Road To Gilgit Baltistan- A Place Where Natural Beauty Thrives
Calling Pakistan a mini heaven would not be an exaggeration. It is filled with landscapes that truly captivate one’s imagination. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nature always wears the color of the spirit”. It is true that in nature, God’s handiwork is reflected and Pakistan is particularly blessed to have been at the forefront of God’s artistry. The towering, snow-clad mountains that stretch across the northern areas to the gold carpeted deserts of interior Sindh; Pakistan is a heaven for tourists. The place I am about to describe is Gilgit Baltistan – where beauty thrives irresistibly.
In spite that I was born and raised here, I never got the chance to explore the spectacular sights my country has to offer. A lot of which was down to the fact that I was caught up in my studies. The very idea of saving 20-25k for a tour de Pakistan gave me shudders. What changed my mind was the account my friends gave me of their trip to Gilgit Baltistan. The pictures and video logs they showed, left me in awe. How ignorant I was to believe that my country was littered with billboards, toxic smoke from vehicles and lunatics who are always up for a fight.
The visuals were otherworldly. One could easily fool someone by telling them that it was Europe, but it was Pakistan, shining in a glistening aura of beauty. I convinced myself and my family to let me tour the unexplored parts of the country. My family reluctantly agreed. I took 2 of my friends to this trip and thus, we embarked on the most enchanting journey.
Gilgit Baltistan – A Pinnacle of Beauty
I was forewarned by my friends that it would be freezing, so I took some jackets and warm clothes for the journey. One of my friends was an expert at hiking, so we also carried with ourselves hiking equipment. We were all stoked as anything! We went via road from Islamabad in a 4 wheel. I was so worn out during the whole packing and planning stages that I spent the first 5 hours sleeping in the jeep.
I woke up after some time to find that it was dark outside, yet the stars were burning brightly. There was silence yet I could hear melodies reverberating in my ears. We were on the Karakoram Highway, en route to Gilgit Baltistan and already I could feel my soul possessed by the sheer power of nature. I felt as if my soul was liberated from my human form as I became one with nature!
After a grueling 12 hours journey, we could see the first rays of the Sun falling on the mountains and the trees – it was a breath-taking view. We parked our jeep roadside to take pictures, with the sun rays in the backdrop. It was an Instagram win!
To Nagar Valley
We finally made our way to Gilgit. Upon entering the district, it became vividly clear to all of us that this place was not just an ordinary region, it was home to scenic lakes, mountains rivaling the skies with lush trees and wild plantations. It was an eye-opening experience, but the place we were all looking forward to was the Nagar Valley. The valley opened up to embrace us in its pine trees, snow-clad mountains, and crystalline waters. The whole scene was like a gigantic painting on a canvas, except that it was moving and we were a part of it.
We stopped by the valley and started trekking the hill. I could see water falling down from the lakes, water so clear, that one could see their reflection in it. I just wished that I could lay down on the grass and watch the whole scene from the horizon. It was ethereal! There was silence and the only noise my ears could detect were the whistles of the migrating birds. It made me wonder, who would want to migrate from such an exhilarating place.
It was one of a kind experience, an unspeakable journey into the heart of nature. What moved me the most about Nagar Valley was the peacefulness and serenity of the place. I opened my eyes to the realization that beauty is not only reserved for countries in Europe or North America. Even our own backyard is packed with some of the most dazzling sights in the world.