Home Global Village Gharban Waterfall – A breathtaking cascade destroyed by neglect

Gharban Waterfall – A breathtaking cascade destroyed by neglect

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Mudassir Saeed |

Most of the time I feel myself in complete conformity with what the famous author Tahir Shah put, in his book House of the Tiger King, about tourism: “As I see the world, there’s one element that’s even more corrosive than missionaries: tourists. It’s not that I feel above them in any way, but that the very places they patronize are destroyed by their affection.”

But not always. As sometimes the case is the opposite: some places are destroyed not by patronizing affection but for the want of it. Visiting Gharban Waterfall translated into such an experience. Gharban Waterfall. It is a feast for the eyes. Its beauty is so delightful. Its neglect is so visible. In short, pleasure surges at first, but only to collide with despair later on. It is probably the least known fall in the world.

The government must empower the communities and help them to exploit the potential of their lands. In areas that are poverty-stricken, a tourism boom will significantly contribute to economic development and employment opportunities.

As I can recall (as most of us), that I had never heard of it, until invited by Waseb Explorer – an informal, non-profit South Punjab-based society that seeks to promote and decipher the hidden underbelly of lands it explores. Specifically, it was Mr. Shoaib Raza, a professor, and a keen photographer, who lured us into the exploration.

He is a gentleman that is very versatile in his behavior. The only singularity that proceeds from his behavior is his immense love for nature. Nature is important. Its love is important, the feelings that connect us with the world of which we are a part of. Planning a holiday out with the ones you care about is important. By every means, waterfalls are the natural wonders on Earth.

Read more: Watch: Thirsty Cobra drinking water from plastic bottle offered by humans

Visiting Gharban waterfall proved a breathtaking experience, since it overwhelms with the stunning glimpses, as well as a soft splitting voice. The Gharban Waterfall is a gorgeous waterfall, located among one of the valleys of the Koh-e-Suleman mountain, in the west of Taunsa Sharif, a Tehsil of the District Dera Ghazi Khan.

Its source lies at a considerable height and flows from the peak of a mountain and is interrupted by many cascades that make it a unique landscape. The color of the water varies from crystal clear to verdant green to azure. It is named after its cardinal direction where it is located at as it forms the ‘western’ end of the main corresponding city of Taunsa Sharif (Gharban originates from Gharb meaning west).

After the drastically reduced incidents of terrorism and with the improving security situation in the country, tourism is becoming popular and growing at a pace to become one of the most important industries in the country.

The features that became Gharban Waterfall were created by forces unknown to locals and visitors alike. The reason is chiefly because there has been no systemic research and partly because the locals are so impoverished that they are, quite expectedly, least interested in the history and geology of the fall.

However, what is apparent is that the water flows in a V-shaped valley – a gorge cut in time by the continuous flow of a stream down to a Gharban hill torrent that, depending on the supply of water, stretches in length to many kilometers. It’s a permanent waterfall and the source of water depends neither on melting snow nor on rainfall. Among the locals, the fall is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of fresh water (though it’s not altogether fit for drinking, it’s salty).

Read more: Warning signs that your body desperately needs more water

Though the people of the area couldn’t suggest a great number of figures that have visited the area, however, one is remarkable. It’s Sheikh al-Widdad. According to the locals, he was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who visited the area and died here (though some others disputed the claim. For them, he’s a disciple of a companion). His grave lies on the top of a hill in a graveyard known after his name. The graveyard is very large in its area. So large that it encouraged the people to call it the largest in the world. The fact is, until honest comparisons are made their claim is hard to refute.

Pakistanis ostensibly might not know of the valley and its surroundings in general. However, this hospitable area has much to offer: from historical heritage to rich arts, folk festivals and natural beauty. 

The fall is a charm hidden from most tourists, until now thanks to the restless efforts of Waseb Explorer. But it is an ideal place for tourists who like extreme trips, since the fall is in the middle of a wilderness with no urban amenities. However, highlighting its beauty and uniqueness and exploiting its recreational, touristic uses form the major challenge for the community surrounding the valley.

Currently the story of Gharban valley is that of deprivation and negligence which paints a grim and depressing picture of how life can be in marginalized parts, which otherwise have great potential to develop as center of pleasure and recreational activities. The area already marks the terminal end point of the province of Punjab and a faraway place from the seat of the provincial power, Lahore.

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Nearly every person in the area is water stressed, as nowhere near sufficient access to clean water is available (the stream water is salty, therefore not suitable for drinking). As the rate of annual rainfall in the area is low and as the population is gradually increasing, the issue of water stress becomes increasingly worrying. Healthcare, access to education, unemployment, building of road and street infrastructure are the other major issues facing the people.

It’s a permanent waterfall and the source of water depends neither on melting snow nor on rainfall. Among the locals, the fall is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of fresh water.

Pakistanis ostensibly might not know of the valley and its surroundings in general. However, this hospitable area has much to offer: from historical heritage to rich arts, folk festivals and natural beauty. 

After the drastically reduced incidents of terrorism and with the improving security situation in the country, tourism is becoming popular and growing at a pace to become one of the most important industries in the country. As the overseas visits in the country are set to rise and tourists are expected to spend more in the years to come, there is a need to develop tourist destinations, especially such hidden charms such as the Gharban Valley.

Read more: Supreme Court summoning of Sindh CM highlights water crisis

The government must empower the communities and help them to exploit the potential of their lands. In areas that are poverty-stricken, a tourism boom will significantly contribute to economic development and employment opportunities.

Mudassir Saeed Laghari is a freelance columnist. He has contributed several pieces to various magazines, especially to Lahore-based Jahangir’s World Times. He also teaches international affairs and contemporary politics. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.


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1 COMMENT

  1. That’s wonderful, its natural beauty as well heart-wrenching the way it is being neglected. Pakistan is really a beautiful country.

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