Got the fuel tank filled at PSO thokar for PKR 3000. We Stopped at Bhera service area for a little refreshments and continued towards Abbottabad. We eent through some serious checking at haripur chowki, the policemen even smelled our wallets, but when they found nothing they took our all favourite 'nutro' wafers ka packet. "kisi wafer ko kho denay pay kabhi itna dukh nahi hua jitna uss din hua tha."
Good Morning Mahsehra. Views from KKH in Mansehra
Turned on the fast and furious mode and reached lulusar at 1pm.
We stopped at Babusar top for while.
Descend towards Chilas from Babusar top
We had Left babusar at 2:40pm and reached Chilas at 4pm. went a little towards the city to get signals. made a few call and we were off again.
Chilas: Place where we stopped for phone calls
Refueled from Chilas for 1,200 @ 73.8/ltr. and continued our journey.
Near Jaglot 6pm. Last Rays of light on the killer mountain.
Before the sunset near Jaglot
From here onwards, we went non-stop to PTDC Motel Hunza, and got a deluxe room with 2 extra mattresses 3500. The room was clean and comfortable. We were tired and lied down straight away. When we went to the restaurant for dinner, it was closed. upon asking the waiter, we were told that we'll get something from aliabad.
"Roti ki talaash mei hum aliabad ko nikal paray, raat k 9:30 baj chukay thay aur aliabad mei sannata goonj raha tha. ghoom ghoom k puray aliabad say 6 rotio ka intazaam hua, sath mei 2 sheer maal bhi liye, aur Allah ka shukar ada kiya"
Baltit Fort from PTDC, Hunza
Day 3: Exploring Karimabad
Sept 14, 2015
In the next morning we decided to explore Hunza & target was to see Baltit fort, Altit fort and Eagle's Nest.
Leaving PTDC Hunza to explore Hunza Valley
Baltit Fort, Karimabad, Hunza
View from Baltit Fort, Hunza
View from Baltit Fort, Hunza
Purchased tickets for visit to altit fort, and our guide took us towards it, Saw these gardens, and we kept looking at them for quite a few minutes, they were truly magical. I had already seen S.M Bukhari's pictures of the gardens and loved them but watching them in real was too good an experience.
Beautiful garden of Altit Fort
Beautiful garden of Altit Fort
Beautiful KKH going towards Khunjerab, View from Altit Fort
We had refreshments at Kha Basi Cafe, Altit. It is a cafe run by serena hotels and is managed by females. a very positive step towards women empowerment. The people of hunza impressed us in all possible ways. they were educated, hospitable, humble, self dependent and very gentle.
We left Altit and headed towards Eagle's nest, Duikar. The plan was to see sunset from Duikar and return to Karimabad for night-stay. We had decided that eagle's nest hotel was not in our budget. Khair, We reached eagle's nest some time near sunset, and just for chaskay, went to the reception and asked about the rates. Uncle say thori bohat gupshup lagi, Uncle hamein pasand aye. We got 2 rooms and came back to the reception for musical dance.
Unka hotel bhi hamein pasand aya, phir unho nay hamein rooms dikhaye, wo bhi hamein pasand aye. lekin jb unho nay hamein rate bataye tou wo hamein bilkul pasand nahi aye.
Picture of Hunza valley on the way to Duikher
Hunza valley after it gets dark
The german couple wearing local dresses gifted by their tour operator. There was a cake cutting ceremony, and after that the music began.
The german couple wearing local dresses gifted by their tour operator.
We literally had dinner in 5mins and were back in the main lobby to enjoy the dances. Locals ka raqs daikh k hum say bhi raha na gaya aur maidaan mei aa gaye. Sb say pehlay niazi shb, jo k kuch ziada he excited thay.
Musical Dance at Eagles' Nest, Duikher
Eagles' nest, Duikher
Day 4: Attabad Lake & Khunjerab
Sept 15, 2015
We had a very good night sleep, though it was short lived. Me and Shaheer slept at 1am and woke up again at 4am to see sunrise. it was all dark, we weren't sure about the coordinates of the point from where you see the famous golden moments. we had torches with us and an eerie cold silence surrounding us. we just saw a path going up from outside the hotel and decided that this should be the one. Not knowing where we were going but we kept moving. Never have I seen Shaheer this scared ever before. Anyhow we did reach a point which was overlooking the whole valley, we could see lights of Karimabad and we decided that `yehi hai wo point ha`
Lady Finger, on a cloudy morning in Hunza
Sat and waited for dawn to our bad luck it was a cloudy morning and slowly light became better but we didn't witness those forst rays of sun on Rakaposhi and Spantik.
A misty, golden morning, Duikher
Altit fort, Hunza River, and KKH
We had breakfast at Eagle's nest, which was complimentary. Breakfast was very exquisite and tasty. Checked out from the hotel and left for Khunjerab Pass. Stay at eagle's nest was very nice and we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the hotel. Highly recommended.
We reached attabad tunnel at 11:15pm and came to know that it is closed and will open in 15minutes. they told us that as work for ventilation is still under process, the tunnel opens from 11:30 am to 1pm and 7pm to 6am. We had already planned that we will not use the tunnel while going to khunjerab, we wanted to experience the boat ride along with our car.
"It was a big risk taking the car along on the boat while crossing Attabad Lake, but jb tk risk na ho maza he kahan ata hai"
Beautiful view of Attabad Lake, Hunza
Crossing Attabad Lake on boat.
Other end of Attabad Lake. There were signs that the water level has significantly decreased.
We had left Attabad Lake at 12:44pm and stopped for 5 minutes infront of Passu cones. We reached Sost at 1:50pm.
Sost checkpost ki Pehchan
Comparatively reaching Khunjerab pass was easier than Chilas if you compare the assent and road conditions. Finally got the first glimpse of Khunjrab border. The dream had come true; Lahore to Khunjerab a road trip.
Near Khunjrab pass border
The Chinese were very excited to see us Pakistanis. More excited than us. but they couldn't speak english so instead of sharing our emotions we only said hi hi hello to each other, and ofcourse shared alot of smiles. When we took out our secret weapon, the pakistani flag. They were super excited to see. A few borrowed it to get some pictures.
Feeling excited at Khujrab pass with Chinese.
it was dark by the time we reached Passu. Plan was to stay a night there. Before finding a place to stay, we started hunting for Glacier Breeze Passu. The restaurant famous for it's apricot cake and also for it's owner's appearance on the Humans of NewYork page. So after climbing almost 120 stairs we reached the restaurant. The owner was very welcoming and first of all offered us a free trial of the cake. It was simply superb. We had dinner at the restaurant and then cake for dessert. During dinner we had a pleasant chat with the owner, Ahmed Ali khan also famous as 'khon' who told us that they have a campsite as well. Thus we decided to put the camps and sleeping bags in our car to good use and camp here for the night. They charged 300 per camp as charges for the campsite. The campsite was at the backside of the restaurant facing Passu Glacier. Cold breeze coming from the glacier, and the sound of a gushing water stream accompanied by a clear moonless night. It was just perfect.
Campsite, Cold breeze coming from the glacier, and the sound of a gushing water stream accompanied by a clear moonless night. It was just perfect.
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- Content and Photos by Usman Shafqat.