A trip to GB

Pakistan is known as a tourist heaven for the most amazing travelling sights in the world. But the most famous region for travelling is the Northern Areas of Pakistan, which was yet to be explored by me, and my dream journey came true through the platform of PFC which supports and organizes a union of journalists’ activities to create a positive impact on Pakistan by providing recreational activities, trips, dinners, conferences and seminars so the journalists could ease up from their fully occupied day to day routine. Special thanks to Malik Salman President Pakistan Federation of Columnist who has organized this trip of media delegation to GB and facilitate us with high end protocol.

This trip was organized to promote the culture and tourism of Gilgit Baltistan the Tourist Heaven.

From Naran to Khunjerab pass this trip was not only full of Beautiful Terrain and Sceneries. But, what made our stay truly memorable is the Hospitality of people and the fun we had on our way as we set out on our road trip. We sang along, laughed and shared amazing moments together.

It was 31st of October, and a bright sunny day, we set out from Lahore on our trip to the northern areas of the country.

We made our journey across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) all the way up to Khunjerab Pass. It was a bumpy ride to Naran but I had the most amazing experience of drinking pure canal water.

Finally when we reached our hotel parhena cottage in Naran the next morning as I woke up I was totally mesmerized by the lake view cottage parehna covered by the beautiful green mountains which looked like a slice of heaven on earth. Our group comprises of journalists were all playing and enjoying there as we all needed vacations too badly
After spending a day in Naran We left early to reach Chilas on time, On our way, we stopped at Lulusar Lake, a beautiful body of water at a distance of around 40 to 50 kilometers from Naran.

After 20 more kilometers, we reached Babusar top – a high mountainous pass which connects Naran to Chilas and reduces travel time to Gilgit by four to five hours. Upon reaching Chilas, we checked into the district and session court Judge Chilas Mr.. Mumtaz Ahmed for a lavish hi tea. Where we learned that Chilas is a conservative area where you would not see many women on the streets.  However River Indus and its lawns offer a good view of the flowing river.

I SALUTE OUR ARMED FORCES AND INTELLIGENCE WHO SAFEGUARD AND MAINTAIN A PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT FOR US TO EXPLORE THE EXQUISITE BEAUTY OF OUR COUNTRY BY FENCING OUR BORDERS IN EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS AND SACRIFICING THEIR LIVES AT BORDERS TO PROTECT OUR HOMELAND.

The same day, we set out early for Gilgit, which is a drive of around three hours from Chilas. On the way, one can catch glimpses of the Nanga Parbat and the conjunction point of three of the highest mountain ranges in the world Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas.

We had a great time in Gilgit, where we were invited to attend the independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan at Gilgit Helipad. Our PM Imran Khan also addressed the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and won their hearts. Although opposition parties are trying hard for the gbelection2020 campaign but as per Gallup Survey so far not being able to win trust of Gilgit people.

Gilgit Baltistan is a land of festivals to promote and revive their culture and tourism. The spring festival in the Yasin Valley is held every year celebrating the start of the new year and upcoming spring.
Nowruz is called a Persian New Year. Celebrated on the first day of spring, Kailash Spring Festival held in the Kailash valleys are celebrated for men and women to find spouses. Colorful dresses and beaded necklaces are worn by the Kailashi Women.

Gilgit-Baltistan Independence Day is Celebrated to mark the end of the Dogra Regime. Held on 1st of November. Feasts, Music, Bonfires and Dancing are mainly the part of every festival. For those who love beautiful sets of mountains, turquoise glacial lakes, fascinating culture and great trekking Gilgit-Baltistan is a true nature’s paradise. We haven’t seen much technological advancement as several guesthouses and hotels offer wifi facility, just be prepared for pretty slow speed. Although the weather of Gilgit in autumn was comparatively less cold than Naran.

We made our way to Hunza the next day. The road from Gilgit to Hunza is probably the best mountainous road with autumn leaves all over the place surrounded by lush green mountain while the valley is vegetation covered by fruit-bearing trees including apple, apricot and pear trees with other wild and planted flowers which looks even more beautiful during autumn. Leaves in green yellow orange looks like a cherry on the top of the hills. On the road sides were Shephard with their woolen goats and cows which reminded me of the landscape paintings

We checked into Hunza silk route lodge. Unpacked our Bags and visit the famous Luxus Hotel with famous Landmark. I LOVE HUNZA where Mr. Mumtaz Ahmed Judge district and session court Chilas invited us for dinner. Later Mr. Zulqarnain Haider Assistant Commissioner Gilgit Baltistan and Deputy Commissioner invited us for Green tea. As we all enter into the house of Mr. Zulqarnain the architect and infrastructure of the house speaks volumes of the artistic sense and great taste of our host who has also delighted us with his own magnificent poetries. Than we all begin with our skills of poetries and singing made the stay worthwhile.

On our third day, we made our way to Attabad Lake, which is at a short driving distance from Hunza. The water body emerged as a result of massive land sliding in 2010 which blocked the flow of river Hunza and resulted in villages getting drowned as water collected to form a lake.

On the way to Attabad, you get to pass tunnels that were built after the original Karakoram Highway was sunk by the formation of the lake. The tunnels, built in collaboration with the Chinese government as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), extend to more than seven kilometers and are simply an amazing feat of engineering, something you won’t see anywhere else in Pakistan.

The moment we got a glimpse of Attabad Lake, we were left stunned by the beautiful blue color of the water. We even took a boat tour across the lake, enthralled by the beauty of the lake.

The next morning we set out early to witness the 8th wonder of the world which is Khunjerab Pass. as you pass Sost; the mountains become barren with little to no vegetation until finally, the gate of the Khunjerab Pass comes into view. You have to park your car around one kilometer from the gate and walk there.

Khunjerab Pass is at an elevation of 15 thousand and 4 hundred feet approximately, and the moment you step out of the car, you are greeted with extremely cold wind and due to the decreased oxygen, we felt a shortness of breath. But the moment we saw Pak China border and their flags greeting one another was a sight of immense pleasure and the witness of Pak China long live friendship higher than Himalaya mountain range. On our way back we happen to see the yaks in brown white black and camel colors. We have also seen the herd of Ibex commonly known as Markhor, The National Animal of Pakistan often used as a logo on our forces uniform a symbol of pride and dignity

Pakistan is heavenly rich in the natural resources and beautiful northern areas accompanied by the river streams passing all through the northern areas from Kaghan to Naran all the way till Hunza. Most of the cottages inns and motels are facing lake view generously. The scenic landscapes rivers and lakes even streams coming through the hills and mountains compels an artist and poets to express their feelings through their brushes and words. I would highly recommend everyone fond of traveling to visit Gilgit, Hunza and the northern areas. Not only are the places full of scenic beauty, but welcoming faces that will greet you wherever you go are what truly make your trip to the north an unforgettable experience.

About the author

Afsheen Qureshi

Afsheen Qureshi is a female broadcaster news anchor on Pakistan Channel Bol News, holding Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Karachi and MBA in Media Studies from the Institute of Business Management she writed for PakistanTribe.com.

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