Margala Hills National Park, Islamabad
Pakistan is a unique Country blessed with incredible natural beauty and hidden gems in all provinces. The Capital City Islamabad is known internationally for its amazing natural beauty and fantastic culture. Many beautiful entertainment opportunities await visitors such as Shakarparian, Margalla Hills National Park, Daman-e-koh, Pir Sohawa, Lok Virsa, and Rawal Lake to enjoy and relish. Margalla Hills located in Islamabad Capital Territory and covering 17.86 km squares, extend to Kashmir; Margalla Hills National Park has the most exquisite views and scenic spots which afford trekking and hiking to the mountain-lovers for improving their health and to the families for picnics.
Margalla Hills start from Pakistan and extend to India and China to form the largest mountain range of the world. These mountains were formed naturally around 40 to 50 million years ago in the subcontinent when this specific area of the earth collided with Asia. Geologists reveal that the rock formation of Margalla Hills is 40 million years old and these Hills were the seabed of ancient oceans, which is why fossil fuels and wood is found in abundant quality in these Hills. Spring water gushing out of the Hills on various Trails indicate that ancient oceans are buried under these Hills for millions of years.
In 1989, Margalla Hills Society was formed as a non-government organization with a prime objective of preserving the natural beauty and promoting environment in Pakistan. Shrinkage of forests in Pakistan calls for public interest in conservation of such forests, which is why the incumbent Government (Ministry of Environment) has launched rehabilitation campaigns and is even planning to install a chairlift with the help of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), however, still more efforts are needed to manage forests, wildlife, and natural resources of Margalla Hills.
Margalla Hills National Park’s was established in the 1980s and its tallest peak is located at 1604m at Tila Charouni. The Park offers great entertainment and adventure opportunities to people of all ages. Rich in biodiversity, the Park is famous for its wildlife such as gray coral, wild rabbits, monkeys, jungle fowls, pheasants, barking dear, fox, jackals, wild boars and leopards roaming in different parts of dense jungle. The Park has 600 plant species as well and 250 species of birds. Moreover, 13 species of snakes and lizards are also found in the Park.
Due to its location in the National Capital, Margalla Hills National Park is an attractive destination for bird-lovers and hikers throughout the world. People from Europe, the United States, the UAE, Australia, New Zealand, and China visit Margalla Hills throughout the year and hike at several different hiking trails managed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). These trails include (Trail 1, Trail 2, Trail 3, Trail 4, Trail 5, Trail 6, Trail 7 (Shah Allah Ditta Caves).
Shah Allah Ditta Caves located behind attract hordes of domestic, as well as, foreign tourists. TripAdvisor reveals that these caves were used by Buddha and also served as a shelter for people passing through these mountains. The Archeology Department of Pakistan is undertaking concerted efforts to preserve / rehabilitate the deteriorating conditions of these caves.
The most famous trails for families and tourists are Trail 3, Trail 5, and Trail 6 which offer several spots for rock climbing. A few crags have also developed over the years but tourists still love exploring different parts of these Hills. Margalla Hills offer hiking tracks and trails for beginners and expert climbers at Jasmine Corner, Sandspur Village, Shahdara Wall, and Shah Allah Ditta tracks. Hiking is becoming more and more popular in Margalla Hills each year because the youth from all cities of Pakistan come to explore and enjoy these adventurous sites. People of all ages and genders from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi climb to advanced levels on Trail 3, Trail 5 and Trail 6.
My personal experience of hiking trails is extraordinary; seeing some fantastic places is an out-of-this-world experience which attracts many people to Pakistan’s naturally beautiful mountains again and again. Not sure yet? Just visit once and you will fall in love with these hills after exploring the hidden gems and hiking trails.