Sunday, July 24, 2011

Schools and dinos in the Himalayan foothills

by Salman Hameed

I'm in Pakistan (Rawalpindi) these days visiting family. Yesterday we had a chance to take an overnight trip to a small village named Malot in the Himalayan foothills (it is about 60 kms or 2 hours from Rawalpindi). It is close to Murree - one of the busiest tourist destinations in Pakistan - but thankfully, it is slightly off the beaten path. First here are two pictures of the place to give you an idea of the view from the location:


Here is a picture of the back wall of a public secondary school for girls.


There are often complaints about the ruinous state of public schools. But this one looked quite good, and so did the boy's section (I did not get a chance to take a picture of that). I discovered that the boy's school was completely destroyed in the 2005 earthquake - and it has been built again completely from scratch.  I have blogged about girl's schools destroyed by the Taliban, so here is also a picture of a thriving school in the northern regions of Pakistan. And what a beautiful location!

There were also couple of unexpected things on the way. First, there was a fiber-glass shop that had models of different animals outside, including dinosaurs. It was just odd to see dinosaurs right off the main road, right next to a toll-plaza:

But a stranger thing was this statue/model of an unidentified animal right in front of a residential area:

This is a huge model. I mean this picture is taken from the highway and it still looks big. Now we have a dispute going on in our family if this is a horse, lama, or some sort of (perhaps yet undiscovered) dino. We did not take the time to stop and examine it (this picture is from a moving car). Nevertheless, we did agree that is an odd gigantic structure to be in front of a residential area. Has anyone else seen this animal model on this road and do you know what it is and why its there?

And in case you are wondering, yes, I have been eating mangoes every day here. And here is a piece of BBQ from Saturday night, and the picture of a devilish cat wanting a slice of it:


I also had a chance to visit the Pakistan Natural History Museum in Islamabad. More on that and Lok Virsa: Pakistan National Heritage Museum later.

10 comments:

Gary said...

Salman

The huge unidentified animal in front of the housing blocks is probably Indricotherium, an extinct giant rhinoceros. It was also known as Baluchitherium from its first finds in Baluchistan so you are in the right part of the world for it.

Here is a link to some info about it including some pictures one of which resembles your photo.

Regards Gary Dargan

http://carnivoraforum.com/index.cgi?board=dinosaur&action=print&thread=2797

Gary said...

Salman

The huge unidentified animal in front of the housing blocks is probably Indricotherium, an extinct giant rhinoceros. It was also known as Baluchitherium from its first finds in Baluchistan so you are in the right part of the world for it.

Here is a link to some info about it including some pictures one of which resembles your photo.

Regards Gary Dargan

http://carnivoraforum.com/index.cgi?board=dinosaur&action=print&thread=2797

Akbar said...

Thanks Gary, on a second look, it does seem like the Baluchitherium. The size couldn't be more appropriate, especially its comparison with the two storey mansions.

Ali said...

Well, looking at the picture you've given, Salman I think it is a giraffe before its neck evolved. lol

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks Gary. Yes, I think it is a Blauchitherium. I did find out the owner of the residential area is fond of statues. Apparently he has a big Greek statue elsewhere and even a Statue of Liberty. But it is certainly cool to have a Baluchitherium there...

Akbar said...

Your Pakistani version of Billy the kit, just a bit underpriviledged, sitting in the drain :-(

Quellspring said...

I think it's a Trojan Baluchitherium. The interior is probably full of Turks :) Be sure to tell us about your experience in the natural history museum in Islamabad. We will soon be visiting the MNH in London and can compare notes.

Akbar said...

Quellspring:
If it is a trojan baluchitherium, the turks are already dead inside, amid sweltering and humid Pakistani summer with temperatures in high forties celsius, and frequent power breakdowns :-)

ASIM MIRZA said...

Dear Salman,The Baluchitherium you have seen is World Largest land Mammal You will surprise to know that it is created by me and is the first Pakistani in the world and in muslim world.I'm very grateful to that you have taken notice.To know me visit www.Mughalartintl.com and mail mirzacreations@yahoo.com
Regards.
Asim Mirza.

ASIM MIRZA said...

Dear Salman,The Baluchitherium you have seen is World Largest land Mammal You will surprise to know that it is created by me and is the first Pakistani in the world and in muslim world.I'm very grateful to that you have taken notice.To know me visit www.Mughalartintl.com and mail mirzacreations@yahoo.com
Regards.
Asim Mirza.