cold desert

I was the type of guy who likes everybody else, held the notion that deserts are places that are arid, barren and void of water. Reason for such ignorance was quite simple: Our academic curriculum hardly sheds light on the cognitive development of children; all it does is instill loads of data in our brains that we forget 3-4 years down the line. But thank God for the internet, I found out that cold deserts are a thing! Digging a little further, I discovered that Pakistan has its very own cold desert – Sarfaranga.

I have been an automobile enthusiast all my life; in fact, I was the youngest person to acquire a driving permit in my family. I would also get into racing duels with people, as I believed it to be the yardstick of determining how good someone is at driving. I read about Sarfaranga, the cold desert, and was quite literally blown away that an annual rally is held there – with the winner crowned over a grueling 39 laps of rallying. I was the only person out of the 100 competing who financed himself, without any sponsorship.

Sarfaranga is situated in the heart of Skardu, a place that is acclaimed for its scenic landscapes and natural beauty. Without much ado, I took leave from work, packed my bag, took out my Nissan, and drove off for the most exciting journey of my life.

cold desert Morning

Bring Me the Horizon – Sarfaranga Here I Come!

The journey from Islamabad to Skardu was a very pleasant one, in the sense that I was able to see some memorable sights; such as flocks of birds gliding over the mountains capped with snowflakes. Before leaving, all I had in my mind was racing and getting the pole position but the closer I got to Skardu, the more it beckoned to me that this place is rich in natural beauty. From the mountains to the valleys, the scenes were just taking my breath away. I even stopped my jeep twice to take pictures of hills and the kaleidoscopic flowers blossoming in the terrains.

I kept reminiscing about my siblings, and how wonderful it would have been had I also brought them on this journey. I made it to the cold desert, and it was unlike anything. The pictures online did not do justice to the actual magnificence of the desert. I was so enthralled by the aura of the place that the idea of actually taking part in the rally was the least of my worries.

Anyways, I took part in the rally, but my car’s carburetor got frizzled and I had to retire during the 10th lap. I took my car to a mechanic, who repaired it in a matter of minutes. I spent the next whole day exploring the beautiful city of Skardu, travelled all the way to Kachura Lake and just sat there in silence – observing the spectacle before me. Those 3 days changed my entire perspective of beauty.  I went back home a completely changed person, who had just witnessed some of the most alluring sights in the world.




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