China: Laoshan Velodrome, Beijing Olympics 2008

This Olympics Stadium Postcard shows Laoshan Velodrome, which is one of the venues for Beijing Olympics 2008. It is one of the 10 official postcards issued on the occasion by State Postal Bureau in 2007.
The Laoshan Velodrome hosted track cycling events during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. It has a capacity of 6,000 spectators. A 250-meter oval shaped track is prepared for cycling events. The total area covered by the Velodrome is 33,320 square metres.
The Laoshan Velodrome is being used for international and national cycling competitions and training after the Olympic Games. The velodrome was designed by Schuermann Architects, designers of the ADT Event Center in Carson, CA and the UCI Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland.
The following prepaid stamp was printed on the postcard.
Any thoughts on the Postcard or the Laoshan Velodrome design are welcome!

Historic Center Of Yaroslavl, Russia - A Fairy Tale Land

At first sight, I thought that this fairy tale castle is depicted from Narnia or bears a close resemblance with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - as mentioned in Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling, but the actual story is slightly different.
 The postcard is from the beautiful city of Yaroslavl in Russia, which is a major commercial center in the area since 11th century. The castle shown on the card is absolutely awesome. The clouds and the yellowish trees make the scenery even more charismatic. It is infact a painting, but I believe that the actual scenery would be as beautiful as it is shown here.
You can read more about the Historic Areas of Yaroslavl in Russia on my UNESCO Sites Blog, as it is also a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Russia.

Kids Of Hunza - A Postcard From North Of Pakistan

Sharing a postcard after such a long time made me think that which postcard should I choose to share with my followers and friends. Finally I picked up this beautiful postcard as it is one of the most-favorite postcard on my Postcrossing profile by friends.
This cute postcard comes from the Northern part of Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan which is a beautiful place covered with mountains and valleys.
 Hunza (Burushaski: ہنزہ, Urdu: ہنزہ‎) is a mountainous valley in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan. The Hunza is situated north/west of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500 metres (8,200 ft). The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 square kilometres (3,100 sq mi). Aliabad is the main town, while Karimabad is a popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like Ultar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Passu Peak, Diran Peak and Bublimotin (Ladyfinger Peak), all 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) or higher.

A Cover From U.S.A

Hollywood Actress Bette Davis

Ayub Arch And Lansdowne Bridge In Sukkur Rohri, Sindh, Pakistan Amazing Architecture And Rich History

This beautiful sight is offered in the Southern province of Pakistan -SINDH. The two bridges are named as Ayub Arch (in front) andLansdowne Bridge (at the rear).
History behind the Name : Ayub Arch is named after Pakistan's Military President Field Marshall Ayub Khan who ruled Pakistan from 1958-1970. Lansdowne Bridge was named after (at the rear).

SIZE of  Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge  : It is hardly 4 kms in length with a maximum width of 1 km.
HISTORY of  Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge  : The design ofLansdowne Bridge has always been a headline in the Architectural world. At one time it was believed that this design will not hold itself and will fall to rubble, however it has survived more than a century. You can a lot of details from another blog post about the same bridges at : Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge at Sukkur.
LOCATION of Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge : Bridges connecting the twin cities of Sukkur and Rohri in Sindh, Pakistan.
How to Reach  Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge  : You can reach Sukkur via Aeroplane, Train and by road too. The train takes around 6 hours from Karachi while you can travel by road for approx ___ hours to reach this site.
Hotels/Lodging Facilities on  Ayub Arch and LansdowneBridge Being the 3rd largest city of Sindh province, you can get all sorts of hotels and lodging facilities at Sukkur. Some of the best hotels in the town include InterPak Inn Hotel, Hotel Al-Habib and Mehran Hotel Sukkur.
Specialities of  Ayub Arch and Lansdowne Bridge :

  • Lansdowne Bridge was the longest rigid girder bridge in the World, when its construction began in 1887.
  • Lansdowne Bridge is a Railway bridge.
  • Lansdowne Bridge was inaugurated on March 25, 1889.
  • The bridge provided the Railway link between Lahore and Karachi. Before the construction of bridge the train boggies were required to be transported across the river on ferries.
  • The great steel Ayub Arch was constructed in 1962 and railway traffic was shifted there. 
  • About a hundred feet apart, the two bridges seem like one from a distance. 
  • The Ayub Arch became the world's third longest railway arch span and the first bridge in the world to have "the Railway desk slung on coiled wire rope suspenders." 
  • Dr. D.D. Steinman of New York, proponent of 'vocational aesthetics' designed this graceful bridge which cost about two crore rupees. 
  • The foundation stone of Ayub Arch was laid on December 9, 1960. 
  • Ayub Arch was opened by President Muhammad Ayub Khan on May 6, 1962.

Astola Island, Pasni, Balochistan - Green Water, Coral Reef & Endangered Turtles

Although Astola Island is a small, uninhabited island in Pakistan'sterritorial waters in Arabian Sea, yet it is Pakistan's largest off-shore island. It is the only significant island in Pakistan's territorialwaters.
History behind the Name : Astola Island is known as JazeeraHaft Talar in the local language, meaning "Island of the Seven Hills"
SIZE of Astola Island : It is hardly 4 kms in length with a maximum width of 1 km.
HISTORY of Astola Island : The first known mention of AstolaIsland in the history is dated back to Arrian's Account of Alexander's Admiral Nearchos in 325 BCE. Nearchos was tasked to explore the coast of Arabian Sea, Gulf of Azadi and Persian Gulf. According to Dr. A. V. Williams Jackson, "The seamen on board the ships of Nearchos, being superstitious, like the sailors of all ages and countries, were much frightened at the weird tales told about an uninhabited island, which Arrian calls Nosala, and is now known as Astola or Astalu. It lies nearly midway between Urmera and Pasni headlands, and is to this day as much an object of dread to the Med fisherman as it was long ago to the Greek sailors."
LOCATION of Astola Island : Lying in the Northern Tip of Arabian SeaAstola Island is about 25 kms off the shore of Makran coastline and approx 39 kms SE of Pasni - Pakistan's Fishing PortAstola Island is the northern most island in Arabian Sea.
How to Reach Astola Island : You can access Astola Island by hiring/ renting boats from Pasni. In order to reach Pasni, you will have to travel by road from Karachi or Gawadar on Makran Coastal Highway. It takes about 5 hours to reach Astola Islandfrom Pasni via motor boats.
Hotels/Lodging Facilities on Astola Island In one word I can say NONE. The island is totally uninhabited and has no hotels at all. Despite being a popular yet "Hard" destination for eco-tourism, tents are the only source of spending a night, and that too you will have to carry with you.
Specialities of Astola Island :

  • Astola Island is popular for its limited marine life and wildlife. 
  • The endangered species of Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle nest on the beach of the island at the foothills of the cliffs. 
  • Astola Viper is an important endemic reptile found on the island.
  • A large number of breeding water birds including coursers, curlews, godwits, gulls, plovers and sanderlings also live on the island.
  • The island is also the home of Coral Reef.
  • Ruins of an ancient Hindu Temple of Hindu Goddess - Kali can be seen on Astola Island.
  • A small Mosque dedicated to Muslim Saint - Khawaja Khizar.
  • Camping, Fishing and Scuba Diving can be planned, but provisions will have to be carried by you.
  • Spending a moonlit night at Astola Island, having camp fire and fish would surely be a lovely experience.
    Would you like to spend a night at Astola Island?

Benazir Bhutto's Coin

So finally I have the first picture of the coin featuring Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Although the portrait on the coin seems less like her, still it's a nice one. 


Scouting 2007 Centenary Stamps And FDC From Luxembourg

A magnificent First Day Cover from Luxembourg is here to recharge your collecting and scouting senses.
 This FDC from Luxembourg was issued to mark the Centenary of Scouting in 2007. The Scouting 2007 Centenary included celebrations around the globe and festivities took place in a scouting way.
You can read more details from here: Scouting 2007 Centenary

The FDC was issued with two stamps, The first stamp on the right-hand side depicts a world globe and children of different races holding hands. The stamp also depicts a reef-knot which is the symbol of scouting around the planet. It is an EUROPA Stamp and is of 0.70 denomination.
The second stamp on the left-hand side is of 0.50 face value and depicts a scouting camp and a camp fire. It seems to be a painting made by a kid. It is also an EUROPA Stamp from Luxembourg.
I love this FDC. Can anyone tell me why this hat is on the cover? Is it a scouting symbol in Luxembourg or there is some other story behind it???

200 Years Of Salzburg Theatre In Austria

A beautiful vintage First Day Cover from Austria featuring the 200 years of "Salzburg Theatre". The stamp and FDC were issued on 14 November 1975 and is magnificently preserved.
The FDC was sent to me by Mr. Arslan Ali Overstreet from Wild Postcards.
I really loved the stamp and the postmarks on the cover.

Golden Jubilee Celebrations Of Founding Of China - Pak-China Friendship

The year 1999 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1 949-1999). This event is all the more important for the Chinese nation as the whole mankind is on the verge of entering the 21st century.
People’s Republic of China appeared on the map of the world on October 1, 1949, which was the culmination of the glorious struggle of the Chinese people started from the democratic Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen who inspired the resurgence of China.
The Chinese people suffered greatly for more than a century but they never compromised with the status quo and relentlessly struggled against the forces of exploitation. Eventually, they came out victorious under the dynamic leadership of Mao Zedong.
On October 1, 1949, some 300,000 people gathered at theTian’anmen square in Beijing and Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central People’s Government proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The national flag of China is red in colour which symbolizes Revolution, the five stars on the flag symbolize the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the communist party of china (CPC).
The national emblem of China is ‘Tian’ an men in the center illuminated by five stars and encircled by ears of grain and a cogwheel. Tian’anmen symbolizes the Chinese nation and the ears of grain and the cogwheel represent the working class and peasantry.
After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong and Chou En Lai played a vital role not only to strengthen the roots of the Communist Party of China but also to improve the economic lot of the Chinese people.
Chou En Lai was the chief architect of New China’s foreign policy and led the country with remarkable dexterity and talent, Henry Kissinger described Chou En Lai as “the greatest statesman of our era”.
He was a man of remarkable vision. After gaining for China its rightful place in the UN Security Council in 1971, Chou En Lai recorded yet an other major diplomatic success when in early 1972, he received US President Richard Nixon in Beijing.
The visit led to normalization of relations between China and the United States of America. In this historic reconciliation, Pakistan served as a bridge between the two great nations of the world.
After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, Deng Xiao Ping guided the country and embarked upon a programme of modernization, with economic reconstruction as its priority task.
Deng Xiao Ping was the chief architect of China’s Reform and the opening up drive (1978) to the outside world. Today, the People’s Republic of China is an emerging economic giant in Asia.
Since 1980, China has established special economic zones in Guandong, Fujian and the province of Hainan. In 1984, China opened 14 coastal cities to overseas investment. In 1990, the Chinese government decided to open the Pudong New Zone in Shanghai to overseas investment, which has now become an international economic center.
On July 1,1997, People’s Republic of China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong and proclaimed it a Special Administrative Region under the principle of “ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS”. People’s Republic of China will resume her sovereignty over Macao on 20th December 1999.
Pak-China friendship is unique in the history of the world. Pakistan was one of the first countries, which accorded recognition to People’s Republic of China. The government of Liaquat Au khan vigorously supported the cause of China in the United Nations.
Formal diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China were established on May21, 1951.
Pakistan and China have maintained extremely cordial relations during the last five decades.
China has always extended full co-operation to Pakistan in its developmental projects in agriculture, energy, industry, defence and tele-communications. This is considered a model relationship among two neighboring countries of the Third World.
With the rapidly growing closer relations between the two countries, the exchange of cultural and trade delegations has become more frequent. China fully supports Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir. Likewise, Pakistan has always subscribed to the idea of “One China” policy.
People’s Republic of China is destined to become more vigorous and achieve even greater successes in the next century. It is hoped that bilateral relations between Pakistan and China will further strengthen in the next millennium.
To commemorate the Golden Jubilee celebrations Pakistan Post Office is issuing a set of 2 commemorative postage stamps of denomination of Rs 2 and Rs 15 on September 21, 1999.

World Cycling Championship 1972; France

Another wonderful FDC from France is here for you. The FDC commemorates the event of World Professional (Elite) Road Cycling Championship held in Gap - a commune in Southeastern France. GAP is also in the run for hosting 2018 Winter Olympics.

The stamp and the FDC were issued on 22 July 1972. The race consisted of 272.564 km and the best time was 7 hours, 5 minutes and 59 seconds. 89 cyclists started the race but only 42 of them reached the finish line. It was surely a tough one. Isn't it?
Marino Basso of Italy won the Gold medal while his fellow Italian Franco Bitossi got Silver. The third position went to Cyrille Guimard of the host country France.
My sincere Thanks to Jean-Michel for sending me this beautiful FDC from France. 

Breeds Of Dogs Of India: FDC

A very beautiful FDC from India with a set of 4 gorgeous dog stamps. Stamps  featuring 4 different breeds of dogs include following:-
  • Himalayan Sheep Dog (Left-most stamp)
  • Rampur Hound (2nd stamp from left)
  • Mudhol Hound (3rd stamp from left)
  • Rajapalayam (Right-most stamp)
The 4 dog breeds from India are also featured on the left side of the First Day Cover while the postmark features only three of them.Which one is missing is hard to tell..... At least for me... :)

The series of stamps on Indian Breeds of Dogs was released at the5th National Dog Show of the Kenel Club of India in Chennai on 9 January 2005. The postmarks on the cover are from the capital -New Delhi.

Indeed a magnificent cover! Isn't it? What do you say???

Pakistan FDC: 50 Years Of Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah, 2001

Here is a beautiful First Day Cover (FDC) from Pakistan. The FDC was issued on 28 December 2001 on the eve of 50th Anniversary of Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah, Pakistan. The beautiful stamp falls into the military stamps category depicting charging infantry, moving tanks and various products of Pakistan Ordnance Factories including arms andammunition ofvarious calibres and weapons. 
The beautiful postmark used to cancel the FDC shows the monograms of three services of Pakistan namely Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy. The top centre monogram is of Pakistan Army. It shows two crossed swords with an increasing crescent and a star onthe top. The bottom right monogram is of Pakistan Air Force depicting a flying falcon and a star on top; where as on the bottom left is the monogram of Pakistan Navy featuring an anchor in the middle and a crescent and a star on top.

Brief History Of Pakistan Ordnance Factories:-

During their colonial rule in India, the British raised 16 Ordnance Factories. At the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947, we were unlucky that all the sixteen factories fell to Indian share. Newly created Pakistan with fragile state apparatus and fragmented armed forces had absolutely no arms and ammunition manufacturing facility to meet the security challenges to its sovereignty. 

The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khan Liaqat Ali Khan immediately realized this imbalance and issued directive within four months of creation of Pakistan to establish an ordnance factory to manufacture 303 rifle and its ammunition in Rawalpindi. Subsequently, the foundation stone of four workshops was laid by the second Prime Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Nazim ud din in the small town of Wah in December 1951. This was the first step towards the establishment of mother defence industry in Pakistan.

Today by the grace of God Almighty, Pakistan has fourteen big factories at Wah which are taking care of almost 100% requirements of our armed forces. This modern defence industrial complex, which is the oldest & largest in Pakistan defence production industrial system, later helped many other sister defence production setups to flourish. Resultantly today Pakistan has a reasonably good defence production potential in which Pakistan Ordnance Factories occupy the central position.

France: Munich Olympics 1972

Hello Pals!
I am here after a little absence. I have to show you a beautiful cover from my Olympics collection. It is an official FDC from France marking the event of Munich Olympics 1972 held of course in Munich (ThenWest Germany).

Unfortunately, the event saw a massacre on September 5 by some members belonging to the Black September Organization who broke into the Olympics village and took 11 Israeli athletes hostage in their apartment. They killed two of the athletes in their apartment after fighting back.

Afterwards during a botched German rescue attempt at the military airport of Furstenfeldbruck, where the captors with their hostages had been transferred by helicopter, ostensibly to board a plane bound for another country, all the surviving Israeli hostages were killed by a terrorist who threw a grenade into the helicopter carrying the hostages in one helicopter and another terrorist who sprayed the second helicopter with machine gun fire.

The games were suspended for some time but the Olympics committee decided that "the Games must go on". Competition resumed a day later.
The 1972 Munich Olympics were officially named as Games of the XXOlympiadThe official motto of the games was "The Happy Games". The emblem of the Games was a blue solar logo (the "Bright Sun"). The Olympic mascot, the dachsund "Waldi", was the first officially-named Olympic mascot.
France finished in 17th position in the final medal rankings, with two gold medals(Cycling, Men's 1000m Sprint and Sailing, Men's Finn) and 13 medals overall. Pakistan also competed in the event and managed to win a silver medal in Men's Field Hockey Team Competition.
I think that this particular cover was issued during the torch relay of Olympics. Can anyone put me wise on this issue? The FDC was sent to me by M. Chapeau Jean-Michel from France. Thanks Michel for such a nice cover.

A Fish From The Local Pond

Here is just a beautiful piece of Origami which I made for my cute little sparrows. They love fish after watching"Finding Nemo". Can someone from Taiwan get me a set of two miniature sheets with "Finding Nemo" theme? The miniature sheets were issued in2008. I am dying to lay my hands on them.....

Are there any other friends who like to create crafts by using paper or anything? If yes! What all? Just leave a comment.