There was greenery everywhere, punctuated with pomegranate trees that lined up the road and proudly held out their red petals. Nor Apizah Binti Idzuddin No. The only sounds I heard were that of a brook and my beating heart. Rekod data permohonan 'Nur Azanim Binti Darus' telah dikeluarkan. Wah a great blessing from God!!
I, who had grown all weak-kneed from this beauty, was barely able to gather myself to go back into my room. I returned to the balcony around 11pm. The stars had come out, the night was otherwise dark and moonless. Silence echoed through the valley.
The only sounds I heard were that of a brook and my beating heart. The chimneys had fallen cold too. The town was sleeping. When dew began to fall on Kail, the stars, too, grew obscure. Far away, dogs barked relentlessly. The valley that was quiet a few minutes ago was now echoing mysterious sounds. I returned to my room, but the moment I closed my eyes, the entire Kail valley materialised in my mind's eye.
I felt dizzy and fell asleep where I had lain. The goddess of slumber had drawn the valley close to her heart, and every activity in the universe came to a halt, until the sun rose the next morning. At daybreak next morning, I departed from Kail. The jeep continued its bumpy journey, somehow negotiating the wavy track in this difficult terrain. We registered at several military checkpoints along the way.
For a portion of my journey, the track ran parallel to River Neelum, almost touching it. The jeep was running on the track just one foot higher than the river. Then, we came across a cataract washing the road with its water, and spewing a lot of mud. As the jeep passed before the waterfall, a sprinkle of cold water washed over my face.
The road running along the River Neelum began to gain altitude again, and I felt the jeep almost taking off. The river had been left below in the mountains. Next, we were to pass by the villages of Sardari, Phalwai and Hilmet, before arriving in Tau Butt, where the jeep was to end its journey.
That day, after leaving Kail, I noticed that women in this region were very industrious. They worked hard in the fields and took vigilant care of the cattle. I also noticed that almost all of the women wore red; perhaps they favoured this colour. Eight out of the 10 women there wore red dresses. We passed by several groups of Bakarwal nomads that travelled along the road with their flocks of sheep and goats. The animals would readily give way to the jeep as soon as they heard the engine.
The Bakarwal tribes are known for taking regular long journeys from Kashmir to the Deosai plain, passing through the highest mountain passes of the Himalayas. After arriving in the Deosai plain, some of their groups would journey to Skardu and others would travel to Astore. Since snow at the Deosai plain had not thawed yet, the Bakarwals were moving at a very slow pace, camping with frequent intervals.
Making a stay near every village that they came across. Nomadic life is quite strange. Nomads bury their dead wherever they die. Their graves can be found scattered from Kashmir to Skardu and Astore. One of the nomads told me that for centuries, their generations had lived the same life.
Their elders had trodden the same path. The nomads had spent entire eras existing in unending journeys. I saw a Bakarwal slaughtering his goat near the riverbank.
The sight stunned me. I knew that Bakarwals would never slaughter their animal even if they were dying with starvation. What had led this man to kill his goat? On inquiring, I learned that the goat had fallen off a mountain and broken both of its hind legs.
The nomads carried it in their arms for one day, but it was not possible for them to continue to do so. The track crossed through streams that flowed over it. The jeep marched on. Hearing the sound of the jeep-horn, a nomad girl turned around with a start, and quickly hid her face in her palms. Behind the fingers her green eyes dilated. She was carrying a tea kettle and a transparent plastic bag, in which, two tea cups and a few dry rottis flatbread were visible.
If both of us are humans, why should one hide from the other? In my rear view mirror, she stood still. There was a time when I had given thought to the idea of travelling across Kashmir with these nomads to arrive at the Deosai plain, and then journey on to Skardu, enjoying the hospitality of the Bakarwals gypsies, sipping tea from steaming cups.
Who knows, one day maybe this dream will come true. We arrived in Jaam Garh, the town of refugees. When Hindu-Muslim violence had escalated in Indian-held Kashmir, the entire population of a village situated along the Line of Control, left their homes and, crossing over the river under the cover of night, migrated to Azaad Kashmir.
These refugees have been accommodated in Jaam Garh by the state government. The entire village has painted its rooftops with a single colour: Every house has a tale of suffering, every person remembers someone they left behind and everyone mourns their burnt down houses.
The jeep passed through the town silently; there was silence everywhere, as if the people were mute or had lost their voices permanently. After a four-hour bumpy drive from Kail, we finally entered Tau Butt. It is an isolated, mountainous village with wood-framed houses, specifically designed for this region. The fields were enclosed by barbed wires, perhaps, for demarcation.
The River Neelum flowed fast and furiously in the middle of the valley. Farmers were tilling their fields for the next crop. A few young children looked out from the windows of the houses and waved at me.
Some old men were seen gathered outside small shops. Red scarves fluttered in the fields. I was to spend the night in this village. The next morning, soon after leaving my bed, I started walking towards the last human habitation of Kashmir.
It is a village named Gagai, and you can get to this place only by travelling on foot. I went through a series of fields and jungles, meeting birds and animals, including one or two marmots. The Gagai rivulet was running along me, furious and foamy. Soon I found myself in a clearing at the foot of the mountains, where the Gujjar rivulet flowing down from the Barzal Pass meets the Gagai rivulet, forming a single stream that would end up in the River Neelum at Tau Butt.
The sun began to shine brightly. A wild squirrel descended from a tree top, only to climb up a wood log where it then enjoyed a sunbath. The air was still chilly. I could hear shrilling marmots, which must be nearby. Before arriving at my destination, I had to pass through yet another jungle.
Finally, after trekking continuously for four hours, I was in the village of Gagai, which is home to only a few dozen people. If you continue to trek further ahead, you would arrive in the district of Astore, but not before passing through several jungles, rivulets, and many lonely places, some of them quite terrible. This village that remains buried under snow for seven months every year, is splendidly beautiful. I asked one of the villagers, an old man, how they spent this period of hibernation.
As I was about to leave the village, a man advised me to turn around and go back to Tau Butt, but I wanted to travel a few furlongs in the same direction, hoping to get a good shot. I had barely taken a few steps when I met a woodcutter coming back from the jungle; he carried his axe and a bundle of wood on his back.
At the sight of me, he blurted out:. What if someone captures and slaughters you. It would bring trouble [for us]. Before turning back, I drew my hand over my forehead to have a look at the snowy Barzal Pass. Snow-capped mountain peaks stood in the distance. The Brazal Pass goes through these mountains. Beyond them was the Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan region. My journey to the last human habitation of Kashmir had come to an end, but I knew that my destiny was planning another adventure for me.
The travel lines in my palms were growing thicker. I knew, sooner rather than later, my feet would be longing for another odyssey. Tired, I bent my head down in submission to Nature. The moment I shut my eyes, I felt my body crumble with fatigue. My knees collapsed into the soil of Kashmir. My forehead touched the land. I was prostrating before the Lord, the one who delivers one from a thousand prostrations.
Kashmir is breathtaking beauty. I toured this region as much as I could. What is there on the other side of the LoC, I do not know, except that there are thousands of graves; thousands of lost hopes; entire forests of sandalwood trees burnt down; valleys that once glowed with caravans of fireflies now host to merely dens of ants. I dedicate this work to Kashmiris and the red scarves fluttering on the other side. To Kashmir, I bade farewell with the following extract from a poem by Faiz:.
Let me write a song for this day! This day and the anguish of this day For this wilderness of yellowing leaves — which is my homeland For this carnival of suffering — which is my homeland. Let me write for the Mothers Whose children sob in the night And, cradled in tired, toiling arms Will not tell their woes Will not be lulled with entreats.
Let me write of the beauties Whose eyes have lost their lustre Having wasted themselves up at tapestries For the brides, who have become weary Of loveless living and a futile life For the widows. Let me write of the little houses The narrow lanes and the courtyards Where the earth is so unclean Where the shadows are so deep That all life ebbs away like a sob, unheeded The carmine of her garment The tinkling of her bangles The perfume of her tresses.
Let me write of the students Those seekers of the truth Who came seeking the truth at the doorstep Of the great and the mighty, but never returned These innocent who, with their dim flickering lamps Came seeking light Where they sell naught but the darkness of long endless nights.
Syed Mehdi Bukhari is a Network Engineer by profession, and a traveler, poet, photographer and writer by passion. He can be reached on Facebook. The writer is an instructor at the Creative Arts Department in the University of Lahore, and a traveler, poet, photographer and writer by passion. The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.
Each time Mehdi journey introduces me to the unseen and uncovered beauty of Pakistan. Thanks to Mehdi that he takes his readers along with in his odyssey.. Some beautiful pictures but too much Photoshop in contrast to your previous work. Leave them as they are! Wonderful pictorial rendition of the beauty of Kashmir and heart-filling narrative.
It shows how mesmerizing could be the real peace and blessings of nature. No doubt Kashmir is beautiful icing on the cake of this God-gifted land that is waiting since ages for all to enjoy its wonderful heart and soul nourishing endowments. I believe that india must keep happy with its own share of kashmir and let us be happy and contended with our own share so that our relation become better and peaceful.
Lucky the people living in this area ,.. I lived in Karachi and I am the most unlucky man on earth I have less fresh air to breath and impure water to drink and have no tree as it apartments all around my home. You deserve a great lens. However artist should spread feel good not what is happening other side.
Junaid That is the only sensible solution to this problem India pakistan and China get to keep their own portion of Kashmir All photos taken with long exposure would have looked better if photographed like the remaining photos.
The beauty of water flowing with its natural look far better in normal photos. I don't know much about photography but just felt that I should comment on this issue. I enjoy looking at the photos you have published right now and before. Syed Mehdi Bukhari is always brings us the beautiful landscapes to show the beautiful sight of Pakistan, Thanks bro for your skills and loving nature. No words to praise the beauty of the nature.
It is very unfortunate that as an Indian we cannot come and see the locations. As Indians, we have the grills to come and see the beauty of the nature and other locations in our neighbor country. Any how, thank for uploading such images. I have had the good fortune of living in Jammu and Kashmir for 2 months. I saw almost the entire state including the Kashmir valley, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pehelgam and of course Jammu region and Ladhakh. The region's beauty is just exotic.
Also did river water rafting. In Gulmarg did skiing and rode the cable car which is one of the world's highest. I plan to do the Siachen trek, hopefully I am physically fit for it. Kudos to Syed Bukhari for these photos. I do have a suggestion to make. But, all photos taken with long exposure would have looked more natural if photographed like the other photos.
The water should be shown as natural as possible. Sir, when you do this, some people may think these photos are photo shopped. Just a suggestion from a friend in India. Wish at least both sides of Kashmir are with open borders so people from both India and Pakistan can enjoy both sides of Kashmir. Like someone long ago said 'agar zameen par jannath hai to bas yahin hai, yahin hai, yahin hai Some of the pics.
I am pretty sure the originals look lot better and natural! Im misty eyed, is this real or what!!! Brilliant photos just amazing work! Thanks Mr Bukhari for getting that camera! I stayed at Keran Valley for two night and cannot forget the night I spend there. The moon coming out behind mountains transforming the whole valley from pitch dark into moonlight.
That movement was very mystical and was amazed to how beautiful the valley was in moonlight. The Neelum river is crystallized at certain places and near Muzafarabad neelum river mixes with Jhelum river. You see two distinct colors merging. Jhelum river is muddy while Neelum clear more like water color. We Pakistani should be thankful to God that he blessed this country with such a divine beauty.
First of all i will thank the writer and Dawn for showing the hidden gems of Pakistan. I live in Alberta Canada, where we have the Rocky mountains,from which govt earns millions of dollars through tourism. I wish Pak govt learns from these developed countries how to build the infrastructure, hiking and cycling trails, open water rafting and build hotels through which the local people will get jobs and prosperity.
Thank you Syed Mehdi sahib. Thank you Dawn sharing the these beautiful pics of Pakistan. Neelum valley is reputed to one of the most scenic place in whole of Pakistan.
God Save Pakistan from evil people within and outside who wish to harm Pakistan. Has followed every Journey of yours so far. Your last blog about fairy meadows, Swat was as inspiring as ever. The Kashmir with its pristine valleys is a nature lovers paradise. The simple, rustic, carefree life is so much different from the stressful life of urban dwellers.
So close to to nature More rendezvous, more exploration, more discoveries Everyone should travel more, as someone has rightly said 'journey is the destination'. Now, who could this 'Some one' be.
Who could capture and slaughter you, in Azad Kashmir? Do throw some light on this. Me and my husband both work full time and I contribute my full salary in my household due to the needs. I have some good jewellery which was given to me by both my husband and my parents, we have some savings done through both money. Now when it comes to making a will.
Do I have any saying as I believe I have my earnings as well in the wealth. I have 3 kids, 1 girl and 2 boys. They all are young. My mother in law has 7 kids including my husband 2 sons and 5 daughters. My husband is the youngest son.
I want to make sure will is based on Sharia ruling not on favoritism. I want to know had husband any right to use wife salary or can stop her for doing job of she wants to do work or job. My husband has asthama and could not hold a job. Norain Binti Ahmad Sabri No. Mohd Nadzir Bin Don No. Robiah Binti Abas No. Siti Mahani Binti Masri No. Rekod pinjaman sewa-beli 3 bulan. Baki kelayakan di bawah paras minima setelah pengiraan DSR. Rosniza Binti Abdul Rahim No.
Aizuddin Bin Abdul Ghani No. Fatimah Binti Ismail No. Ramezan Bin Ramli No. Pengubahan pada slip gaji. Muhamad Faizol Bin Yaakob No. Racqueline Mc Raphael No. Haizal Bin Mohd Hamzah No. Harniza Binti Harun No. Zamahrie Bin Mat Sarip No. Terdapat in-transit' di dalam Sistem Angkasa. Mohd Hazrizal Bin Hazim No. Mohd Shahir Bin Seni No. Mohammad Fadzillah Bin Darahaman No. Mohd Amiruddin Bin Ramli No. Rosimah Binti Mat Noor No. Muhamad Shahril Bin Yaacob No. Harlisa Binti Zulkifli No.
Khairul Idram Bin Barokah No. Mohamad Izzat Bin Romainoor No. Kamarulzaman Bin Ali No. Jailieyana Binti Jaaffar No. Zuridah Binti Dahron No. Nur Ilyana Binti Haris No. Adzuar Bin Rambli No. Semakan kelayakan melebihi GDBR. Dara Binti Usop No. Perbezaan tandatangan klien pada borang trading. Hidyanti Binti Othman No. Borang permohonan sedang diproses. Mastiyah Binti Bogol No. Ahmad Sabri Bin Sharif No.
Azrina Binti Abdul Aziz No. Aida Binti Montong No. Mohd Ezuan Bin Amom No. Cek telah di depositkan ke dalam akaun bank. Rumiza Binti Ahmad No. Intan Farhana Binti Amom No. Md Fadli Bin Matali No. Abd Rahman Bin Ahmad No. Mohd Zakimi Bin Othman No. Harzatini Binti Mat Ali No. Ainee Adina Binti Mohamed No. Yuzaini Bin Mohd Yusof No. Mohd Sharizal Bin Sanik No. Azhar Bin Abdul Aziz No. Salwani Binti Mat Ming No. Zaleha Binti Syed Alwi No.
Zubaidah Binti Senin No. Zaifadzila Binti Noriza No. Suhanie Binti Samad No. Due to new rules implemented by BNM. Kalsom Binti Mahat No. Jikoh Bin Unggun No. Maswiza Binti Muhamad No.
Salimatul Hafizah Binti Subawaihi No. Iskasymar Bin Itam Ismail No. Haris Bin Dahlan No. Mokhtar Bin Che Lah No. Mohd Sabri Bin Saad No. Norshahida Binti Noordin No. KOG Jumlah Dipohon: Azree Bin Ikhsan No. Syuhailmi Bin Shahuddin No. Cek telah didepoaitkan ke dalam akaun bank.
Sharidah Binti Susudin No. Mohamad Nazim Bin Othman No. Sabura Binti Mohammed No.
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