small bazaar strung along the Karakorum Highway , Besham is midway between
Rawalpindi and Gilgit . It is cut into the hillside above the Indus. Before
building of the bridge for centuries
a raft made of inflated cow-skin used to ply its way across the river
here, pulling upstream in the lee of rocks and then drifting with the current to
the other side.
is the mid-way stop between Rawalpindi and Skardu/Hunza It is a semi desert town
by Indus river as being on the old Silk Road one can see the rock engravings of
old traders and pilgrimages passing through here. A jeep road from here crosses
the Babusar pass to Kaghan valley the old road to Gilgit before the building of
KKH. Nanga Parbat can be seen about 15 km before chilas.
an independent principality ruled by the Mahatir is a town bordering
Afghanistan. The principal attraction is the bazaar, the fort and mosque by the
river and the summer palace of the ex-ruler of Chitral on the hilltop.
fort stands on the bend of the Kunhar river, beside the 100 year old Shahi
mosque surrounded by clusters of enormous Chinar trees. The impressive fort is
the ancestral home of the Mehtars of Chitral ( ex ruling family)
joining palace of five glaciers got is name from Martin Conway in 1892, after
the place “ de la Concorde” in Paris, it is the place upon reaching which
you can see K2 standing isolated from its neighbors right in front of you. As so
many high peaks are visible all around from here that is why it is also called
the Throne room of the Mountain Gods.
Meadow is lush green plateau situated in the foots gin of Nanga Parbat at the
Western edge of the Himalayan Range. The name Fairy Meadows is part of the
legend that Fairy’s have their heaven on this lush green plateau. This
legendry name Fairy Meadows is everlasting gift of the western tourist to the
local people. Fairy Meadow offers superb views of the Nanga Parbat (8125 m) the
highest mountain in Pakistan in Himalayas. (9th highest in the world)
Parbat is a Persian word, which means “Naked Mountain”, the local People
call “ Diamer (Monarch of the God). It is also know “Killer Mountain”
among the mountaineers as more 40 climbers have lost their lives trying to
conquer it during expeditions.
is about 540 km drive through Karakorum Highway, from Islamabad to Raikot Bridge
(1400 m). Where local Jeeps will take you up to the Tatto village. It is one and
half hour excited drive from Raikot Bridge to the last village of Tatto (2900
m). There are several photo stop on the way up to Tatto, including most
impressive view of Karakorum Highway & River Indus from the one of the sharp
turn of the road. On arrival at Tatto have lunch in the local restaurant, after
lunch hire Porters and start trekking on very easy old jeep road for (02 – 03
hours). It would be a great experience to have overnight in fixed camping side,
or in the traditionally built wood Huts, which offers magnificent view of the
North face of the Nanga Parbat.
are several short walks on this plateau, including the full day excursion up to
the base camp (3900 m) of Nanga Parbat. It is very easy walk through the forest
till then the edge of the plateau call Beyal Camp (3500 m). Whereas the trek
from Beyal Camp to base camp is little difficult along the Raikot Glacier.
lush green Plateau of Fairy Meadows is well know for its thick forest of Pine
trees and wild flowers including Edelweiss. The friendly people of the high
mountains of Himalayas still remember the Fairy’s and Nanga Parbat in their
songs. It can be a soul-stirring experience to share music and dance during
capital of Northern areas has been inhabited for thousands of years . The
various waves of invaders that passed through the lower Pakistan also reached
Gilgit ., Bringing their customs and religions with them . Inscriptions and
pictures carved on rocks throughout the region reveal snatches of its history.
the capital of Gojal is a fertile plateau 2500 meters high, with irrigated
fields on either side of the road. The interesting places in and around Gulmit
are the Gulmit museum which is full of traditional ethnic artifacts is in a room
of Raja Bahadur Khans house. There is also the old Mirs residence which is no
longer used and the old Ismaili mosque carved of wood, the tomb of Silum III ,
water mills and old houses are all worth visiting. The higher village of Kamaris
offer fine views back to the jagged
Passu spires about half an hours walk takes you to the 200 year old Andra fort
crossing point between Baltistan and Hunza valley is the Hispar pass which is at
the elevation of 5151 meters from the top looking back gives a feeling of vast
snowy space without a hint of vegetation. Coiling out from snow lake smooth
glaciers writhe between nameless and unclimbed peaks the highest peak due east
is the Baintha Brak 7285 meters high. In the west the Hispar glacier rough and
snow covered stretches down as far as the eye can see, Separating the Hispar
Muztag range on the right from the Rakaposhi and Balchish range.
by the Baltit fort, the famous irrigated terraces of central Hunza arranged as
nearly as fish scales, ripple down the lower slopes of Ultar Mountain. Across
the valley the gleaming snows of Rakaposhi thrust a vertical 5 kilometers
skywards the isolation of this famous beauty spot ended in 1978 by the building
valley Runs from Masherbrum mountain 7821 meters south to Shyok river opposite
Khaplu . Hushe is the last village up the valley it is the starting point for
treks to various summer pastures up five glaciers.
Kalash people live in three valleys between Kunhar river and the Afghan border,
these valleys of Birir, Bomburet and Rum bur are on the edge of the monsoon belt
so the vegetation is dense with giant walnut trees and fruit trees draped in
grapevines overhanging swiftly flowing streams. Lush green fields on the valley
floor grow wheat, barley, vegetables and fodder, and the steep 3000-meter ridges
between the valleys are covered with evergreen forest right to the top.
Kalash love music and dancing and perform different dances for their various
festivals, which are celebrated in May, August, November and December.
3000 Kalash living in about 20 villages were once part of much larger group
living in neighboring Afghanistan, but the Kalash of Afghanistan converted to
Islam and the place is now called Nuristan. The Kalash of Chitral still follow
their own religion a mixture of animism, ancestor and fire worship and have
retained some of their original culture. They make offerings to several Gods
each protecting a different aspect of daily life. Sajigor the highest God is in
charge of everything, Surisan protects the cattle, Goshedoi the milk products
and Praba looks after the food.
women wear black woolen robes like old-fashioned nuns. They hang multiple
strings of beads around their necks and plait their hair into five narrow
braids, which stick out from under a magnificent headdress, made of black
material covered with rows of cowrie shells and assorted buttons and crowned
with a reddish woolen tasseled pompom.
of the Kalash are pale skinned and some of them even have fair hair
blue eyes all of which give rise to the usual legend that they are descended
from the followers of Alexander the Great. Some historians maintain that
Alexander did actually go to Chitral and he was certainly in nearby Dir.
second largest kingdom of old Baltistan was Khaplu guarding the trade route from
Ladakh along the Shyok River. Khaplu is not a town but a collection of scattered
hamlets set amid terraced fields on the wide alluvial fan that stretches from
the base of semi circular wall of mountain and drops some 300 meters to river
level. The people are more liberal and tolerant.
the valley from the top end of the alluvial fan, the imposing summer palace of
the ex Raja gazes down on the kingdom.
4700 meters is reputedly the highest mettaled border crossing in the world. A
red sign announces China drive right. The highway was opened in 1982.the
Khunjerab pass is on a continental watershed . All water on the Pakistani side
flows down the Indian ocean while on the Chinese side it is absorbed in the
Taklamakan Desert. The scenery is remarkably different on the two sides of the
pass. The Pakistani side is a vertical world of desert gorges devoid of any sign
of human life for the last 30 Kilometers. The Chinese side is wide open and
grassy , a high altitude plateau with grazing herds .
an elevation of 5000 meters the base camp is a marvelous sight and following
mountains can be seen from here as well.
peak 8060 Meters
1V 7925 Meters
Throne 7312 Meters
a elevation of 4200 meters a small grassy patch below the cliff face, looking
across the glacier at the fluted ice gullies and steep rock ridges of Masherbrum
is your campsite. This is top of the valley, a dead end in a wide bowl
completely filled with glacier. Ice faces soar out of deep crevasses, sheer rock
walls enclose the bowl and a curtain of 7000 meters peaks prevent the access to
the Baltoro glacier beyond.
in the mountains –up a dramatic barren gorge 19 kilometers long is the
surprisingly green and lush valley of Naltar. Some climatic quirk gives Naltar
410 mm of rainfall per year, more than three times of Gilgit and the valley is
heavily wooded with pine, spruce, birch, rowan and juniper. It is at an
elevation of 2880 meters.
Parbat Base Camp
known as Herligkofer Base camp named after the German Mountaineering organizer
who has led eight expeditions to Nanga Parbat including the first ascent of
Herman Buhl in 1953. From here there is superb view of Nanga Parbat South face.
Elevation of this place is 3660 meters.
Parbat Base Camp
Parbat base is a half a days walk from fairy meadows and you follow the narrow
path along the Raikot glacier and after turning the valley it is thought by the
old hands to be the best view. This is the best view of this fantastic valley.
Nanga Parbat is also known as the killer mountain as it has killed more
mountaineers than any other mountain. It literally means the naked mountains as
not much snow stays on top the steep rocky slopes.
salt in Balti language, it is here that porters prepare themselves and their
food for the glacier journey. Usually a goat is slaughtered and porters singsong
and dance through most of the night. However the place is polluted.
2450 meters is a 150 years old settlement of farmers and mountain guides. This
is the setting off point for climbing expeditions up the Batura , Passu, Kuk and
Lupgar groups of peaks, and trekking trips up the Shimshal valley and Batura
a summer pasture at 4183 meters on the ridge between the Passu and Batura
glaciers. It belongs to Gulkin villagers, who occupy it from June to August. The
views are magnificent from here.
two compact villages ,in the upper Rupal the
houses so close together that a laden donkey cannot pass between them. Here the
people are Gujars , and women wear round pill-box hats covered with veils.
people of lower Rupal originated from Baltistan and still speak a form of Balti
mixed with Shina . The women wear Balti hear dress decorated with beads and
buttons and a brown felt tail hanging down on the back – reminiscent of
headdress of Ladakh.
at a elevation of 4760 meters with superb views all around specially of
Rakaposhi Diran peak and many other peaks.
kilometers south of Skardu on the jeep road to the Deo-Sai plateau is the well
stocked with trout fish the Satpara Lake. There is a stunning view north and
south from the top of the ridge before the lake. You can row to the small islet
on the boat moored by the PTDC rest house. Nearby on a large rock, facing road
halfway between Skardu and Satpara is the Buddha in mediating style carved in
the 7th century.
and in accessible, Shimshal was once a penal colony where the Mir of Hunza
exiled criminals and troublemakers. The 120 households of Shimshal have about
1000 people. The attractions for trekkers are the unspoiled seclusion of the
valley, the many glaciers and various exciting possibilities for return trip.
is the capital of Baltistan and the starting point of some of the best trekking
and mountaineering in the world. The Karpocho fort perched high on the cliff
guards the town. The Indus river bisects it and on the northern bank the main
block of Karakorum mountain rises in a serried wall 150 Km thick with almost 100
peaks rising to over 7000 meters asl. In no other part of the world are there
such a large number of high mountains in a confined space.
name snow lake was given in 1892 by W Martin Conway the first foreign visitors
in these parts. As obvious from its name this lake is in middle of high
mountains below the Hispar pass with superb views all around.
Historically Swat is the most interesting valley in Pakistan. It is also one of the most beautiful as it lies in the monsoon belt and is greener and more fertile than the valleys further north. In the lower swat the valley is wide and the fields on the either side of the river are full of wheat and Lucerne the villages here are prosperous and surrounded by fruit orchards. In upper Swat the narrow river tumbles through pine forests hemmed in by snow capped mountains Swat offer some of the best walking in Pakistan and as well as excellent fishing and climbing. The excavated archaeological sites here range from prehistoric caves through Aryan graveyards to the Buddhist monasteries of which there were once 500 in the valley.
the end of the road of the Astore gorge which is 30 km in length south is the Deo-Sai
Plateau and up north is the massif of Nanga Parbat.
here the trek to Nanga Parbat Base Camp starts and just across is the lateral
moraine of the Tararshing glacier. The elevation is 2911 meters.
the crossing point between two different tribes at an elevation of 4499 meters.
The top is of gravel and the winds are usually biting. The views to the Yasin side show a circle of pointed ,
rocky 6000 meters peaks touched with snow , with a wide green meadow on the
rounded hill in the foreground and the Aghost Bar Glacier snaking down to the
the Chitral side the view is blocked by semi circle of 5000 to 6000 meter peaks
enclosing the glaciated bowl.