(a tourist & trekker's guide)
This book is full of important information for trekkers and tourists alike... Tahir Imran Khan has pinpointed many problems faced by trekkers and tourists. Solution of these problems will boost up tourism in Pakistan. This guide explains all the relevant subjects related to Kaghan Valley and its surroundings...
This book has two parts, frist: Trekking and second Kaghan Valley. Though subject of this book is Kaghan Valley but a comprehensive detail of trekking, northern areas, famous climbers and some other relevant interesting topics have been included for the interest of readers.
Pakistan attracts thousands of tourists every year and most of them come only to visit the northern areas of Pakistan. This region is supposed to be one of the most scenic, rugged and isolated places on earth. Trekking in Pakistan is unique and unforgettable, because, it is here that the world's highest mountains are located and famous mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, the Karakorams and the Hindu Kush meet. These are the world's youngest mountains, only 55 million years old. In these mountains, Siachen, Batura, Hispar, Biafo and Baltoro, are the largest glaciers outside the polar region. Exploring these areas is an unforgettable experience where we have the world's best venues for trekking.
Unfortunately trekking/mountaineering is the least popular sport in Pakistan. Usually foreigners from all parts of the world come and enjoy the matchless beauty of our homeland. Due to insufficient published material or information, most of the local people do not even have the basic knowledge of this sport. Only two private organizations and a few clubs are taking part in the promotion of trekking/hiking activities.
Before further details, let's see what trekking is?
In literal terms the word " trek " means:
● to migrate
In a broader sense it may be defined as the act of travelling on foot, with the purpose of sightseeing and recreation at various natural and cultural sites and in places where means of modern transport are either not available or, are purposely not used. Same is the official definition according to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) with only restriction of altitude i.e. up to 6000 meters above sea level.
The simplest definition of trekking can be, to travel on foot on mountains for pleasure, however riding ponies or on bicycles can also fall in the same definition.
World famous Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges are situated in Northern Areas, which allure amazingly. At the foot of these mountain ranges and gigantic peaks, where apart from natural beauty in its purest form, there are several fertile and lush green valleys where we find several edicts, evidences and remains of some of the world’s ancient civilizations.
In different periods, pilgrims, invaders and tourists, who crossed these hazardous areas and passes, introduced this region to rest of the world. Recently, especially after the construction of Karakoram Highway, this northwestern part of Pakistan became the main attraction for thousands of tourists and trekkers. Apart from its tourist importance, these areas have a significant importance because of their political and geographical location. Before the partition of Indo-Pak, strategically it got a prime importance, being situated at the crux of three great empires namely, Russia, China and the Great Britain.
At present, it separates Pakistan from India, Laddakh, China, Afghanistan and Central Asian States (through Wakhan corridor). Apart from the geographical features, Karakoram Highway (a revival of traditional silk route) has also played an important role in the development of the area.
Administratively, Northern Areas are divided into five divisions i.e.
In these areas there are forests of expensive wood, several important herbs, precious gemstones, high quality delicious fruits and tasty species of fish in abundance, especially the Trout Fish. Similarly, some rare and endangered species of animals and birds are also found in the forests of northern areas, which include Yaks, Ibex, Bears, Snow Leopards, Pheasants and Eagles etc.
Some aboriginal tribes still follow the ancient legend and struggle to find some gold particles from the waters of Indus, which is one of longest rivers in the world. Indus is also the lifeline of most of the part of northern areas and of the whole Pakistan as well.
This far-flung and remote part of the country was out of the reach of an ordinary visitor as the only surface connection was through Kaghan Valley via Babusar Pass, which remained snow bound for approximately eight months of the year. Other option was to fly over the mighty Himalayas and Karakorams to arrive at Gilgit or Skardu, while operation of these flights was not certain, as it has to depend upon weather spells, which allow the aircraft to cross this region or not.