about the price when you are buying something.
Outside the fruit shops the fruit is stalled like colourful pyramids.
Favorite thing: What really striked me, is the fact that you don't see a lot of ladies in the streets, and the one that you see are heavily veiled, This is really a men's -society.
Favorite thing: The street life is very colourful: you see Arabs, Turkish Nomads and Western dressed Pakistan businessmen.
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