The Beauty of Hingol National Park, Baluchistan
About 190 km west of Karachi, on the Makran Coast, which is in southwestern Baluchistan you will find Pakistanâ€™s largest National Park; Hingol National Park which was established in 1988 and covers a massive area of 1650 square km. What makes this place extraordinary can be attributed to the many picturesque features that are the hallmark of Baluchistan. Beginning with the Makran Coastal Highway, it is accentuated with a remarkable rugged landscape (including mountains, cliffs and valleys).
Then we have the wildlife sanctuary, an ancient Hindu temple, the arid sub-tropical forest with 250 plant species, statues such as Princess of Hope & Sphinx, a lovely beach and a large part is covered with drift sand making it look like a coastal semi desert. It is spread over the districts of Gwader, Lasbela and Awaran.
Wildlife at Hingol National Park
The park has the inlet of Hingol River (the longest river of Baluchistan, which flows throughout the year) in its midst. A truly abundant variety of wildlife is found, which can thrive due to the diverse ecosystems found in the region and because it serves as a winter habitat for migratory birds. Thus the main aim of establishing the park had been the preservation of these animals, specifically the many endangered species. They can be categorized as follows: .
- Mammals such as wild Sindhi Ibexes, Afghani Urials, Chinkara Gazelles, Honey badgers, Long-eared Hedgehogs, Sindh Leopards, Pakistani Sand Cats and Golden Jackals.
- Birds such as Golden eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Red-necked Falcon, See-see Partridge, Painted Sand-grouse, Black Bittern, Stone-curlew and Hoopoe. 14 of the major species found here are very rare.
- Reptiles such as Marsh crocodiles that have been living in Hingol River for hundreds of years as well as Olive Ridley sea turtle and Green Marine Turtles.
- Amphibians such as the Skittering Frog and Indus Valley Toad.
- Fishes such as Golden Mahasher and Botchee, as well as some vulnerable species. At times, schools of Plumbeous Dolphins have been sighted too.
The Nani Mandir at Hingol National Park
Nani Mandir, is the temple of the powerful goddess Hinglaj Mata located in a cave in the mountains up along the bank of Hingol river. It is thought to be one of the oldest temples in the world. Every year Hindus from within Pakistan and India come for a four day pilgrimage which is held in April.
On the way to the Mandir, one comes across the point from where Muhammad Bin Qasim entered Sindh with his army. Here a small mosque has been built and named after him. Graves of some of his soldiers can also be seen on the mountains.
Amazing Statues at Hingol National Park
There are two natural rock statues, one is the Princess of Hope (named by Angelina Jolie when she visited Pakistan in 2002), which looks like a woman with folded arms, wearing a flowing dress. It is thought that she might be 740 years old. The other one has been named Sphinx as it resembles the Egyptian Sphinx (the world famous statues with a human head and body of a lion). They have been shaped by very fast winds that have cut through the muddy hills and mountains that are a leading feature of the Makran Coast.
Kund Malir Beach at Hingol National Park
Kund Malir is a beautiful desert beach with sparkling aquamarine colored water, golden sand and palm trees, while at the back drop are the beautiful rock formations.
Mud Volcanoes at Hingol National Park
In Pakistan, you can find Mud Volcanoes (which are formed when the earth releases mud, slurry, water and gases) in Baluchistan which has about 80 active mud volcanoes, found in groups at many different sites. It is thought that the greatest number is present at Hingol National Park, the most famous is Chandergup which is the highest; rising 300 feet above sea level and esteemed by the Hindus, and they pay their respects while en-route for their pilgrimage at Nani Mandir.
How to Visit Hingol National Park
When thinking of visiting Baluchistan, security concerns do come to mind, but the Makran Coastal Highway is safe up to Gawader as it is under the observation of coast guards and the Army. It is for this reason and also that itâ€™s only a 4 hour journey from Karachi, that in recent years more and more people are visiting this incredible place. You can easily become part of an unforgettable trip by contacting the following: