by Aaliya Imtiaz
A South East Asian country that has a history of more than 60 years on the map, Pakistan is a place of wonders when it comes to traveling. Although it is used to be very peaceful and very friendly nation, the country has been very badly hit by the notorious war on terrorism. Since then the rate of tourism has decreased extensively. Pakistan however, is still a country with a wide variety of landscapes and places. The spectacular views of the mountains the green planes, colorful deserts and the mighty Indus River are just a few things that this country has been blessed with. If you are an orthodox traveler and love exploring hilly areas, the northern ranges of Pakistan are a best place to visit.
Here are some of the places that you must see when planning to go for a trip up north. The weather there is usually cold and pleasant in summers so you need to wrap up your suitcases with some warm clothing and winter accessories.
Kohistan lies on both banks of the Indus between Swat to the west, Gilgit agency to the north and Hazara division to the south and east. The Kohistan district was established in 1976 after the union of Swat in Pakistan in 1969. The major towns are Besham, Jijal, Pattan, Dassu and Sazin all along the KKH. Kohistan is called Yagistan (land of the rebels) as it has remained the refuge of severely independent people who determinedly kept their own rule rejecting foreign ones.
Hunza valley is one of the best known of Pakistan’s northern areas spots throughout the world. This is where the so-called Shangrila (imaginary paradise) is, the fabulous Hunza where every other man is said to be above 100. The majestic castle of Baltit is a Hunza’s attraction built about 700 years ago. Baltit (the old capital of Hunza) was built by the Baltit artisans who entered Hunza with a Balti princess who then married to a Hunza Mir in early times.
Chitral is a beautifully green valley, enclosed by forests, perfectly located (1300m), amidst the world’s most high up peaks in the Hindu Kush range. Mount Trichmir (7690m) the pleasure of mountain climbers reigns grandly over the valley. One of the main attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valley (the home of wearers of the black robes), a primitive pagan clan. A legend has it that five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of Macedonia advanced in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kalash tribe.
The Gilgit valley (1450m) enclosed by the Karakoram ranges lies in the middle of the world’s uppermost peaks. Nanga Parbat (8126m) and Rakaposhi (7788m) are visible from various places, and is an infertile valley of strange unparalleled beauty. The hill sides are a barren grey but in the valley colors diverge with the season. Its residents have the status of being excellent mountaineers. Polo is their main festivities. In fact polo is said to have originated in the northern areas.
Baltistan (Skardu) has been described as “little Tibet”, “the roof of the world”. Its standard height above sea level is 2300m. The place has a cool climate. In summer it attracts a large number of tourists and mountaineers from all over the world and rightly it is called mountaineers paradise. It is distinctive in the world from its compilation of lofty peaks, including K-2 the world’s second highest and huge glaciers like Baltoro and Siachen. It has been established by several nationalities arriving from all over the world.
Kawai, Shogran, Batakundi, Kaghan and Naran, the names of the places in the picturesque valley of Kaghan have a musical quality about them. These are places for the lovers of nature. the mountains are dressed in forests of Himalayan pine and fir which give way to spectacular snow-covered mountain peaks.