Monday, December 18, 2017

Fascinating Pakistan - Passu Cones

Karakorum Mountain Range which dominates the other two mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the the Hindu Kush in the northern areas of the Pakistan not only has four of the fourteen eight thousanders of the world, including the seconder highest mountain peak of K2, it also has a large number of seven thousanders and awesomely beautiful mountain peaks. While I have been talking of other eight thousanders of Pakistan, let me digress from these and talk about one of the most photographed mountain shapes and tops - the Passu Cones.

These number of conical projections get their names from the village Passu located along the Karakorum Highway besides the Hunza River and the fact that these are located near the tongue of the Passu Glacier, and just south of the tongue of the Batura Glacier - the 56 km long glacier which is the seventh longest non-polar glacier in the world. The Batura Glacier also reaches very near to the highway. 
The Passu Cones are in fact part of the 6,106 metres (20,033 ft) high Tupopdan Mountain, spread over some 20 kilometers, and are also called the "Passu Cathedral" for its massivity and vast frontal shape. 
A rather full view of the Tupopdan Mountain and its famous Passu Cathedral

The Tupopdan mountain is located to the north of the Passu village, part of the Upper Hunza Valley of Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan.

Passu Cathedral is also called the "Sun Drenched Mountain" or "Mouthful of Sun Mountain" as its pyramidal cones shine as the sun rays fall on to these. One onlooker has described the sun rays falling on to the cones in awesomely captivating words: "The first light over Passu cathedrals makes a setting for a beautiful and colorful show, with sun's rays hitting the ridge at an angle resulting in a panoramic dance of light and shadows observed on the mountain ranges."

I once ventured to go to the Khunjrab Top at the Pakistan-China border, at the end of perhaps the highest metaled road - the Karakorum Highway (KKH). Ahead of Hunza, we stopped at the Rakaposhi view point, about which I have already written and the hearty breakfast we had before moving on to Khunjrab. However, en route we were told that the road near the village of Sust, a border/custom  check post, was closed and that we should not venture forward. 
A spectacular view of the Passu Cones or the Passu Cathedral while driving on the KKH

However, our journey gave us a good chance to see the Passu Cones and I still remember its massivity, grandeur and typical coned shape peaks. In fact, the Passu Cones are the most prominent and eye-catching objects as one reaches the Passu village. In those we did not have digital cameras and the photographs which I took got misplaced over the years except the only photo of I and may family posing in front of the rising slopes of Rakaposhi.
Road travel from Gilgit to Gulmit - Passu village and Tupopdan Mountain - Google Map

There are two suspension bridges over River Hunza for trekkers to further their adventures on foot to explore the mountains and glaciers ahead. These two bridges are known as the Hussaini Bridge (photo above) and the Passu Bridge. It really requires guts to walk across these bridge as these are not in a very good state of maintenance.

Words and photos alone perhaps cannot explain the grandeur of the Pass Cathedral unless one sees its from one's eyes either on the site itself or through a video. I am sharing one of the many videos on Passu Cones and I am sure this will not only leave a meaningful impression on my readers but will also compel them to plan a trip to see this beautiful mountain and its conical peaks. This video has been shot by a para glider that starts from the Ata Abad Lake and shows the massive Tupopdan Mountain and its cones beside the Ghulkin, Gulmit, Passu and Batura glaciers - an awesome video worthy of the beautiful scenery below:
If you are planning a visit to Passu Cones, you will have to drive some 150 kilometers on the KKH ahead of the city of Gilgit, the China Town of Pakistan, and some 14 kilometers ahead of the small town of Gulmit.
Photos: Northern Areas of Pakistan 
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