Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Museum of Natural History and Shakarparian

The Museum of Natural History is very close to Lok Virsa. In fact, Sharkarparian and Pakistan Monument are also all in the same vicinity. 

The Museum was quite a decent one I must say but it could be modernised and brought up to standard. For instance, there could be more interactive features which would really help kids and adults learn about Pakistan's diverse natural environment. The exhibits were great and, there was even one about the degradation of the environment. 

Shakarparian is just a beautiful name. I can't remember if I have ever been before. I'm sure my parents took me when I was a little kid. But that name has always stuck with me and, conjures up the most beautiful gardens in my head. And guess what, they really are beautiful gardens. I loved walking around there with Kavita. She had a great time running up and down, giving me an almost heart attack now and then. That place is a perfect picnic spot. I hope I can go there again and spend a golden afternoon again.

Shakarparian  "is derived from two words from the Potohari language, Shakar - meaning 'sweet', and Parian from 'Parao' - meaning a place to rest, or stop over - layover during long journeys." [Wikipedia article]

It's an accurate scene of pollution. 
Kavita posing in front of a blue whale skeleton. And, then, Kavita promptly fell asleep. The museum staff were so helpful that they offered to mind the pram while I went upstairs to take a peek at the whale shark and then down back again to see the other part of the museum. The director of the museum himself showed me around. And, then, he asked his staff to take some photos of Kavita and I in the gardens. 
That's me, posing in front of the whale shark which was apparently found in the waters close to Karachi. It had swum too close and then, died. It was brought to Islamabad and, preserved. The staff showed me the tank in the gardens where is kept in some chemicals for some months, preserved and then hauled up to the top floor of the museum. 
A mural about the Baluchiterium, not a dinosaur, which for some reason I had believed it to be, but one of the largest land mammals to have ever lived! Read more about it here

The blind Indus River Dolphin which is endangered. See an excerpt from Wikpedia: "The Indus dolphin has the long, pointed nose characteristic of all river dolphins. The teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed. The teeth of young animals are almost an inch long, thin and curved; however, as animals age the teeth undergo considerable changes and in mature adults become square, bony, flat disks. The snout thickens towards its end. The species does not have acrystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation. The body is a brownish color and stocky at the middle. The species has a small triangular lump in place of adorsal fin."
Actual fossils of the Baluchiterium
Another blue whale skeleton at the entrance of the Museum. Quite amazing!
Kavita and I pose in front of a tree at Shakarparian. I got Kavita some balloons and an ice-cream cone. Might I add that sight seeing in Islamabad has been so much fun. Moreover, everyone is more than happy to take your pictures for you in case you're alone. Most people even offer to take more than a few photos at different angles and, then let you see whether they are OK. It's like everyone wants to make sure you get the most out of your time. 

I did not know that Islamabad's Master Plan was approved at this very point!
I also met a very enthusiastic photographer at this point who insisted he will take some fantastic portraits of Kavita and I and, have them immediately printed. He took several photos, some of them disastrous, and which I didn't have to pay for, but they all were quite nice. And, there was a little mobile studio where the photos were printed. They cost me 250 rupees. And, the fellow also clicked some photos for me with my camera phone.
I met the most soft spoken son and father here. Guess what their business is? They have this weighing machine and, visitors apparently weigh themselves for 10 or 20 rupees. how do you make a living out of that? here is Kavita making friends with the boy. he really was sweet and, when I teased him about all the weighing machine could not do (like figuring out your age), he just smiled and laughed.

I felt I 
had met characters out of a Carlos Ruiz Zafón novel.
This fountain was not working but Kavita loved running up and
down the ramp leading to the fountains, much to my chagrin. I always wanted to use the world "chagrin."

I just love this photo!

Everything you wanted to know about Islamabad

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