Sibi lies 163 Km. – 3 hrs. drive to the southeast of Quetta at the mouth of the famous “Bolan Pass”. Since the 15th century, this town has been the meeting place of all the tribal chiefs of the area. The British carried on this tradition in the shape of an annual “Darbar” or meeting, combining it with a ‘Mela” (fair) where thousands of Baluchi tribesmen gathered along with their animals in mid-February.
This tradition still carries on and every year during February, Sibi has its famous SIBI MELA, where tribesmen flock from all over Baluchistan, parts of Sind and Punjab with their animals. The salient features of this “Mela” are horse and cattle and cultural shows, tent pegging, camel races, animal markets, and exhibitions of handicrafts, tribal dresses, and folk dances.
Sibi Mela is a cultural festival that has been regularly organized over the past centuries. Basically a livestock trade venue, the festival is considered an extension of the Mehrgarh Civilization (the world’s second oldest agricultural settlement) where domestication of animals was a practice. Per tradition, a large number of livestock breeders gather every spring at Sibi town for sale/purchase, competition, and display of various breeds of camels, cattle, and goats.
Sibi Mela has great significance for the people of this region in Balochistan. Sibi’s Community is so much associated with the festival that they plan marriages; settle debts etc. around the date set for the Mela every year. Sibi remained the principal seat for convening the Shahi Jirga in olden times, mostly to settle tribal disputes. Still, the Local Bodies Convention is arranged at the conclusion of Sibi Mela. Of the twelve months in a year, it is said that Sibians spend six months to prepare for the Mela and the remaining six months to remember it. Other activities include appreciating the natural beauty of Sibi’s terrain and visiting cultural sites.
Irrigation Weirs at the Bolan River and the Nari Gorge are chief attractions for picnics. The shrine of Sufi saint Mulla Muali alias Akhund Pir is another spot of interest where families approach for outings. Akhund Pir is also the site of the oldest graves around Sibi. A small lake/water pond is also being developed for the public. Hillocks in Mal Gwaran offer a view of the Sibi plains including arid zone agriculture and spate irrigation.
National Highway (N-65) and Talli Road offer long drive out and occasional spots to stop by. Bolan Pass offers picnic points while Kachhi Plains offers visits to old, historic mausoleums and shrines. The Sohbat Serai at Sibi is an old historic caravanserai built in 1920 by Sardar Sohbat Khan Gola. It is being restored and developed as the complex of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Balochistan.