Cycling on the Roof of Pakistan (part-3)



It was Day#7, we set off early to reach Hunza in time. We cooked breakfast for ourselves at Ali’s place and took some group photos before leaving. Soon we were back on Mighty KKH. We left Nagar and entered Hunza valley after crossing Hunza bridge. Amazing views of Rakaposhi welcomed us passing from Nasirabad & Murtazabad. In Nasirabad, KKH was blocked by the locals because they were protesting against water shortage. We stopped there until the road was unblocked, It roughly took an hour. Our next stop was “Murtazabad”, amazing & compelling views of Rakaposhi continued all along the way.

Day 7: Pissian to Hunza

Friday, June 21, 2013, 108KM (67 MILES)

Before leaving Pissian village for Hunza Valley
Before leaving Pissian village for Hunza Valley
Beautiful garden in Pissian, Hunza.
Beautiful garden in Pissian, Hunza.
Bridge on Indus river. You enter to Hunza from Nagar after crossing this.
Bridge on Indus river. Enter Hunza valley from Nagar after crossing this.
Locals blocked KKH for protest against water shortage near Murtazabad.
Locals blocked KKH for protest against water shortage near Murtazabad.

We stopped in Murtazabad and finally found locals to talk with. Those kids offered us cherries while they were packing. "These cherries will be exported to Punjab" Faiz Ahmed mentioned. He also told us about his village and culture of Hunza. We had a good time with them and left for Aliabad. We were at Aliabad bridge when the sun got so warm and stopped in search of shadow and avoid the virulent heat of the sun. After offering our Friday prayers in the nearby mosque we came out in search of food, unfortunately, we could only find juice and biscuits. We left for Aliabad at 3PM.

Local kids packing cherries in Murtazabad.
Faiz Ahmed (L) with his friends packing cherries in Murtazabad. 
Faiz Ahmed (L) with his friends packing cherries in Murtazabad.
Faiz Ahmed (L) with his friends packing cherries in Murtazabad. 
Aliabad bridge
Aliabad bridge, just before Alibad town.

Aliabad seems a city after crossing so many villages or rather a remote distant mountain town. It has a unique character of people as all were busy and preoccupied in their work. There's no time to bother other people business. We took our lunch after which we hired a van to take us to “Duikher Village”. Tourists are especially guided to go to Eagle's Nest and witness the dramatic views of sunset and sunrise.

Stopped at Aliabaad for Lunch.
Stopped at Aliabaad for Lunch.
View of Aliabaad bazaar.
View of Aliabaad bazaar.

The road traversing to the top of the mountain is etched with continuous and/or circuitous ascent of rugged mountain terrain. Amazing and perplexing landscapes were waiting for us at Duikher as we reached there at 5 PM. We sat on a rock and saw an amazing view of the sunset. From here we see the panoramic views of the entire Hunza valley, distinctly beautiful Altit & Ganish villages, Altit Fort and the amazing Karakoram Highway. All the famous peaks e.g. “Ultar Sar”, “Lady Finger”, “Golden Peak”, “Rakaposhi” and others  are visible from Duikher. We were glued to the top of Duiker and sat there until it was dark. Finally, we set up our camp for the night and had an ample rest.

View of entire Hunza valley can be seen from Duikher.
View of entire Hunza valley can be seen from Duikher.
Lady finger & Ultar sar seen from Duikher, Hunza
Lady finger & Ultar sar seen from Duikher, Hunza
The snowy mountain is Rakaposhi (7788m) also known as Dumani ("Mother of Mist"). It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan
Hunza Valley: The snowy mountain is Rakaposhi (7788m). It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan
After the sunset at Duikher
After the sunset at Duikher

We were informed that sunrise from Duiker is also an extraordinary joy to watch so we woke up early to witness the sunrise on and above the beautiful peaks.

Sunrise at Duikher is also special.
Sunrise at Duikher is also special.
Our camp at Duikher, Hunza
Our camp at Duikher, Hunza

Day 8: Hunza to Attabad

Saturday, June 22, 2013, 119 km (74 miles)

It was a splendid morning in Hunza. We woke up early in the morning to see the beautiful sunrise over the peaks. It’s the month of June and the cold breeze of the morning is physically penetrating. We have to return back to our camp and took another 2-3 hours sleep.

Befor setting off, Duikher
Before setting off, Duikher

We departed from Duikher at 9:40 AM after having a breakfast within the outdoor sunshine facade. We have to descend from Duikher until we reconnect to Karakoram Highway. During our stopovers, fresh water canals were common along the road. But, the water from Ultar Sar Glacier appeared not potable for drinking as it looks “gold like” our first ever encounter of this kind of water.

Common fresh water canals along the road
Common freshwater canals along the road

We then reached Karimabad, a tourist town whose main streets/avenues were adorn with gift shops, guesthouses, hotels and cafeterias. We enjoyed the spectacular view of the structures built alongside elevated valley walls.

View of Hunza valley while descending from Duiker.
View of Hunza valley while descending from Duiker.

After being surprised about the Ultar-Sar’s water, we kept moving down. Along the way, amazing views of Hunza Valley is revealed. We stopped at several points and enjoyed astonishing views. We plan to head towards “Altit Fort”. The word Altit means “this side down” being a Tibetan word. Altit Fort is situated in the village of Altit, about 3 km. from Karimabad. Altit Fort and in particular the Shikari Tower is around 900 years old being the oldest structural monument in the Gilgit-Baltistan. It has been built on a sheer rock cliff that falls 300 meters (1000 feet) into the Hunza River and is much older than the Baltit Fort. Altit is the birthplace of the Hunza Kingdom and the Altit Fort is the first fort of the region.

Before continuing our journey on KKH, explored Altit fort
Before continuing our journey on KKH, explored Altit fort
An ancient Altit fort in the Hunza valley
An ancient Altit fort in the Hunza valley
Altit town can be seen from the fort
Altit town can be seen from the fort
Garden of Altit fort
Garden of Altit fort, Hunza

We decided to reach Attabad with the option to cross Attabad Lake but have to be quick. When we entered Altit Fort, we saw Hunza women working with woods being carpenters. Later, we came to know that these women handled all the woodcraft of the fort and are proud of it.

We crossed the famous bridge of Ganish at 1:00 PM. The waterfall of Ganish can be seen from the Bridge. As we crossed the bridge Ifzaal's bicycle tire got punctured and deflated. It took us a while to get back on wheels. 

A late start and back on Karakorum Highway
A late start and back on Karakorum Highway
A late start and back on Karakorum Highway
A late start and back on Karakorum Highway

We stopped at Frontier Works Organization (F.W.O.) camp for dinner and took some rest. We were greatly welcomed at the camp. With still 10 km. remaining to reach Attabad, we then proceeded our bicycle trek and we arrived at Attabad at 9:30 PM and stayed for the night with the FWO contractor.

Getting dark on Karakorum Highway
Getting dark on Karakorum Highway
The sleepy tractor guy who guided us for our stopover.
The sleepy tractor guy who guided us for our stopover. 

The bike ride on Karakorum Highway at night was unintentional. But, we enjoy every bit of it. We were forced had to ride at night to reach Attabad which turned out to be a unique experience for us.

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"Cycling on the Roof of Pakistan"(PART-i (Introduction)  PART-1 / PART-2 / PART-3 / PART-4 / PART-5)
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