Sneak Peek of Paradise

February 1, 2010

Time and time again my mind wanders off to the thoughts of the trip to the Northern Areas of Pakistan I went to last summer! Before drowning you in all my amazing moments I had there, I’d like to thank Allah to have provided me with such an oppurtunity and to the organisers of my university who arranged it in such a low-cost 🙂

The trip which was 7 days long was the best of the best of the best of my life! A dream come true! A holiday of a life time! It was simply out of this world, the world we wake up to everyday! The journey started of late at the night to cover most of the travel in the coolness of the moon, little did we know that it wasn’t most of the travel but half as we had another 10 or so hours to go when we stopped to have breakfast! As we got near our first stop, all of us(me and my friends) started to get exhausted and overwhelmed by the never-ending bus ride. Although it was a scenic one most of the way, however, there is only an extent to one’s excitement, seeing the River Indus. About 18 hours, the bus lingered along the snaky road along side the river! We were exhilerated by the sight of the water splashing at the rocks and making its way down the country at first but that gradually faded for all except one! Till the end of the journey, from our university to the first stop, his excitement did not die down 😛

Chillas, the place where we were to stay the first night seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere! At a distance, we could hear the river and nothing else. All that ran through my head was that the ride was so very long and I was already dreading the way back! The night was one of the less restless ones than the ones ahead! In the morning everyone was rushing to the bathrooms to get ready and head to the dinning hall for breakfast. Getting stuff together, me and my friends made it to the hall before most of the others…the wiffs of the parhatas, omelets and tea were very tempting. We advised each other to contain our temptations as it’s the first rule to eat less when there’s a long journey ahead…I’m sure you know why 😛 The first sip of tea, and I had already decided to have two more cups! There was a variety of jams. I took the liberty of trying out each one…not to much though. After having a satisfying meal we grabbed our bags and headed to the buses…the drivers hadn’t reached yet so I climbed the bus from the window and got to the roof to load the luggage! A while later we were all set to go! My friends and I grabbed the better of the three buses, but it was fair, because we manged to get ready before everyone else, even the teachers who were accompanying us!

Anyhow, we were off to Gilgit! The scenery started to change…now instead of barren land rocky mountains, we were entering into a region with more vegetation, along the river and on the mountains! The night before I made sure to charge my phone so that I could take pictures…lots of pictures! 🙂 Along the way I snapped away, capturing the river, streams attaching themselves to it like branches of a tree, the mountains to the left,right and center and a few of the people dozing off in the bus 😛

After a few hours the bus driver said I have a surprise for you people and will be stopping to show you it in a while! The mountains started to get denser…and then suddenly someone shouted….”LOOK SNOW!” Everyone jumped here and there trying to get its sight! Luckily I had brought my binoculars along so I pulled them out of my bag and before I even brought them close to my eyes people started snatching for it and saying, “its my turn next! I want to see through em too!” I didn’t allow that to happen till I got a chance to view the awe-inspiring panorama myself!

It was the Nanga Parbat! The snow-capped mountain! It was enormous! The driver took another few turns of the twisty road and stopped! There a board read:

You’ve got to see it for yourself to know how I felt! A picture can never do justice to God’s creations!

There was a lot to come ahead so we got back on the bus and headed forward! The next surprise was even better! We stopped near a place where there was nothing but mountains! There was a monument, and on the front wall painted was a sign “JUNCTION POINT OF THREE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN RANGES OF THE WORLD”! This was the place where the Himalayan, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush ranges met! Spectacular!

A few hours later we had finally reached Gilgit! We unloaded and rushed to get the best room, me and my 3 friends! Right now, as i write these words, I can picture each an every thing happening all over again! I miss it so very much! Anyways, we unpacked and thought we would go look around! Jumped a fence and through a compound we made our way to the river, the same one which we followed all the way here 😛 We wanted to take a dip! The water was flowing really fast and it frightened me, as the words of our university organiser were going through my head of the incidents that happen when people aren’t careful near the rivers! Along the railing we walked to a place where there was a beach like patch with soft damp sand along the side! We took of our shoes on the side so they don’t sail off! The first step in the water and I couldn’t breath! ICEY COLD! We all yelped as we went further in! I turned around to see one friend of mine sitting in the water with an uncomfortable smile on his face, trying his best to adjust to the extreme change in temperature! We all laughed and started trying to sit in the water ourselves! It was so cold that I could hardly sit for a few seconds before I would jump to my feet! Then came the challenges we gave each other of who could sit in the water the longest or could put their face into it! It was my turn next…and i was already getting the shivers 😛 I cleared my head and without giving it a second thought i dunked my head in! Shook my head around inside for a while! It felt like nothing I had felt before! Refreshed in seconds! After a few pictures and splashing around we headed back to the PTDC Rest House hoping we would get nice hot tea and french fries when we got back! We got back only to find the buses loading up again and going to another spot where there was a stream! Our clothes had hardly dried and we were ready for more 🙂

On our way to the stream we saw old medicine bottles with wicks coming out of them along the road! We wondered what they were and asked each other. No one knew! The stream we reached was crystal clear…not like the one we went to which was murky because of the sand! This stream was flowing over rocks! As I approached it, I was facinated by the stones and pebbles in the water! I’ve always been a rock collector and here I had in front of my eyes a treasure! The guys rushed into the stream, screaming, shouting, splashing water at each other. My friends and I weren’t as excited as we were happy to be the first to have already enjoyed ourselves. I filled the pockets of my burmudas will all sorts of pebbles…spotted, stripped, shiny and any that caught my eye! The locals there looked at me and laughed and I laughed back!

Soon it was time for Maghrib Prayers…me and another friend went over to a prayer place and I gave the call for the prayers as the sun set! It was a great feeling, to utter the words of the Azaan, trying to overcome the sound of the stream behind me! We said our prayers and then boarded the buses and went back to the rest house. On our way back we saw those bottles with the wicks lit! That night it was Shab-e-Barat and these were for it’s celebration. At a distance we saw words written on the mountains with similar lit bottles. Our stomaches started to grumble, everyone was heading to the nearby market on foot! We joined the crowd and went along! Brought dinner back and enjoyed it throughly! That night everyone gathered in our room to listen to the recital of Quranic verses on the sound system someone had brought along with them. I was pleased to see that everyone willingly joined us as we listened to Allah’s words being uttered in a beautiful voice by the reciter!

Having had a long day, I decided to call it a night and went to bed.

Booo…HAHAHAHAHAH! My hands waved in the air as I woke up with a shock…16 people dressed in white bed sheets surrounded me from 3 sides of the bed! As I had just been woken up I didn’t have a clue that what I was in was a prank! I yelled and cursed as I rummaged through my bag and pulled out a dagger I had brought with me…they screamed and ran out! I chased them and cursed them even louder! I hadn’t taken the dagger to murder someone, it was just in the spirit of hiking and camping that I thought would be handy, not knowing this is why I would have to use it! Those scoundrels! My friends calmed me down…but didn’t do much of a job…I stuck the dagger under my pillow…yelled out another threat at the devils and went back to sleep!

The next morning everyone was stepping aside saying “Churay wala! Churay wala!”(the man with the dagger) I had the dagger case wrapped in my belt and glared at those I suspected were involved in the prank! I packed up my backpack and went down for breakfast. Coming out of the breakfast hall we saw jeeps and a double cabin pickup lined up outside.

TO BE CONTINUED (COMING UP: NALTAR LAKE>SKARDU>DEOSAI PLAINS>RAMA ASTORE>AND BACK)

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5 Responses to “Sneak Peek of Paradise”

  1. Imran Says:

    That was very impressive, Ghazi. Not once did i get bored while reading it. your descriptive writing is very good.

  2. Zohaib Says:

    Nice travelogue ghazi! waiting for the rest…:)

  3. Asim Says:

    nice ghazi very nice

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