Phander is a beautiful and magical place, views of Phander lake from the isolated PTDC motel capture one's attention. Feeling the cool breeze sitting up at the motel can get anyone in trance and one can sit for hours watching it. The view becomes even more attractive at sunrise when the rays spread upon the natural water of the lake.
We got up early and went down to the lake. Bening a natural water lake, we found the water of the lake was not cold as the manager of the motel explained that it would be. The water springs out of the earth and it did not have any external source. Mountains stand tall as they cover the lake from all sides, they see their reflection in the lake on a sunny day. Fishes were jumping outside the water and with a clear day sets a perfect day for locals to go for fishing. We came back to the motel after spending some time at the lake. We did breakfast and packed ourselves for our next destination.
For breakfast, we were served with Paratha, omelet, and tea. Today, we were supposed to reach “Shahimal”, the place which is renowned for camping along the side of the Phander river. The destination was hardly 20-25 km away, so we were cool and calm while packing up. The destination is also very famous for trout fishing.
It was a clear sunny day, the temperature started to rise when we were leaving Phander. It was still a little steep ascent from PTDC motel. Phander village was peaceful, some people were busy in fields while others were taking their animals out to the fields. We stopped by a little girl who had that local bread in her hand. That local bread is called “Pitti”. This ancient flatbread is one of the oldest bread known to man. The road turned flat after crossing Phander village & continued until “Dahimal” village.
It was afternoon when we made it to a relaxing place of Dahimal. The River was calm and we could hear birds chirping in the nearby trees, very peaceful indeed. Young school boys were fishing as usual. “It's hard to fish at day time, the best time for fishing is early morning or before sunset. We only catch fish in the daytime when tourists ask us to. This way we can help our families.” the local boys said. They take PKR 500/- for 1KG trout fish.
We decided to cook & make noodles for lunch and take rest before moving ahead. Inexperience sometimes jumps in and the first attempt to make noodle was failed terribly. The local boys helped in gathering woods and making fire. We sat with them and had a friendly lunch. Sitting on the edge of the river in the shadow of trees, watching the river flow, listening to the birds singing and random vehicles passing, the atmosphere can not be described in words. we laid down for a nap in the peaceful surrounding.
The road is unmelted when you reach Matuti village, from there you can either go right to pass from Trich village or go left to reach “Shahimal” the place which is very famous for camping. After some discussion, we decided to skip Shahimal, as we had a bundle of time still left which we can utilize to get closer to our ultimate destination “Shandoor”. We passed from the Trich, meet the very shy local kids, they were surprised to see & meet someone who was not from here.
We only traveled a few KMs and ended up in “Shandur Guest House in Golaghmuli” which was a decent rest house. They provided us fishing road so that we could go to the river try out our luck for fishing. We also had tools with us but the struggle to catch fish brought happiness. Watching the sun going down while we sit and wait to catch a fish was an ultimate experience. Golaghmuli, a wonderful place.
For dinner, we were served the local dish called “Hazger-sha” also called Saag. It's a leaf-based dish which is eaten with bread. This stopover proved to be very worthwhile as we were able to experience a lot. Highly recommended.
We slept quite well and I was up early to explore the beautiful village of Golaghmuli. Sun was out but yet to spread its rays on the village. A cool breeze was hinting that winter was just around the corner. The trickling of water from a nearby spring was the only voice I could hear.
I walked straight to the village and found the streets neat and clean. People were up and were busy in their daily routine. Some were preparing the breakfast, others were taking their animals out. People mainly depend on livestock for their routine life. Males take responsibility for the livestock and its earning serves as their livelihood.
It didn’t take me long to realize the unique way the people had built their homes. Wherever I looked, stones were everywhere. Stone over a stone to built the walls and wood side by side to built the roof. Interesting enough that I started observing architecture of the homes deeply. Few stones were covered with the mud so that the sharp edges of the stones can be concealed. Homes, stables, street fences all were built by stones and I named the village “The village of stones, Golaghmuli”.
The other interesting thing which I found out was there weren't much fruit trees in the village. Upon asking from a local, he mentioned that our elders weren't aware of the importance of fruit gardens. In the past, this area used to be covered with snow in summers which made it difficult for any fruit tree to grow here. Due to all these difficulties, they only used livestock to serve their livelihood and this culture has been transferred to their generations as well. Now, the climate is a lot different than before, Fruit gardening is possible now, the young generation has started thinking about this; it would not take long when this area will also grow tasty fruits like the rest of the Gilgit-Baltistan. The Plainland in the village is used for grains and growing livestock food.
I was presented with apricots from the very few found fruit trees in the village. I came back from one and a half hour of wandering in the village, when the breakfast was almost ready for us. We had dinner in the sun and left the loveliest place with a hope to come back again. Our destination was 25km away at the footsteps of Shandur.