We have nothing to lose and a world to see – how true is that, no? but in this case let’s begin with the exploration our own beautiful country first.
When I say fairy meadows three-night base camp, many of you might go into an over drive ‘camping for three nights on top of a mountain?! Are you crazy?! ‘ but it is not until you step out of your comfort zone when you finally learn how to fly. And believe me this experience you wouldn’t trade for the world.
This wonderful journey starts from the raikot bridge, which is the gateway to Nanga Parbat Camp, on the indus river in Gilgit.
After crossing the picturesque bridge, jeeps are rented to begin a bumpy yet stunningly beautiful ride towards the fairy meadows.
After almost an hour, the trekking area begins. It is certainly not for the faint hearted. After 3-4 hours of extremely difficult trekking through a rugged mountainous terrain one gets a well-deserved reward; The beautiful sight of the snow peaked nanga parbat which is the second largest peak in Pakistan just majestically crowing into the sky.
The entire peak can be seen clearly from nanga parbat base camp. The base camp has tents spread out and mostly adventure travelers or young enthusiasts are spotted camping there. Under the vastness of the sky and open mountain area where there should be fear of safety but in a crime free area like Hunza even girls are spotted camping.
The morning is spent relaxing with friends, eating and drinking tea whereas the nights tend to get extremely cold and bonfires are lit every night surrounded by campers sharing their horror story experiences. It is truly a place where many relive their lives and reconnect with nature on another almost spiritual level.
On the second day at the base camp most campers set out to the Beyal camp. The trek to Beyal is through a forest like region dotted with buffaloes and beautiful waterfalls. The peak of nanga parbat can be seen even more clearly from here though it tends to get incredibly cold at night. Make sure you keep your warmest thermal jackets and coatings along with studded trekking boots as the trek tends to get slippery in this area.
After a 3-day camp, campers tend to go down through Raikot to Hunza and discover its unique culture and lifestyle. Hunza is specially known for its stones and this is what most tourists buy as souvenirs. Karimabad is one of Hunza’s most famous bazaars for its precious and semi-precious stones. Hunza also specializes in artistic antiques and gorgeous pashmina shawls. Not to forget, hunza’s cherries are to die for! They are wonderfully rich and juicy, probably the best cherries you’ll ever taste.
From Hunza, there is a route to Khunjraab through the karakoram highway. The mesmerising sight of the mountain tops (passu cones) on your way to khunjraab will make you ten times more appreciative of the beauties that lie within Pakistan. Khunjraab is extremely cold and windy with very little oxygen so one cannot stay there for too long though many Chinese trucks carrying different goods are transported from the Khunjraab pass into Pakiatan. On the way back from khunjraab, there is boating at Attabad lake which will be one of the most peaceful and spellbinding experiences of your life.
Then the journey back begins from Hunza to Chillas all the way to Islamabad or Lahore. Enroute to Chillas one beholds the captivating babusar top which is certainly another tick off the stunning mountain tops one sees throughout their enchanting journey into Hunza and the fairy meadows.
It is after this experience at Hunza when I finally understood the saying ‘We travel not to escape life, but to understand it better’
And we all surely did.