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Faces to remember

A Young boy at Chuinj

A Young boy at Chuinj

It does happen sometimes that you encounter somebody and your subconscious makes you feel that you have seen or met this person before and this is what happened with me on this journey. This wild soul is from a GUjjar family who is living on these highest pastures since decades and doing their business of rearing the cattle and goats and then sell them in the market. Some are resident here and some  families make this journey two times a year.

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A good tour operator will have established a solid network of contacts all over the country. Traveling is not only about riding and reaching somewhere rather it offers enormous possibilities of spending quality time at your preferred place. You will forget about the little problems of daily life, spend time with yourself and enjoy the soulful moments. You will come back with new dreams and lot of good memories to cherish for the whole life.

This all happens only with the help of a tour operator that has the meticulous knowledge of places, people and make things possible for your pleasure.

Camping along the bank of Indus River at Dera Ismail Khan, KPK

Camping along the bank of Indus River at Dera Ismail Khan, KPK

Tea Break and Gup-Shup

Tea Break, a reason to give some rest to the animals and have gup shup with a cup of salted tea and a piece of homemade bread in the other hand.  This nutritious bread remains their only source of food throughout their travels. A bottle of yak milk for tea and yogurt to drink when really hungry. This is their favourite and most enjoyable way of passing time. Menu of this discussion is vast enough that the discussion can turn from laughter to loud shouting in moments and then again everything will be fine. At first, one can misjudge this act as a fight or a quarrel but in fact this is their normal routine discussion style.

At every stop, they make tea, sit in a semi circle and start talking loudly. I have not seen anyone more content and peaceful than these mountain people of Northern Pakistan.

(c) 2011 Ghulam RasoolTea Time and Gup-Shup

Abdul Aziz and his Horse

Abdul Aziz standing proudly beside his horse at Qurambar Lake

Abdul Aziz standing proudly beside his horse at Qurambar Lake

Abdul Aziz, a primary School Teacher at a local school of Broghil and a great Polo Player as well. He not only accompanied us in our visits to Broghil Valley but he always made things easy for us. The welcoming and warm hearted people of this area treated us as guests and we enjoyed our best time. The day we packed up for Vargut Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan from Qurambar Lake, he appeared with his Heroic style. By wearing the Sunglasses, he prepared his horse and posed for the picture.

Afterglow at Qurambar Lake

After a long walk from Teer-e-Das to Qurambar Lake, everybody was tired enough to walk even a step more. The team members started pitching their tents soon after we reached there but I was walking on the ridge, thinking of the shot that I perceived a year ago. The altitude, lack of oxygen, minus temperature and extreme headaches but I had to take one good shot of the last light rays over the Qurambar Lake

07/21/2011 07:49:43
July 21, 2011
Qurambar Lake, Gilgit-Baltistan

Afterglow at Qurambar

Afterglow at Qurambar

Although there are parts of Pakistan that experience problems with internal militancy, these areas are not nearly as widespread as the media would have us believe and are generally confined to specific areas, which are relatively straightforward to avoid during a Pakistan tour.

Pakistan is a very large country and made up of distinctly separate provinces and semi-autonomous regions that have their own cultural beliefs and even languages. It is almost four times the size of the UK, with the world’s biggest mountain ranges running across it, so travelling times are considerably longer than in Western Europe. What this means is that problems in one part of the country are so far away in practical terms that they might as well be in another country. As such, tours of Pakistan can easily be planned to avoid problem zones.

Furthermore, the country’s supposed conservatism is often extremely overemphasised. Indeed there are some very conservative areas, but this does not make it any more dangerous. The key is to be aware and respect local customs, something good tour guides will be able to help with. I’ve taken gay men, single women, atheists and people of virtually every faith to Pakistan over the years and every one of them has commented on the on the overwhelming hospitality, friendliness and approachability of the locals. Indeed, most visitors get a ‘free pass’ when it comes to cultural norms, providing they show they are genuinely interested and willing to integrate.

If you’d like to find out more about planning a holiday in Pakistan, just visit http://www.travelpak.co.uk/freeguide, where you’ll be able to obtain a free copy of our new guide, “Discovering Pakistan: Your first steps to planning an incredible holiday in the world’s most underrated tourist destination”, packed with expert tips on travelling to Pakistan.

Although the media gives a somewhat one-sided view of Pakistan, especially with regards to the country’s violence and conservatism, it is nonetheless wise to invest in a knowledgeable tour guide when considering travelling to Pakistan. A specialist Pakistan tour operator and their team will know the country inside out and have a network of trusted contacts all over the country. Moreover, they will be able to plan a trip that avoids any troubled areas whilst still showcasing the best of what Pakistan has to offer, from its rich culture and history to incredible trekking tours.

Furthermore, they will be able to provide you with an authentic experience of Pakistan and its culture. As Pakistan tourism is not well established, when on a travel adventure with an expert tour guide, you will not be getting the “get off the coach and explore for 15 minutes” tour that you’ll get in many other countries. Someone who really knows the country and its people will be able to ensure you get to experience the very best of the country in whatever space of time you have available when you travel to Pakistan.

This way you can set your mind at ease and concentrate on enjoying yourself and exploring the scenery, people and local culture, as well as the history of Pakistan.

If you’d like to find out more about travel adventures in Pakistan, just visit http://www.travelpak.co.uk/freeguide, where you’ll be able to obtain a free copy of our new guide, Discovering Pakistan: Your first steps to planning an incredible holiday in the world’s most underrated tourist destination, packed with expert tips on how best to experience the culture and scenery when travelling to Pakistan.