Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mary Loosemore's Photo Travelogue of Hindukush Adventure in Pakistan

Travelers and tourists are strange people. The leave the comforts of their homes and move around the world, reaching out to far out and distant places, normally not visited even by the local population of the country. 

Palaga, Rumber Valley, Chitral Pakistan
Flickr on Internet is replete with experiences of such people, who share spectacular photos of their traveling adventures wherever they go.

Pakistan is one of these countries which abounds in rich, awe inspiring natural wonders and trove that attract travelers from around the world to come an roam between the wilderness of mountain valleys and go back with nostalgia of coming back here once again. I have on a number of occasions, published photo travelogues of such travelers and tourists for the enjoyment of my readers. I have recently shared a post on 'the Khyber Steam Safari', once an inviting touristic attraction. 

Top Left to Bottom right: Rob, Mary Loosemore, Ann, Zafar, Ali, Stanley, BenedictPatricia, Thelma, Joan, Annie, Amanda
While looking for photos, I came across an avid traveler, Mary Loosemore from UK, who had come to Pakistan on an exclusive tour of the Hindukush mountain range and had gone around to a number of places from the famous Kalash Valley to Chitral, Shandur, Gilgit and the Karakorum Highway. Mary's travel photos are so captivating and self narrating that I requested her to allow me the usage of her collection, which she graciously allowed.

Since the collection is enormous, very rich and elaborate, I am segmenting it into smaller portions based of geographical limits so that interest of readers and viewers is not lost by watching one exhaustive post. 

Mary with her group had come to Pakistan in 2006 and stayed for some three weeks visiting the places along the Hindukush mountain range - one of the three mountain ranges that have their links to Pakistan. The other two mountain ranges are the Himalayas and the Karakorum.

The traveling programme of the group, spread from  28 September 2006 - 15 October 2006 was as under: 


28 September 2006: Depart London on overnight BA flight to Islamabad
29 September 2006: Arrive Islamabad, drive to Peshawar
30 September 2006: Peshawar 
01 October 2006: Khyber Steam Train up the Khyber Pass
02 October 2006: Drive over the Malakand Pass to Dir
03 October 2006: Drive over the Lowari Pass to Ayun
04 October 2006: Ayun town tour and into to the Rumbur Valley, staying with the Kalash at Balanguru
05 October 2006: Balanguru and hike to the Nuristani village of Shakanande
06 October 2006: Balanguru and hike to Pelaga, the Wild Frontiers hideaway
07 October 2006: Balanguru to Chitral town - sightseeing and shopping!
08 October 2006: Chitral town to Hindu Kush Heights hotel
09 October 2006: To Mastuj, via Buni Zom, for dinner with Colonel Khushwalalt Ul Mulk
10 October 2006: Over the Shandur Pass to Phander
11 October 2006: Phander to Gilgit, then on to Karimabad along the Karakoram Highway
12 October 2006: Karimabad (shopping!) and the Eagle's Nest Hotel
13 October 2006: Karimabad to Chilas, back along the Karakoram Highway
14 October 2006: Chilas to Islamabad
15 October 2006: Early morning flight to UK

Kalash children, Balanguru, Rumber Valley
In my next post, I will share Mary's experience of the Kalash Valley, Chitral which is about the Kafir Kalash - a people whose roots are still very vague and no one is really sure from where they came from and how come people with strange features, colour and traditions got them settled in an obscured and difficult to reach mountainous area in the Kalash Valley near Chitral, Pakistan.

Mary Loosemore has the exclusive copyright of all photos in this post