In the morning, we went out and explored Gupis. Gupis is a small town expanded over 1000 meters. You do not get much food or staying options. The only good place for stay is PWD rest house (RS: 1500/- per night) which provides good basic facilities. Gupis town stands beside giant mountain which stands tall right above it. The river is just 300m away from the road making the town a beautiful and peaceful.
Photo with PWD Gupis staff before leaving
At the breakfast, we meet Mr. Aslam, a 50 years old teacher with more than 20 years of teaching experience in “Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee School”. Mr. Aslam mentioned, “I have been teaching for last 20 years, but I think now is the time that I should quit the job and let other more deserving teacher take up my place. The reason is, now, all course books are translated in the English language. Kids of the primary class are taught oxford textbooks; which is really good but I don't think I qualify for this post anymore.”
Mr. Aslam, a teacher with 20 years of teaching experience explained why he do not qualify for this post anymore, Gupis.
“In my past 20 years of teaching, I saw my fellow teachers progressed a lot. They teach in Govt schools and with years of experience they are getting 1,00,000-PKR ($1,000-USD) as their monthly wages. In contrast, I am getting 25,000-PKR ($250-USD) teaching in a private school. Earlier, I used to compare myself with them in terms of wages but I was never pushed towards gaining more money, I owned my job & never gave up on this institute because teaching is a noble profession”, Mr. Aslam from Gupis
The road turns right to go Yasin Valley. Another beautiful valley of Ghizer.
Very cute little one going school alone. Khalti, Gupis
A couple of KMs away from Gupis is a Khalti lake, the road takes a steep ascent to reach Jandort village from where you can see the complete view of the lake and its spillway. Many years ago, the mountain slid down because of an earthquake or unknown reasons which blocked the river, With time, the river made its own path for drainage, and formed a big wide lake at Khalti village which latter was named as Khalti lake. A steep descent takes you the to Khalti village where the view of the Khalti lake is phenomenal. The mountain sees its reflection in the greenish water of the lake while the trout fish jumps up and down. We spent some time at the lake, talking with locals and school kids.
Khalti Lake, Gupis
Giant rock standing on Khalti Lake, Gupis
Looking back towards Khalti village, Gupis
The area after we passed from Khalti village is very remote, you do not see any villages, shops or stopovers until you reach Dahimal (~15km). It is a very peaceful village surrounded by the dry mountains. Views expand when the river bypasses the village which gives panoramic views. The welcoming nature of local people can be observed from the fact that an eight years old boy came running towards us and invited us for the cup of tea at his home. This is Dahimal, this is Gilgit Baltistan, and this is Pakistan which we are unaware of. Pakistan Zindabad!
Standing under a giant rock, Khalti, Gupis
"Cricket became a bridge between local youngsters and us. Whenever we see boys playing cricket we get ready to participate. While Playing we get friendly with them & feel togetherness. That’s the time when we truly experience what are their happiness, satisfactions and pleasures of life"
Gathering with the cricket team at Pingul, Ghizer Valley
"Idea say iski breaks nae milti"
There are other most brave cyclist in Gilgit Baltistan who doesn't need breaks on their bicycles.
We were not the only with bicycles. Near Dahimal, Ghizer
Beautiful Dahimal, Ghizer
We only managed to reach Sosat village in Pingal & we camped in the garden of a rest house right next to Sosat-sar (Sosat Lake). Camp on the bank of the lake, discussion with locals and dinner with trout fish what a treat when you arrived exhausted.
Camping at the bank of Sosat-sar, Sosat, Ghizer
DAY 5: SOSAT - Phander
A beautiful morning welcomed us on a beautiful sunny morning in Sosat, where we camped last night on the bank of Sosat-sar (lake). The lake has a similar story like Khalti lake, it was formed years back in ~1990 when the mountains collapsed due to an earthquake and blocked the Ghizer River. The river found very narrow spillway with the time & gradually formed a lake which is called Sosat-sar. We managed to get Apricots from a garden in Sosat, we had plenty of these when we were riding for "Cycling on the Roof of Pakistan" on Karakorum Highway couple of years ago.
Shamaran, only 8km before Phander
Ghizer is known as the valley of Martyrs
Our destination was ~20KM in the beautiful valley of Phander. It was harvest time in the valley, we saw many gatherings where people were busy harvesting the wheat. All male & females of the village participate in the harvest, they laugh and help out each other. By their happiness and excitement, one could easily manipulate the scene as if there was any celebration going on.
Ghizer is known as the valley of Martyrs; When you reach Shamaran(a small village) you see a lot of graves of the martyrs, which indicates the number of scarifies this area has given. People here love to join Pakistan Army and serve the country. This is why sometimes people say it is the land of red soil.
“We might be poor and have very few utilities in the village, but we have given top preference to the education of kids.”
Meet with this retired army officer & his son who explain how he has given top preference to the education of his kids, Shamaran, Ghizer
We stopped in Sharaman for a much-needed break, and meet this retired army officer who was running a small grocery store in the village. Talking with him he mentioned, “We might be poor and have very few utilities in the village, but we have given top preference to the education of kids. Education is expensive and if we do not send our kids to school the society will not appreciate this. I think it has become a rule of the society. The rule which is contributing to the development and bringing prosperity in the village.”
Drying apricots in Chahche village, Ghizer.
Chahche village feels like a base camp and PTDC Phander a summit; the road gets abrupt 5KM ascent from the village to reach Phander top. This patch was very difficult, and we decided to stop at the Chahche village for lunch break, but we could not get any food there. We were able to find milk and baskets from a local shop. We had our so called lunch sitting by the fresh & cold water stream. We covered the last 5KM in one hour and reached hungrily at PTDC Phander in evening. Going on the top, we experienced very cold wind which was added to the difficulty level of the last patch.
Chahche village from Phander top
Sitting at Phander top and looking towards Chahche village, Ghizer
Phander has known for its unique panoramic views these views welcome you to the beautiful valley. You see whole Chahche village on one side, while on the other side you see beautiful Phander lake.
Beautiful & unique panoramic views of Phander Lake, Phander
View of PTDC Phander from Phander Lake before the sunset.
Phander Lake, A closer look.
- Content and Photos by Author.