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When at Monal

With the year ending, Flashbacks of the adventures and great times I had this year demand that I blog some of those memories. And while The Fairy Meadows travelogue is still pending , my heart wanted me to share this one beautiful night of my life. The night when I  saw the lights from Monal for the first time.

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We humans have a natural, inevitable and almost childlike infatuation with lights. I realized this on my way , up to the top. As our host of the evening drove the car up to the mountain, round and round it went, I rolled down the windows and stuck my head out. The wind against my face was cold. But it’s what my eyes saw in the sky that made me scream like a kid.

 It was sparkling with diamonds. Diamonds that we can never touch. Or eat.

I would never forget those moments. Or any moments that I have spent behaving like a maniac upon seeing a  sky full of stars. The same sky was hundred times more alive with twinkles when I had visited Islamabad in 2013. When you are driving to Islamabad at a clear night and you’re almost near Rawalpindi, you witness a mesmerizing sky filled with wonders. Stars scattered everywhere. 

This time, I was headed towards the most talked about Restaurant,  situated at the top of a mountain.

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This is Monal. 

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This part of the restaurant is very small as compared to the rest of the place. If you ever visit Monal, I would suggest , you roam the whole place as I unfortunately, couldn’t. Because we were in a rush. Secondly, we were done with our food so no point staying there, thirdly, my camera battery had died on me right in the middle of the dinner. And The last reason is perhaps the main culprit. We females had wasted so much time on admiring the amazing shops outside the Restaurant that we didn’t realize the men inside are getting upset and hungry. 

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This man had the most amazing Kashmiri Kurtas in his possession. Out of which,  one Firozi Kurta stole my heart. I tried my best to make this man lower the price of it which in my opinion wasn’t much, but according to my mum, it was outrageous. 

My best shot at getting the price lowered was to bribe him with the prospect of being published at my website. 

Hi Mr, Shop man. In case you are reading this, I did keep my promise. You are on my website. Congratulations!!!

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 Another shop next to this one was of jewellery. I think my mother bought some earrings from there for me. I’m not sure what else she got as jewellery is not my thing. 

Moving on, we entered the most comfortable place. 

And it’s one damn expensive place, too, if you don’t order smartly. 

In our case, we were hungry for sure but we were more hungry for the sight so we made sure we don’t order anything that would go to waste or anything extravagant.  Our menu was Pakistani so it cost us around 3k to 4k to eat to our fullest. 

I can’t believe it.

But that’s the truth. 

The place is packed with people , and the air there is full of delicious tastes. I spent most of my time there photographing the view. And photographing the people. My cousin wouldn’t let me sit for one second and made sure he’s got enough good pictures taken for his Facebook Display.

I couldn’t be more annoyed with this but then my mom joined in, and I couldn’t refuse to play the role of the happy photographer. 

And after few minutes, my camera battery died. I handed the battery to the polite Restaurant Man serving us that evening, and till we finished out dinner, the battery was decently charged. It gave me the chance to take these further shots.

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The above pictures were taken while my cousin enjoyed his Tea standing near the Metal fence. That’s where people get to enjoy the view, as before them sparkle the city lights. 

Once everyone went their way to enjoy their few last moments at this place, with tea in hand. I sat down with my cup of tea and took some random shots. It gets too disturbing to capture human faces all the time you know. You ought to appreciate the details in the objects, too.  And this shot was my favorite picture of the evening. You may or may not understand why. It sat there, quietly, as per our will. Quenched my thirst, as per my will. Not asking me to picture it all. That made it even more innocent. It doesn’t make sense, I know. But sometimes it does.

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What happened to the Photographer?

They could not take a normal picture of her. I had only a series of some blurred and unfortunate shots. Nobody could take a one decent picture of mine. In some pictures my face is not visible. And in one of them I have a glass in hand blocking my face. The pictures my mom try to take of me had me out of focus, and the background very clear. The shots my cousin brother took had me in focus but sadly, the angles are very out of this world.

If you’re ever in Islamabad, try not to miss this place. I highly recommend it after The Faisal Masjid.

That night when we got home, I was too tired but too happy. I still remember the last thought on my mind as I drifted to sleep. It was a half typed text to a friend, telling how beautiful the stars looked. So did the night.

The Monal Restaurant,
9 km, Islamabad – Pirsohawa Road, Islamabad
Phone: 051 5837218, 19, 20

For details, visit: http://themonal.com/

  • That view is beautiful! We have something similar in Cairo, a mountain top where you can look down on the city. But there aren’t any great restaurants like the one you featured, just makeshift cafes.

    And the photographer hardly getting photographed is so normal in my life too! Sometimes I have to remember to hand over the camera to someone and hope it comes out nicely focused.

    • Khanum

      The place is worth visiting.

      And about the photographer part. Well, it’s a pain seriously, but then am very glad that I enjoy to stay behind the lense more. Having my picture taken makes me laugh alot and I can’t pose for amateurs. Only a professional photographer can make me do it. Lol see!

  • Hai Khanum, I love going up a mountain, I love the night sky, and I love stars, and thats why I love your story above. Here in my country, Indonesia, also have some similar places like that, a beautiful place worth a visit. It’s really nice to see your photograph about Monal, thank you for sharing beautiful posting.