Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Romanian Connection - Lahore & Beyond

By Bogdan Radu, ex-intern in GlaxoSmithKline, Karachi

My experience in Pakistan is coming to an end unfortunately. Being in my last days here in Pakistan, my company – GlaxoSmithKline – thought it would be nice for me to travel around the country a bit, to get a deeper sight into Pakistani culture, society and beauties. The plan was made for me to travel to Hunza Valley, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, thought to be the the legendary valley of Shangri-La. On my way to Hunza I was supposed to visit Lahore and Islamabad, this meaning that I would see the the cultural capital of the country and also the administrative capital of Pakistan.

The experience itself was amazing and I would like to start with telling the story of me travelling to Lahore – also known as “The Garden of Mughals” because of its rich Mughal heritage.

I had only one day reserved for Lahore, and for sure I missed a lot of interesting spots. In fact… I saw only 3 up to 4 local attractions. In stead I was fascinated to how different this city can be to what I imagined it would be. I mean, I know Karachi, I stood here for almost 3 months but Lahore is so different and I somehow feel sorry that I didn’t had the chance of experiencing more of it, but at the same time I’m thankful for being there even for one day only.

The history of Lahore is pretty rich in facts and interesting happenings. It is said to be there for the last 4000 years at least and that its founder is Loh, son of Rama (hindu epic hero from Ramayana). More recently though, meaning in the last 500 years, it was ruled by Mughals (it was capital of Mughal Empire for a few years), Sikhs and British. Now its the second largest city of Pakistan with 10 million people, capital of the State Province of Punjab, a symbol for Pakistani independence and the cultural heart of the country.

Read the full story here: http://bogdanradu.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/the-garden-of-mughals/


After a 40 minutes bumpy flight from Lahore to Islamabad, here I was in the capital of Pakistan, a young city, built especially to serve as a capital as Karachi already became to crowded, to exposed, and it was not close to the center of the nation.

So, in the 1960’s the Pakistani Government decided and started to build this city, near the town of Rawalpindi, in the middle of the woods. As per this reason, Islamabad is one of the greenest and well organized cities in South Asia. It is said to count up to 1.5 million people nowadays and if you would ask somebody from Karachi or Lahore how the life in the Capital is, the most probable answer you would get is: “boring”. You could say so, but then again what city doesn’t seem boring compared to the near 18 M people, agitated and nervous Karachi or 10 M people, fascinating and filled with history Lahore?


I myself liked Islamabad very much. It is somehow quiet, impressive through its organized city plan or through some majestic pieces of modern architecture such as Faisal Mosque, Pakistani Monument or Saudi-Pak Building.


Read the full story here: http://bogdanradu.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/me-in-islamabad-and-murree/

Overall, this trip around Pakistan was one of the highlights of my internship, either it was hot or cold (Murree – 10 degrees Celsius and rain during night time), plains or mountains; it gave a better perspective over Pakistan and also the occasion of some new nice friends ;) .


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