If you have always wanted to stroll back Pakistan’s history with your kids and the text books looked way too boring, then i have JUST THE RIGHT PLACE for you which i am sure many of you would be unaware of. A hidden treasure, a ‘big deal’ kind of a museum right in the heart of the city to tickle the fancy of kids and adults alike.
As a student, i was an ardent lover of ‘Pakistan History’ as a subject. Loved time-travelling to peek into those partition days or have a mini-crush on the ever cool, heroic personality of ‘Jinnah Baba’. So naturally it didn’t take me longer than a couple of seconds to fall in love with THIS place. I did wish though that they thought of building it when we were studying history, would have made the struggles of many students easier.
In our times, the only way you could relate to the country’s history was either through the text books or JINNAH the movie. (Good old NAFDEC days )
But what made me think that a history museum was a right place for a 2 year old?
No rocket science involved…. planned the trip as my girl is fascinated by Mr. Jinnah. This fondness towards the father of the nation developed during our routine commutes to the city as little one and i had a chit-chat about the ‘Jinnah landmark’ on Islamabad Highway. I, in an attempt to keep her engaged (me being old school discourage the use of mobiles and ipads inside car) would tell her stories about Jinnah baba. My dramatic utterance of ‘UNITY. FAITH. DISCIPLINE’ always made her laugh. I also believed it was the ‘baba’ connotation that grabbed her attention haha, kids love babas, right? As she grew a bit older, she recognized and pointed towards the landmark herself. Now that she knew Jinnah, she went excited upon randomly spotting Jinnah baba’s picture on currency notes, books, Television etc.
The discovery of this super cool museum happened just as randomly as the ‘love for Jinnah’ began. Trolling the places in twin-cities one day, a picture of Quaid’s wax statue grabbed my attention. At first, i thought it was some wailayti (sourced from abroad) picture, but to my astonishment, the details indicated the source as Islamabad. Upon digging deeper, i found out that the Jinnah statue was placed in a museum, situated right in the heart of the city on the top of Shakarparian hills ‘inside’ the famous Pakistan monument.. Surprised right? So was i 🙂
One chilly, overcast afternoon, we headed to the place with quite some average expectations (literally expected to see one life size wax figure there and nothing more ha-ha). I had NO idea that we were up for a wonderfully pleasing and aesthetically brilliant walk down the history.
What does ‘Pakistan Museum’ display?
The museum is broken down into various sections, exhibiting in a chronological order, various periods in Pakistan’s history. There are signboards narrating a very crisp and clear description of each section. The journey begins from Gandhara period displaying beautiful art, architecture and life of Buddhas. Following that, you are taken to 712 A.D when Muhammad bin Qasim introduced Islam in the sub-continent, followed by Ghaznavids, Mughal AND even Sufi era, all in the form of an AH-MAZING display. I couldn’t help but drool over the attention to detail, from clothes to tiles, props to furniture everything was ‘on-point’ and spoke finesse.
The history is spread before you in the most tangible way possible and every single event that led to the creation of Pakistan is right there in front of your eyes. From the War of independence (1857) to the individual struggles made by the national heroes like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam, NOTHING is missed out. In addition to these, there are some original relics, artifacts and preserved manuscripts for display.
You see Quaid-e-Azam’s debonair persona in his graceful attire, statement oxford shoes and gray slick hair making an argument in the most dignified and persuasive way ever. Then, you spot him clad in a trademark sherwani/ karkul cap combo wearing a monocle, addressing the nation on ‘All India Radio’ and if these displays don’t strike those patriotic, sentimental chords inside you than what will?
There is SOOO much to dive into inside the museum, i have dispensed only a little as not to spoil the fun for you.
The trip to the museum can take you anywhere from 1-2 hours and the museum closes at 4:00 pm, so plan accordingly. The cost per head is Rs 50/- only. I have heard they have facilities like audio commentary, booklets, reference library and a movie screening auditorium but i haven’t tried any of these. On the top floor, army and air force relics are on exhibit along with some other stuff like calligraphic evolution etc. I couldn’t spend much time there but it didn’t look like i missed out much :p
The National Monument Museum as it is called was a project of Lok Virsa. Unfortunately you don’t find much information on it online, however call on the numbers provided on Lok Virsa website for any information.
But that is not it.
If you feel the history dose has been too much for you for the day, step out of the museum to revel in the glory of the blooming petals of the Pakistan Monument, which is a sight in itself in the evening time. The mega-spacious courtyards surrounding the monument offer great sitting points for some random chilling out sessions. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the city.
For kids, the alleys leading to the parking place have a lot of crowd-friendly, vibrant attractions, from a monkey dance to candyfloss and popcorn carts, balloons targeting (my all time favorite activity, guilty pleasure ahh) to crispy ‘pappad’, (thin, crispy crackers/tortillas made of flour and sprinkled with a dash of spices) little ones and young-at-heart like me are sure to have a fun-packed time 😀
And some random ones of the lil ones having a ball at the ‘thailas’ (carts) full of chinese stuff.
So, i hope now you know what NOT TO MISS OUT on this Pakistan Day…. or perhaps the coming weekend, if you like me avoid crowds. For 23rd, you can maybe stick to some ‘phuljarrian and patakhaas’ (sparklers and crackers ) sorta fun with kids at home 🙂
Have fun. Enjoy xx