I heard of Mubarak village the very day my university planned a field trip to it. I thought it would be far away from Karachi and that it will take us at least two hours to reach the place. However, it was hardly a drive of 15 minutes from Hawks’ Bay.  Before visiting the site, we had no idea about what it was. Being a student of geology, I thought it’s definitely going to be some dry area full of rock sediments. But the moment we arrived, I was proven wrong. The visit turned out to be the best experience of my life. The forms of nature that little village and the surrounding areas accumulated could not be slotted under categories.

Our bus stopped right in front of the creamy limestone mountain. The presence of limestone and the smell of beach indicated that the sea was somewhere nearby, but I couldn’t see it even through my telescope. For a while, I consoled my heart that this smell might be coming from Hawks’ Bay’s beach. But I knew that in this lifetime, at least, Hawks’ Bay could never smell this fresh because of the contamination. When my instructor instructed the group to climb up the mountain, I could see varieties of limestone in just one formation. These were ranging from white, creamy, baked to gray limestone. It was difficult to recognize and believe how perfectly the transition between colors was happening in the formation. Though it was extremely difficult to climb, the entire struggle I had to go through to get up there was worth it. After I came out from my fascination of limestone color transitions, I could realize I am beneath the sky. A sky that is vast, blue and pure. It was so clear even in the shining sun that I almost felt I could touch it. It seemed as if a jolt of peace struck my heart.

Once we decided to move forward, we had plenty of new surprises waiting for us. Who could imagine looking at dead body reserves of animals that existed billions of years ago and had since gone extinct? I had the experience. The formations were full of fossils of many sea dwelling animals like echinoderms, brachiopods, gastropods, cephalopods and bryozoans. Fossils are in actual the remains of animals that the rock body has preserved. Sometimes, the entire body is preserved in rock, where at times, only the print can be seen. Fossils aren’t greater in size than the average human palm hence they can easily be extracted out from the mountain and carried along. Those who love to study the organisms and marine inhabitants of billions of years ago, this is the place.

It was fun searching for fossils of our choice and trying to spot them out in the vast variety that was available in formations. One could visibly understand what kind of marine creature existed in the previous decades. Oh my! I was surprised by the evolution that these species had undergone in just a few years. If they were not limestone, which is usually precipitated in water, I would have never believed that these fossils are made up of sea creatures. The best part about it was that the real spines of echinoderms were still visible in the formations. When echinoderms were alive, they used to bear pointed spines on their body. However, once they died and were preserved as fossils, the spines detached as they couldn’t be preserved. Those spines stuck out of the surface that we were walking on and constantly jabbed into the sole of my shoe; but I enjoyed taking them out. I could not believe that I am touching the spines of species that have gone extinct. I thought people should come and collect them and value them the way they value the eggs of dinosaurs. Ah! What a pleasure it was. I felt as if I’m on the top of the world.

To our next destination, we were asked to walk simply without questioning. I didn’t know that I was heading towards the sea but I could feel the smell. However, I was hopeless as I already had climbed the mountain before and ensured that there was no sea around. Walking at a slow pace, I saw the entire crowd of my class stopping at a point. I rushed to match their pace and my eyes remained opened for minutes. What a moment of astonishment it was. I could see beautiful mountains, some taller than others. Some were small and beautiful, where others were high and folded. I have no words to define the beauty of that scene. I could never have imagined rock bodies in dry environment could ever be this beautiful. What came up as the next surprise was the color. The green transition to red then to pink, the lavender and then finally yellow was I thought was the most striking experience of my life. I mean, who could have imagined seeing a colorful, wavy transitional mountain here? I can say it was a visual treat. I bet such an art of nature cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

It was just so difficult to look anywhere else; so difficult that I couldn’t notice the blue sea in front of my eyes. Ah, I almost had a mini heart attack. Where did it come from? Was this beautiful, exotic view, a part of my country? If yes, then why hadn’t anyone ever discussed it before? Wasn’t it like the beaches I used to see in the pictures of beautiful foreign countries and admire? Oh God, I had several questions in my mind and just one answer to them: “heaven must be like this”. The view was so beautiful that it seemed as if the entire peace of the world was in the water. It was blue – actually blue. Looking at it from far away, I could not differentiate between the sea and the sky – they simply blended into each other. At that moment I realized that I was viewing the best sight of my life. The beach was called sunhera beach, the salty saline beach. I could see a lot of fisherman bringing nets filled with fish from the sea. Beautiful, it was.

The surprise wasn’t over; there was still a blast to come. We were asked to step into a ship that fishermen used to go into the sea and catch fish. Enjoying the calmness of the sea and soothing effect of the wind, I could see an island coming near to me. I shouted loudly – oh my God! The place was unfolding surprises, one after the other.

What I had viewed was the Chanra Island, a beautiful triangular peak island having dikes and slips and all the best geological features. I could see many groups diving from that point into the deep sea. For a moment, my heart stopped as one of the men did not came out for about a minute. I wondered if he might have drowned. As soon as he reappeared on the surface, I asked him if he was fine. To this, he answered, “fine? I am feeling wonderful!” – and other synonyms. “Have you ever experienced the underwater life?” he asked me, “It’s so clear down there. I am going for my next dive now!”

Whoa! That developed in me the urge to put my head down and see what’s going inside within the sea that made everyone so content. But unfortunately, I couldn’t. We didn’t stay for long over there and had to leave as it was about evening.

All that I left with was a smile: a smile that was there because nature that day had made me speechless. I could never imagine the exceptional beauty of my nation’s land. Surely the visit gave me a new reason to love my country. I wonder why this place has remained unknown to date and none have been able to discover its mysterious beauty. If, for once, words could define what it was, I can say Mubarak Village is a piece of heaven bestowed to the earth.  The site has little “deposits” of peace and joy scattered all over it, which one can explore, pluck, and keep for a lifetime.