A trip to Astor via Qamri Pass and Astor to Phalawi via Phalawi Pass

A trip to Astor via Qamri Pass and Astor to Phalawi via Phalawi Pass


A trip to Astor via Qamri Pass and Astor to Phalawi via Phalawi Pass

Gultari Valley 3400 OSL, GB Pakistan.


(Remember that for Qumri Pass, it is necessary to get formal permission from Pak Army. And we have followed all these things and rules perfectly in this trip.)

In this itinerary we traveled from Taobat to the “Qamri Astore” in which we completed the journey through a pass. This is a trek that very few people have done, and it is quite a lengthy process. It was sometime in October 2022 when I had gone to Islamabad for some work and around 12:00 AM I received a call from Sadiq CEO of “Grabbit Adventures” regarding the “Qamri Tour”, then it was decided to take complete information about it and then plan his complete tour. Since then, he has been having many discussions on various topics including NOC from Pakistan Army and all other travel requirements, while making the tour a success. I also included Nadeem bhai and he also had a direct interaction with Sadiq bhai.

Then after some time a plan was made and on 12th June Sadiq Bhai along with 4 other people reached the Taobat and we met there. Dr. Waqar Shah Sahib, Salman Hameed, Noor Qureshi, and Waleed Pasha came with Sadiq Bhai and these people had trekked many times before and a lot of enthusiasm was visible. In the night we arranged our luggage and discussed other important matters and it was decided that we would leave Taobat early in the morning on our journey.

Early in the morning, Sadiq Bhai and Nadeem Bhai went to Taobat to get porters and horses, but unfortunately nothing was found and due to lack of service in Taobat on the first day of our journey, our porters could not be completed, but this “Grabbit Adventures” was not going to accept anything, then as soon as the service came for a while, Nadeem Bhai called 4 porters from his village Jandarseri and started waiting for them. During this time, we were looking for more porters but due to lack of service there was a lot of difficulty, but we arranged all the porters by 12 noon.

First Day:

Our first day journey started from Taobat, and we slowly entered the forest of Taobat where we got to see mud houses and other traditional things in the beautiful valley, crossing a wooden bridge on the way, a spiritual place. Scenes were being seen where along with us, the cattle of the Bakarwals (nomads) were also traveling with us. The team was very enthusiastic on the first day and 13 people were active in the form of teams. Some of us had just met, so there were no deep gossips.

While doing photography on the way, we stopped at a place at 3 o'clock and we took together and ate mangoes brought from Islamabad, which was a special gift of Sadiq Bhai for everyone. Everyone was recharged once by this mango party and the journey started again. Walking along the stream in the beautiful valley along the trail was an adventure along with the beautiful winding paths and rocks and the sound of the waterfalls was ear-splitting. 

Here on the way, we met Bakarwals (nomads) who pitched their tents by the canal, one of us was a team of porters ahead and then the glory of our tour Dr. Waqar Sahib was way ahead of us, and I was the last standing man. Well, the journey was on, and we were slowly moving towards the height and with every new step.

With every new turn in the way a new scene stunned the eyes and there the mind was cooled, and the soul was refreshed. It was soothing. Here we also got to see the temporary summer shelters of Neelum people and baby turtles and snowflakes were included in the scenery. Around 5 o'clock the weather started raining and we went to the temporary tent of Bakarwals (nomads) nearby and sat in it waiting for the rain to stop and during this time we had a chat with Bakarwals (nomads).

When the rain stopped, we resumed our journey and continued through the beautiful valley, crossing the bridges of the Lake with every new view and stream. Here we came across a Jagran Neelum Valley style waterfall where everyone took pictures and after a bit of relaxation we started again. Now as evening was approaching and it was about to get dark, we had a nice stop at a place. And there we decided to pitch our tents. At the same time everyone was tired as well as starving so immediately started making some noodles to do some initial belly pooja. And then the work of pitching the tents started.

After pitching the tent, noodles were eaten and then a bonfire was arranged and from here again a beautiful night scene began. Where our bonfire turned into a huge bonfire and then there was laughter and chatter everywhere. During the meal, pulao and keema were prepared, which created the atmosphere of “Jungle main Mungle” in the forest. Now it was the turn to make coffee, so in this round of coffee, a race started there, a race in which Sadiq Bhai, Nadeem Bhai and Salman Bhai had a tough competition, but all of them won. After drinking coffee, everyone slept in their respective tents had beautiful dreams.

Second day:

When everyone woke up in the morning, a beautiful scene greeted a new day with a bright sun. As soon as breakfast was ready, everyone sat on the charming bonfire and had breakfast. The tents were put together and then a group photo was taken of everyone and the second day's journey began. And just like the first day, the porters were in the front and then Dr. Sahib and the rest of us were moving far behind. While passing through different settlements, waterfalls, new scenes were seen.

We crossed a plain and re-entered a valley with glaciers everywhere. It was not an easy task to go through to the glacier, but everyone managed to move safely. And on the same ice, a watermelon cooled in the same ice was cut and a watermelon party was held. After eating watermelon, a new but difficult journey began where it was a challenge to cross the narrow tree trunk bridge and cross the sloping path. This valley of flowers and trees was a soulful sight. Somewhere in today's journey.

There were some more difficult passages where it was very difficult to pass, but the words of the doctor were recharging us here. Then we enjoyed the colors of nature by passing through the same fields, waterfalls, and beautiful green meadows with the slight sound of breeze! At three o'clock in the evening we entered a snowy valley where the journey continued a difficult snow path for a long time. All the people were starving and wanted to stop at some place immediately, but Nadeem Bhai and Dr. Sahib had gone far enough, on which everyone was cursing them and then they came to the place where the tents were to be pitched.

Here we pitched the tents and then arranged the initial Pait Pooja with the same noodles. Here we were at a high altitude, and it was quite cold due to a lot of snow around and the weather was also a bit harsh. We immediately arranged a bonfire as there was less wood here so we couldn't make a big bonfire, but it was enough. Everyone was quite tired, so they ate some food and after drinking coffee went to sleep and light rain continued.

Third day:

Beautiful morning started under a cloudy sky with dew drops and sweet fragrances and then had breakfast and closed the tents and resumed the journey. Here we suddenly encountered a difficult place where we had a hard time crossing a drain. Now we were traveling in a valley of snow and springs and flowers. At 11 o'clock there was a snowy climb in front of us and we had to climb it anyway because beyond it a new world and a new region awaited us. At 1 o'clock we were at the top of Qamri Pass and this moment is indescribable.

As soon as we reached the pass, everyone was excited and happy. The height of the pass is more than 13000 feet above the sea. There was laughter and happiness on everyone's faces. Everyone generously took pictures. Here we made macaroni and after eating it everyone was awarded by “Grabbit Adventures” for successfully completing the adventure.

The award certificates were created with burj (a tall tree) which is like paper. A group photo was taken of everyone and then we entered the Qamri precincts. Now from here we had to go down to the population and to the army. To our good luck for this we went sliding as there was snow in the way and that too became part of the memories.

While descending towards Qamri village, we encountered heavy stormy rain, so we took shelter in a small house made of stones. When the rain stopped, we entered the Qamri village, a beautiful village that was stunning to the eyes. After checking our information at Qamri Pak Army check post we were sent to Mini Murg as non-locals cannot stay at night in Qamri. We were quite tired and then we reached Mini Murg and stayed for the night.

Fourth day:

Today we woke up early and had breakfast and our porters took the way back. Me and Nadeem Bhai also wanted to return but despite our thousand efforts Sadiq Bhai and all others forced us to go along and we again booked a car and saw some areas of Qamri in daylight which was not possible last night. were able to see and then our journey started from Mini Murg towards Barzal Top. In this trip, the bare but spectacular mountains covered with snow were covering the sky everywhere.

On the way to Barzal, we also got to see the snow-covered Gultri Valley where we stopped for tea and after enjoying nature for a while, started again. In no time we had reached Barzal Top, a place 13808 feet above sea level and covered with snow in June. Here we took pictures for some time and then we left for Chilam. On the way, it continued to rain with strong winds, and we reached Chilam where we ate at a hotel and rested for some time.

Our journey to Darle Lake started in Chilam. Meanwhile, there was a lot of chatter with the driver of the vehicle, Uncle Alamgir. Uncle Alamgir was a resident of Ruto, and he had an old but quite sturdy car which looked like it was from the first revolution. But uncle Alamgir was a very gentle man and quite funny as well and he used to have a special chat with the doctor which would make everyone go crazy with laughter.

Around evening we reached Darle Lake and stayed at Bhai Aqib Nazir's hotel where we played a good game of Lado at night and then went to sleep.

Fifth day:

At dawn we first went to see Darle Lake and came back and had breakfast and then had a good time by the lake. From there we went to Kala Pani in uncle Alamgir's Khatara car. This valley runs along endless bare but beautiful mountains and streams where at every new turn a new and beautiful scene is seen.

There were some heart-pounding spots along the way as the Strick was crossing a dangerous ravine and the river was gurgling below. At one place we found the road blocked by snow and there the car got stuck in the snow which we had to pass through the snow with great difficulty. Passing through beautiful plains we reached Kala Pani and then took a quick return route.

Now our destination was Trishing Valley where the Rupal face of Nanga Parbat can be seen, so we were moving towards Trishing now. This road was the most scenic road ever, but it was also somewhat dangerous. But we were humming along.

Around evening we reached Zain Bhai's Guest House Nanga Parbat Tourist Cottage in Trishing. It was a beautiful guest house.

Here we ate, had a bonfire, and slept after a round of coffee.

Sixth day:

I slept with the alarm set because I wanted to see the golden peak of Nanga Parbat which is very early morning. So, I woke up at 6:30AM but unfortunately could not see at that time. However, Nanga Parbat must have been seen without clouds, which is not usually possible during the day. Now after breakfast we left for Nanga Parbat base camp.

On the way passing Rupal village through beautiful roads we reached the base camp after a four-hour journey where we halted for a while at Safiullah Bhai's camp and were welcomed by him with tea and native roti chapati. After stopping for some time, we left to go near Nanga Parbat, it was also quite a long journey.

On approaching Nanga Parbat, it was quite cold, and hail had also started falling from above. Here we took a big stone and lit a fire. After a long fun here, we came back to the guest house in Trishing and everyone's group photo was taken. And then we left for Astore.

After about an hour's journey, we reached Astore and stayed at Hamza Mir Sahib's guest house. Played Ludo at night and slept.

Seventh day:

Today's start was a bit hectic as today me and Nadeem Bhai were to be separated from the group and we had to come back to Kashmir while everyone else had to leave Astor for Islamabad. Sadiq Bhai and all the other people were determined to go with us to Islamabad, but since we had to pass Phalawi, we apologized, and had a beautiful group photo with ending words “Juda to Humain Hona hi Tha”

And thus, the group tour was completed.

Astore to Phalawi via Phalawi Pass:

Now Nadeem Bhai and I sat in Ruto's transport from Astore and reached Ruto from where we had to go to Mir Malik but unfortunately, we didn't get any vehicle because it was Sunday and we had to walk, and it was a long journey. On the way we found a Pak Army vehicle at one place which made our journey better but then we had to walk, and we reached Mir Malik from where we went further and after walking till dark, we reached Chamroti Behak at night where we had to set up our own tent, but the hospitable people there accommodated us in one of their tents and gave us food.

Eighth day:

We woke up early and had breakfast and from there we started towards Phalawi pass. We were moving through rivers, green meadows, and beautiful waterfalls. There were many beautiful fields to be seen in this area which were soothing to the soul. The fishes swimming in the clear water were announcing the peace here. Now we were in the snow field after a long journey, and it was endless and a tough climb.

No birds were seen on this route. Since even Bakarwal had not come here due to snow, the terrain was quite scary and there was no sign of the way. But we had a GPS map with the help of which we were moving forward. There was a lot of fear here, but then we reached the pass and there we met some other passengers, so our spirits got a little higher. The height of the pass is more than 13300 feet above sea level. After the pass, we had to descend and there was snow everywhere, so we slid.

There we also got to see a frozen lake. We were moving forward and after a long and tiring journey we finally saw the green area of Phalawi, and something came to life. Down here, we passed by a stream, glaciers, and waterfalls, and reached the area of the people of Phalawi.

Thus ended a long but interesting journey. During this trip, our faces were burnt by the snow and hot sun and the heat of the stony valley of Astore, and it continued to burn. A lot of new friends were made on this trip and some friends had to say goodbye even though these seven-day friends seemed like childhood friends. May these great people always be safe, stay strong, stay happy, stay prosperous.

Sadiq Bhai, Doctor Sahib, Salman Hameed Bhai, Noor Qureshi Bhai and Waleed Pasha Bhai Thank you all very much.
Sadiq Bhai's courage and preparation for this trip was commendable and such trips will play a valuable role in the improvement of tourism in Kashmir. And thanks to Noor Qureshi who alone proved how safe this valley is for women by making a successful safe journey.

This article is written by Sajid Sarwar and All trip videos will be uploaded on (https://www.youtube.com/@TurFirAdventures)

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