By Zoya Khan
ISLAMABAD, May 8 (APP): Daman-i-Koh, located in the foothills of Margalla Hills some 2400 feet above the sea level, offers a thrilling bird’s eye view of the federal capital to the visitors, and has become one of the most frequently visited recreational spots.
Hundreds of people visit Daman-e-Koh daily and is rushed by scores of people on weekends making it a popular destination and panoramic view point for the visitors and a hill top garden in north of Islamabad located in the middle of the Margalla hills.
The name “Daman-e-Koh” is a conjunction of two Persian words, which together mean foothills. It is a midpoint for tourists on their way to the higher view point Pir Sohawa, which is located at the top of Margalla hills at an elevation of about 3600 ft.
There was a plan to construct a chairlift from Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa but Capital Development Authority did not do so as the environment experts raised concerns. However, CDA officials claimed that the project was feasible, adding that the deliberations on the project were still underway.
One of the main problems for reaching Daman-e-Koh is absence of transport availability. The only option for visitors is to hire a taxi to reach their destination.
In this regard when Managing Director PTDC Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor was contacted, he said that PTDC had recently launched a city tour bus service to facilitate tourists with state-of-the-art transport system, which starts from Flashman’s Hotel in Rawalpindi daily at 9 am .
“Initially the bus runs through Saidpur Village, Faisal Masjid, Pakistan Monument, Lok Virsa and Lake View Park. The PTDC was planning to extend the service to Daman-e-Koh as well in near future,” he said.
Leyla Khan, a visitor said that the tourism department and CDA should facilitate Daman-e-Koh visitors with transport, adding that most people could not afford private cabs. He said that it was not affordable for families to visit the magnificent panoramic viewpoint without proper transport system.
It merits a mention here that monkeys are a common sight at the scenic picnic spot. They make beautiful gestures towards visitors and enjoy chunks of foodstuff given by them.
Moreover, the restaurants including that of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and other food points at Daman-e-Koh, offer special packages for get-together and other group events. The place is ideal for afternoon and evening outings. A guitarist also entertains the visitors with melodious music making the place more accentuated.
A PTDC official said a large number of people visit Daman-e-Koh along with their families, especially on weekends.
The PTDC is offering varieties of food to the visitors, aimed at promoting site seeing and tourism, he said and added its restaurant was popular among local visitors, who enjoyed meal along superb view of Islamabad.
PTDC plans to further improve its services in near future on the directive of its managing director. The management of Daman-e-Koh has endorsed the PTDC point of view saying that thousands of tourists enjoy the splendours of this unique spot.
Asima, a visitor, said that visit to Daman-e-Koh was a memorable visit of her life saying the view from the top of the city left her mesmerized. She said that one of the amazing things was the unique Paan (betel leaf) Shop and the other was the musician playing traditional instrument Rubab in a calm and quiet surroundings.