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Naran and Kaghan Valley – A Journey of a Lifetime

Naran and Kaghan Valley – A Journey of a Lifetime

Trust me when I say learning about different societies, cultures, habits and values is the most fascinating thing you can experience in life. However, after travelling far and wide, let me make one more admission: the stunning landscapes and the most hospitable people of Pakistan are second to none. Here is a brief account of my itinerary to the majestic Valley of Kaghan.

The Preparation

It was the winters of 2013; I had taken a week’s leave from work. I wanted some retreat, wanted to detoxify and enjoy some quiet time. At that time, I was the only one in my friend circle who had never been to the north of Pakistan.

I’d always listen to my friends telling me how unreal everything is down there. Finally, it was my opportunity to see what Pakistan had in store. Being an avid music fan, I took my guitar with me in hopes of finding inspiration in nature’s embrace. On, December 20th, I, along with a friend set off for Naran and Kaghan.

The Journey To The North

We arrived in Peshawar from Islamabad, and I could already feel a tingle down my spine. The streets, the air, the overall aura just felt very natural and entrancing. Akbar (my friend on this journey), booked a cozy van for our trip to Naran.

I was awake the entire time and looking out of the window to catch the towering trees bearing colorful fruits. I could see mountains at a distance, shrouded in clouds and kissing the horizon above. It was a surreal visual experience. At some point, I dozed off, only to be awaken by Akbar. “Get out of the van!”, he implored.

I haphazardly got out and in almost dead silence, felt snowflakes falling on my head. This was the first time I had witnessed snow fall. With the wind whistling around and the snowflakes falling – I unconsciously began to sing these lines from my favorite song,

As dark as the winter, as black as her ghastly veil

As cold as her whisper and chilling gown

Frozen In Time

After a journey of 6 hours, we reached the town of Naran. The very first thing on my mind was to have a piping hot cup of tea. We went to a tea stall, and were greeted by the locals. My gut feeling was that the tea would dent our valet. But to our surprise, they refused to accept any money, and said that we were their guests. We were won over by their gesture and the general mannerisms.

Also, I had never seen such raw beauty anywhere in the world. The lasses had blue eyes, and the skin as white and velvety as a Victoria Secret’s model. I bet, even they did not know how beautiful they were.

With the sun hidden behind the mountains, and the stars twinkling, I could not help but smoke. Akbar on the other hand was busy recording the mesmeric sights around. After taking only a couple of puffs, I felt the wind carrying me in its arms for a journey into beautiful oblivion.

I took my guitar out, and started playing slow, folk tunes to mirror what was around me. I made sure Akbar recorded whatever I played. The night did not seem to end, and the stars did not stop twinkling.

Next day, we went straight into the heart of Naran, and all I could see was lush, green tuft everywhere grazed upon by goats and yaks. I thought to myself, I would give up everything to lead such a peaceful, and serene life!

Lake Saif Ul Mulook

In spite of not sleeping for more than 24 hours, we felt our batteries charged all the time – for now was the time to visit the grand attraction – Lake Saif Ul Mulook. Thankfully, by the time we got there, it was sunset. The lake itself was glistening in a shifting pattern of colors. It was still, as still as a magnum opus by a painter.

With the snow-clad mountains encircling the lake, I whispered in Akbar’s ears, “There is a heaven, believe me, I have seen it”. I ended up smoking another and playing some more folksy stuff on the guitar. But this time, I was joined by other people, and we had the most breathtaking jam humanly possible. Sometime later, it started drizzling, as if the Gods were trying to show their adoration for the music. It felt as If I was possessed by the forces of nature – none of us wanted the night to end – not even the stars. It was hypnotic and magical.

Those 7 days remain the highest point of my life. The overall experience molded me into a different person. Since then, I have developed an affinity for nature, and always seek quiet places where I can feel one with the forces of nature. In the end I’d just say,

 The poetry of the Earth is never dead”.

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