Dawn News

Pleasant weather swelled Eid holidaymakers

ISLAMABAD, Aug 22 : With predictions of pleasant weather becoming a reality during Eid holidays, more people came out to enjoy traditional festivities this year compared to the previous years resulting in massive traffic jams at all the key picnic and entertainment spots in and around the twin cities.

However, to escape the heavy rush of families and young men, some enthusiasts preferred to reach isolated scenic spots located all around Islamabad, which are blessed with enthralling views, especially after the rains on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We tried to go to the traditional spots but the hordes of motorcyclists scared us, luckily my husband knows many places in these hills,” said Azra, a resident of Rawalpindi.

Many who know the region and terrain went to spend the second and the third day of Eid at remote spots at Soan and Koran rivers, which were splashing water beautifully as flash floods gushed down the Murree hills, after the rains.

“This place is like mini-Swat now,” said Azra.

The family had even brought LPG cylinder to prepare tea and warm food, while some experienced picnickers burned twigs to prepare tea and even cook.

An unexpected number of visitors turned up at Play Land and the family entertainment spots of Chattar Park and Valley Park at Salgran.

Both spots located adjacent to the Soan River seemed to be flooded with visitors, as these amusement parks presented an enchanting view, overlooking lush green hills and providing various rides.

“People prefer natural beauty combined with modern swings,” said Raja Wasim, chief executive of Valley Park, “Here families can play in the water, eat while children can run around by themselves and go to any ride they want while the parents can relax.”  Though spending time at such scenic spots was fascinating but the return journey was as terrible as it could be because the traffic was too unruly and people drove on both sides of the road.

The traffic police was on its toes not only all the way up to Muree but in federal capital and Rawalpindi city too.

“We are requesting everybody to drive on their side of the road but even with decent looking people in expensive cars and with families are not listening – not to speak of commercial vehicles,” said a traffic sergeant near, Chattar Park.

The three main chocking spots between Islamabad city and Murree were Lake View Park, Bara Kahu and Chattar Park, while the situation at roads in Murree city was equally messy. With air thickening due to gasoline fumes, as hundreds of engines were running while the vehicles crept forward at snails pace towards their destinations but all the faces lit up when the occupants reached their destination.

“It took us three hours to reach Daman-e-Koh, but it is worth visiting now because it looks like paradise,” said Ayesha, a resident of Islamabad, but she and her family could not gather the courage to follow the train of vehicles going up to Pir Sohawa, and due to the rush, finding a place not already occupied was really difficult.

Like other places, the motorists had to brave the traffic jam before entering the road leading towards Daman-e-Koh as a huge number of families, some even from the outskirts of Rawalpindi were continuously arriving at the Zoo and Japanese Park.

The situation was almost the same at Shakarparian, Rose and Jasmine Garden, Fatima Jinnah Park and other spots in the city, but extraordinary crowds were seen at Lake View Park.

An official of CDA said that more than 100,000 people came to Lake View Park on Tuesday and Wednesday as a result the parking lots fell short of capacity to accommodate the large number of cars and motorcycles.

As the owners of cars patiently waited in the long queues, drivers of commercial vehicles parked their Wagons and Suzuki pickups on Murree road, while the guests coming from Rawalpindi and nearby rural areas walked to the park.

And for the residents of Rawalpindi, the main attraction apart from Ayub Park and Jinnah Park was the Public Park at Shamsabad, because of the circus being held there.

Despite all the rush and long queues, the faces of all those who reached the Public Park glittered with happiness.

“I always wanted to see the Lucky Irani Circus, we will see the next show today,” said a local boy whose family came from inner city, Rawalpindi.

Even kiosk owners selling food and snacks were happy to witness a business boom after one month of low turnover.

The splendid weather conditions, the major food courts of the twin cities were packed in the evening, during the holidays and almost all the restaurants were filled to capacity in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, while the festive looks were more visible at the food streets of Melody, Islamabad and cricket stadium Rawalpindi.

“We all are happy to see the customers enjoying themselves. We only pray that things remain like this because there has not been any terror incident in the area recently,” said the manager at Melody food street.

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