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Yasir's Travelogues

Khunjerab Top and Back in 3 Days

Having spent most of my official leaves earlier I was left with no other option but to travel to China Border within 3 days (2 days of weekend + 1 official leave). Here are the details of how I managed to do it.

Day Zero

Left for Gilgit at 10pm from Islamabad. Got a front seat in Toyota GLI for Rs.4000. Reached at about 5am in Naran, continued onward to Gilgit via Babusar Top. Road was in decent condition but this changed after joining KKH at Chilas. There were major land slides to contend with. The last leg of this journey from Raikot Bridge to Gilgit was quite comfortable as the road condition was quite good. Reached Gilgit at 11am.

Day 1

The first day of journey was spent in Gilgit, mostly relaxing at Madina Hotel, having good food and sleeping. Went for an evening walk along the river to Gilgit Bazaar.  Had some Chinese food for dinner, listened to some good old music and went to sleep early.

Day 2

Headed for China Border at 10:30am (bit late, bad mistake) using public transport. It cost Rs.350 for a ticket to Sost, the last town before the border. Hired a rent-a-car from Sost to the border, costing Rs.4000 for the return trip. The border is about 85km from Sost which is about a 1.5 hour journey.

Returned to Sost at around 7pm had a quick meal and then started back for Gilgit. Since there is no public transport after sunset had to hire a car to Hunza costing Rs.1500. After reaching Hunza was told that there is no public transport in Hunza as well so had to hire a car again for Rs.2000. Reached Madina hotel at 11pm.

Day 3

Got up at 8am and had a quick breakfast. Was at the Jutial bus stop at 9:30am. Booked a seat on the Islamabad bound coaster costing Rs.1400. Left for Islamabad at around 11am. After meandering along the Babusar Pass reached Naran at around 7pm. Continued on to Islamabad via Balakot, Masehra, Abbotabad and Havelian. Reached Islamabad at around 2:30am. Tired and exhausted but happy to have managed it all I hit the bed at around 3:30am.

Total end to end cost: Rs.22,000 (hotel, transport, meals)

Travel Updates for Kaghan Naran

Its 24 April 2016 and the road to Naran is still closed. You can go up to Kaghan but beyond that its still inaccesible. We decided to stay at Khaniyan which is about 50 km from Balakot and 30 km short of Naran. Its quite a picturesque location and the weather here was also quite cool. The rest house we chose to stay was Arcadian, which was open so early in the season, and was also reasonably priced (Rs.6000/night for the deluxe room).

There is no cell phone service in the area but Warid somehow works.

For making a booking at Arcadian please contact Shakir Sahib at 051-8436971 or 051-8436972.

A Weekend Getaway To Kaghan-Naran

A long weekend is a prized asset for a travel junkie like me. So when the Muharram long weekend came around I packed my bags and got on to the road for Kaghan Naran. Having started at 9 in the morning I arrived in Naran at around 5:30pm. There was one stopover for lunch at Balakot.

After spending the night in the comfortable environment of PTDC Naran I decided to venture onward to Lulusar and possibly further to Babusar Top. But the information collected from the local people suggested that going to Babusar Top would not be possible as it had just snowed a couple of days back and routes to the top would be closed.

To my surprise the road to Lulusar was in pretty good condition and I had no problems getting there on my Suzuki Swift. Once again the information given to me by the Jeep Walas was that there is no way you can go to Babusar Top as you will be stopped by Army Jawans only about 5km further from the lake.

Incidentally I was not stopped at the 5km mark and I actually continued for another 17km beyond Lulusar Lake to arrive at Babusar Top. The road was not in such a great shape as it was partially covered in snow and there were also muddy patches which made driving quite challenging. The total distance from PTDC Naran to Babusar Top was around 65km.

There was even some consideration given to the plan of continuing on to Chillas as it was only 44km from the top. But with the fuel tank going low on fuel and with the weather uncertain I decided to head back. I arrived back at the hotel in around 2.5 hours and headed straight to the fuel station. But I was informed that the station was out on fuel and tanker would arrive late in the night.

So after spending another night at PTDC Naran and replenishing the supplies I headed back to Islamabad.

PS: We ventured out of Naran just in time to avoid the heavy snowfall that left thousands of tourists stranded in the valley. And later in the week the Northern areas were jolted by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake.

Mahabaleshwar : A Monsoon Getaway

The pictures of Mahabaleshwar in Monsoon are quite fascinating and immediately I try to draw comparisons with Margalla Hills National Park in Islamabad. The lush greenery, the water falls and the lakes. There are trails that take you to the heart of the National Park and if you are lucky you might even spot a Leopard. The major  difference being that Margalla Hills National Park is located about 15 minutes from the main city and it loses some of its pristine beauty to the pollution created by the metropolis.

Source: Mahabaleshwar : A monsoon getaway

Eyes fixed on the Goal ..

Source: Eyes fixed on the Goal ..

Rohtang Pass – Snow and more !

Located in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, Rohtang pass links Kullu to Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himachal Pradesh.

Humayun’s tomb- A blend of styles

Humayun is a very interesting character among the big 6 Mughals that ruled the subcontinent. From being chased out of subcontinent by Sher Shah Suri, to taking refuge in Persia and Kabul, to his fight back to take control of Dehli again, to his death in a freak accident (fell of the stairs and died).

Source: Humayun’s tomb- A blend of styles

Italian man hunts blue sheep in Hunza

“Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife management board had auctioned in December last year 70 hunting permits for trophy hunting program for 2014-15, which included 12 permits for Markhors, 50 for Ibex and 8 for Blue Sheep, respectively” this is insane…how can you kill endangered species…

National News Pakistan

GILGIT: An Italian man has hunted a blue sheep with 32-inch-long horns in the wildlife conservatory at Gojal valley of Hunza-Nagar district near the Pak-China border.

54ff6e817fb4bBoieti Gian Carlo hunted the sheep in Khunjrab Village Organisation’s (KVO’s) wildlife conservatory at Sukhterabad Nullah, some 20 kilometers from Pak-China border on Sunday, the organisation’s secretary information Rahimullah Baig told NNP on Tuesday.

He said that the blue sheep was the Pakistan’s longest and the world’s second longest animal.

He said the Italian hunter had secured hunting permit paying 8,000 US dollars to the Gilgit-Baltistan wildlife department.

Blue sheep is a rare species, found only in Nepal and Pakistan.

He said that the foreign hunter spent three days in KVO’s wildlife conservatory looking for the blue sheep.

Mr Baig said that hunter was accompanied by his local guide, Mahboob Ali, local community members and officials of GB wildlife department to ensure that the hunt was carried…

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Father of Nation- Where he lived…

I also visited this place a couple of years back…

traveldiariesbysarah

I saw this museum as I passed on the road several times. It always looked well maintained, but I never saw any people. I finally got a chance to visit on a weekend with IM KARACHI team, the gate was locked, but there was a little sign giving the hours and saying that admission is free. We were about to turn around and give up, but the custodian walked over slowly and unlocked the gate apologizing for taking a long lunch. He welcomed us and gave us a guided tour narrating the history as we went. The signs clearly said no photography inside, but after so many requests they not only let us, but encouraged it (without flash).
1
Previously known as the Flagstaff House, the property was purchased by Jinnah in 1943 for Rs.140,000/-. The curator said it was designed by Moses Somake and built circa 1868 pointing at the…

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