Blogs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, Asia


Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa December 24th 2022

Celebrate a festival with a little-known pagan tribe in distant mountains? What an opportunity! The chance to spend Chaumos with the Kalash people in northwest Pakistan had been the real draw of this trip. Our tour company, Wild Frontiers, has a particular connection with the Kalash. Its founder, Jonny Bealby, had stayed with them for several months at the end of his mid-1990s journey from Peshawar through Nuristan in search of Kipling’s “Kafiristan”. Wild Frontiers had been the result of discussions with his host as to how others could experience the incredible hospitality of the Kalash, and Jonny himself continues to visit regularly. We were welcomed like family, and Lucy, who works for WF (though she was on this trip in a personal capacity), was peppered with questions about her boss from both sides, co-travellers and ... read more
gathering at Balanguru
never too old to dance

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Naran August 2nd 2018

Marie’s stomach has been increasingly complaining for a few days now. It finally gave in and she was up and down all night like a cat on a hot tin roof, with it getting steadily worse until it reached an explosive crescendo about an hour before we were due to depart Islamabad on a 7-8hr journey. The food has been amazing, we think it’s just a combination of food she’s not used to and heat. Regardless, it was less than ideal. She decided food was going to be a no go until the overnight stop and positively sulked when her delicious breakfast omelette arrived and she couldn’t risk eating it. Tabish was going to be guiding the Dutch guys on their trek so was travelling up with us. He met us at 8am and took us ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa September 29th 2015

Geo: 34.93, 72.8791Next morning we were up with the call to prayer (5 am for those who are not up with the Muslim traditions) and packed up pretty quickly before too many locals worked out we were camped on the edge of their village. Chilas has the reputation for being the last fairly safe area before the troublesome area inhabited by Taliban further south. Chilas was about 109 kms from where we were camped and the road was fairly slow. Although a main road it was not well maintained due to the unrest in the area. Anyway about 70 kms into the journey we catch up to two ute loads of military guys heavily armed. At one stage there was a traffic jam on the road ahead and all of the guys bail out and surround ... read more
Police Guards
Army Doods

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa August 26th 2014

The Tiny Trekker on the Way Dunga Gali-Mukshpuri Trek KPK-Pakistan Text & Photographs by: Muhammad Kashif Ali aka Kashifthegipsy Feeman Ali, the tiny trekker (of four and half years only), selected the Dunga Gali-Mukshpuri Track with the help of his Baba Jani, in September, 2009 for his debut trek in any mountain range. It was the month of Ramadan (1430 AH), when he set off for Galliyat Tract of NWFP, now Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa. He stayed with me (his Baba Jani, Muhammad Kashif Ali), and one of my friends, Saim Mughal in Snow Land Hotel, Dunga Gali. Dunga Gali is almost four kilometers away from Nathia Gali, and around 30 kilometers from Murree on Murree-Abbotabad road. Dunga Gali is around 8000 feet above sea-level and is engulfed by some of the finest pine forests. It is a ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral December 30th 2010

Korean Skills Come in Handy Riding in a shared car along the Himalaya Mountains of northern Pakistan I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined I would have the opportunity to put my Korean language skills to the test. Think again! After traveling for about eight hours that day our vehicle was haulted by security officers due to tunnel construction along the new roadway. We were then told that the tunnel was closed for the day as it was now past 4:30PM and they had to follow orders from the engineers working for Daewoo- a Korean construction company. As a result, we would have to go back to where we started from as we were in the middle of nowhere with no place to go. However, after much debate in Pashto one of the men ... read more
Local Clothing
AK-47 Armed Friend
Relaxation Time

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Naran August 4th 2009

Hameed, our driver in waiting, took us in his pride and joy the jeep along bumpy road towards beautiful Babusar pass to Naran passing Lulusar lake. Our hotel for the night was Afaq, comfortable. The next day we had a morning sojourn to the scenic lake Saiful Muluk and then a long drive along the Naran and Karakoram Highway (KKH) towards Islamabad, past gaudily decorated trucks and vans grossly overloaded with goods and passengers. Vehicles jostled for position along the way, spewing out diesel fumes in all directions. Some of the smaller pick-up trucks held up to 10 passengers in the rear with as many again on a rickety roof rack; I lost count of the passengers in the similarly overloaded trucks and buses. Another thing they all seemed to have in common is that the ... read more
Jhel village
Easy transporation
Local villagers

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Peshawar August 13th 2008

19 August Amritsar, Punjab, India Except for arriving from and departing back to the United States, I usually do not take too many flights when traveling. Yes, I know they cut distances and save time. But I need to be lodged against a window and see what I would be missing, impossible at 35,000 feet. If a train goes, I’ll be on it. Otherwise I’ll settle for a bus, minivan, outside panel of a jeep, or bed of a pickup truck. Ameen asked me back in Gilgit where I would go after we parted company in Chitral. “Peshawar”, I said. “Are you sure you want to go there?” I was. “Yes.” I would be fielding that question very often. “How will you go?” “Well, from what I gather, it is a ten-hour ride with a change ... read more
A Peek Inside
Wrinkles of Desperation

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral August 12th 2008

Simon still shows no sign of improvement. His complaints of the pain, fatigue, and discomfort are peppered with explosions of profanity as he rolls out of bed and practically hits the floor. During the night he made several visits to the toilet. His pants barely cling to his waist and he is pale in spite of the sun his skin has absorbed while trekking in the mountains. Ameen rolls up Simon’s red sleeping pad and began packing. Simon is not interested in breakfast but for some green tea and none of us is confident he’ll keep that down. He goes into the toilet, locks the door and before he moans and his insides detonate once again, I take Ameen into the garden. “We need to go right after breakfast.” “Yes, sir. But sir, if you don’t ... read more
Urinals at HDQ Hospital
I Gotta Go!
IV Drip Stand

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral August 10th 2008

This place cannot be for real. It is not just another world, rather another galaxy. My initial fifteen minutes in Balanguru are of paralysis and disbelief. Balanguru is what it must be like to be knocked unconscious by an alien tractor beam and then relocated to their home solar system. Distance, introversion, and geographical inaccessibility have shielded the Kalash people from mainstream Pakistan for centuries. An agrarian and independent civilization, they have rejected Islam and maintain their long-standing practice of ancient paganism. Their customs are on display without the slightest hint of showmanship. Ameen and Simon unload the jeep at the guesthouse while I aimlessly roam downhill in the direction of the small bazaar. Simon is unaffected by the transition into this alternative world. I do not know if it is indifference or an inner trait ... read more
Corn Crops
Mortarless Conctruction

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa » Chitral December 19th 2007

It's been a while since I last posted on this blog - this was due to being in the freezing Hindu Kush mountains, where internet access is sparse, if existent at all. We left for Chitral on 11th December, via propeller plane. Chitral is pretty cut off from the rest of Pakistan, as you can only get there by plane (which is frequently cancelled due to bad weather conditions) or over the Lowari Pass, which isn't really an option at this time of the year, due to snow. It's a lovely little town, and the people there are again completely different. After spending a couple of days in the Chitral Gol National Park, watching markhors (mountain goats) and looking for the elusive snow leopard, we left for the Kalash valleys, in the mountains by the Afghan ... read more
Kalasha girl
Dancing during the Chamos festival
Pensive Kalasha girl

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