Sunday, April 14, 2019

AVGARCH OLD BEAUTIFUL VALLEY

AVGARCH - BOIBAR VALLEY

Duration3 days
Distance27.4km
Standardeasy
SeasonMid-June-September
Start/ FinishJamalabad Gojal
Zone and Permitopen, no permit
Public Transportno
SummaryThe beautiful and rarely visited Boibar Valley is the route to Jurjur Khun-e-Sar, Tupodan, Parigar Sar and Qarũn Koh base camps, with Qarũn Pass offering exceptional views of the Hispar Muztagh.

Boibar is an east-west valley whose river descends from Qarũn Koh (7164m) to the Hunza River at Morkhun 10km south of Sost. Boibar is historically significant as the original Wakhi settlement in Gojal and the old route to Shimshal, and has spectacular old-growth juniper trees. Avgarch and Boibar are also names of places in the Wakhan Corridor, suggesting the original inhabitants may have come from Wakhan. Morkhun (2743m) receives more rain than other Gojal villages, as its name suggests (mor means ‘rain’; Khun, ‘house’). At the time of research, villagers were constructing a road to Avgarch with eventual plans to extend it to the Boibar huts.

PLANNING

Maps   

1:250, 000 orographical map Karakoram (Sheet 1) covers the trek. It labels Jamalabad as Jukulgar, Parigar Sar as Pregar, and the Boibar River at Murkhun. The glacier at the valley’s head labelled Murkhun is locally called Qarũn Koh. Maidun isn’t named, but it’s marked by a triangle.

Guides and Porters

Porters ask for a flat rate per stage, including payment for food rations and the clothing and equipment allowance. Hire a local person to show the way, learn about the area, and support the village’s economy.

GETTING TO/FROM THE TREK 

Morkhun is halfway between Afiyatabad and Passu, so jump on any vehicle heading south from Afiyatabad or north from Passu. The short ride on NATCO buses and on vans or wagons. From Morkhun, north of the bridge and south of the Pakistan Army camp, follow the Jamalabad Link Rd half a Kilometre to its end. Jamalabad (2789m), named for the late Mir of Hunza, Mohammad Jamal Khan, lies above the Boibar River’s true right (north) bank.

THE TREK

Day 1 : Jamalabad to Boibar

3½-4½ hours, 7.7km, 716m ascent
Follow the trail east along the canal. A shrine to Shah Shams, marked by white flags, sits on the river’s south side. Reach the first footbridge in 30 minutes and cross to the true left bank. Watch for rock fall between Jamalabad and Avgarch and avoid this section of trail in rain or high winds. Continue along the river’s edge 30 minutes passing scattered rose bushes and the herb spandr to a clear side stream, which flows from Sangar, a scenic grassy ridge descending from Jurjur-Khun-e-Sar (6055m) to the south. (It takes five hours to reach Sangar from Morkhun, making it an eight-to nine-hour round trip).
Just beyond the stream pass Bandiletk. Here red markings on the rock are said to have been made by a bilas (evil spirit) who licked the rock after having eaten people. Villagers say it’s dangerous to travel here after dark. The area on both sides of the river, with its scattered artemisias, ephedras, and roses, is also known as Lalazar (beautiful place in Persian).
Continue 15 minutes to the second footbridge surrounded by tamarisks and a thorny shrub xakh and cross to the river’s true right bank. The trail forks immediately. Both trails lead to Avgarch, but people describe the right fork as dangerous. Take the left fork and follow the trail along the true right bank downstream, backtracking for a few minutes to the base of Yasin Band. Ascend a short 35-degree scree slope, and then a steep, narrow chimney with steps made out of juniper branches, to the terrace above. From this plateau are beautiful views south to Jurjur-Khun-e-Sar and east to Parigar Sar (6200m), a prominent rocky peak (sar) known as the rock (gar) where fairies (pari) dwell.
Continue 30 minutes along a canal at the base of a rocky rhubarb-dotted slope and through level fields and wildflowers to Avgarch (3200m). This large cultivated area was the first settlement of the Wakhi people living in the five villages between Sost and Morkhun who refer to themselves as Avgarchi. It has a mosque with unique wood carvings and two forts. One sits atop the central building, a reminder of the constant battles with Qirghiz people who also used the upper Hunza Valley until the 19th century. A lone giant juniper called Baltar Yarz is nearby. Legend says a boy, Baltar, would have died, but he sacrificed a cow near the juniper tree (yarz) and lived.                
From Avgarch, continue up, then cross the river via a footbridge heading south-east to reach Boibar (3505m), a barren summer settlement 1½ hours from Avgarch. Boibar huts sit in a southern side valley, which has a small glacier. Above is the dramatic north face of Tupodan (6106m), whose name means ‘the sun-drenched mountain’.

Day 2 : Boibar to Maidun     

2 hours, 6km, 495m ascent
Continue one hour to a cold spring called Xunza Kuk (Queen’s spring), then 30 minutes to Pariyar (the place loved by fairies). These overgrazed pastures are the upper limit of juniper. Many junipers have been cut, but some of those remaining are older than 1000 years. Maidun (4000m), 30 minutes farther, has good water and makes a fine base camp for exploring the upper Boibar Valley. The route to Tupodan Base Camp, used by the 1987 British expedition who were the first to summit Tupodan, heads south up the Tupodan Glacier from Maidun.

Side Trip : Qarũn Pass     

4-5 hours, 11km, 873m ascent, 873m descent
The original, but now abandoned, route to Shimshal village followed the Boibar Valley, crossed Qarũn Pass, and descend 2100m of treacherous scree to reach the Shimshal River at Dut. A day trek to the top of the pass offers great views and a glimpse of how difficult access to Shimshal used to be. Legend has it that Mamu Singh, Shimshal’s founder, saw the meadows along the Lupgar Glacier from the pass and so decided to take his livestock there. Shimshalis say the pass is like the legendary miser, Qarũn, because no water is available on the arduous ascent from Dut to the pass, hence the name Qarũn Pass.
From Maidun, ascend 1½ hours past yellow rock outcrops to the pasture of Zardgarben (the base of the yellow rock) from where the pass cairn is visible. Continue, passing right of the Qarũn koh Glacier’s black moraine to the base of the pass (4500m). From this point, the routes to Qarũn Koh and Parigar Sar Base Camps head across the glacier east and north-east respectively. The route to the pass turns south, ascends a scree gully, and traverses to Qarũn Pass (4873m) in one hour. Lupgar Sar, Trivor and Destaghil Sar rise in front. Return from the Pass to Maidun.

Day 3 : Maidun to Jamalabad

4-5 hours, 13.7km, 1211m descent
Retrace steps Downvalley to Jamalabad.
- Akram Posh

Monday, April 1, 2019

Chai

the consumption of tea in Pakistan, where it is called chai (چائے), its name in Urdu, is of central significance to its culture. It is one of the most consumed beverages in Pakistani cuisine.

Image result for pakistani chai

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sufis and the spread of Islam


Sufis and the spread of Islam

IN the Subcontinent, the Sufis made the untiring, selfless and incessant struggle for the spread of Islam. They devoted their lives and gave up their homes to champion the cause of Islam in a miraculous way. Neither did they resort to arms nor to swords for this. It was their affection, sympathy, fraternity and unlimited philanthropist actions that won the hearts of people. The spread of Islam stems from the invasion of Muhammad Bin Qasim in the Subcontinent, but roots of Sufism can be traced to the time when the first Sufi, Muhammad Alfi, came to the Subcontinent.

However, with the passage of time, many Sufis made their way here following the invasions of Muslim conquerors. They came from Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula in order to establish an Islamic society. Sufism took shape and became an institution in the 12th and 13th century. The two great pioneers in this filed were Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and Hazrat Shahabuddin Suharawardy. Four branches of Sufism, namely Qadriya, Chishtiya, Suharawardya and Naqshahbandya were introduced in the Subcontinent by Syed Bandqi Mohammad Ghosh, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Shaikh Bahawaldin Lakariya and Khwaja Mohammad Baqi Billah respectively.

There is an established myth that the Sufis followed the Muslim warriors. But now it is clear that Shah Abdul Rehman had settled in Ajmer before Khwaja Moinuddin. Shaikh Ismail Bukhari came to the Subcontinent before Mahmud Ghaznavi. The Ismail missionary Adbullah landed near Cambay in AD1067 and worked in Gujarat when the country was governed by Sindhraj Jai Singh. He and his Jain teacher, Huma Charya, are said to have converted to Islam when there was no Muslim invasion recorded at the time.

During Ghazanavid rule, there was massive influx of important spiritual leaders like Hazrat Shaikh Ismail and Hazrat Ali Bin Osman Hujweri, popularly known as Data Ganj Bux. The latter was among the leading Sufi philosophers of the day. He did immense missionary work in his individual capacity and set an outstanding example for future generations.

Many scholars are of the view that the general conversion to Islam in the Subcontinent started on a sizable scale from the 13th century, after the Ghurid rule. This period coincides with the arrival of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti and the Suharawardy Sufis. This period also witnessed the expansion of Muslim power across the Sutlaj into northern India. In addition to Punjab, Sindh also claims the distinction of being the centre of Indian Sufism. According to Hassan Nizami, Suharawardy Sufis were the first to arrive in India and made their headquarters in Sindh. This order achieved much success under the leadership of Hazrat Bahwaldin Zakriya in Multan. The famous Qadriya order entered India through Sindh in AD1482. Syed Bandagi Mohammad Ghouse, one of the descendants of the founder (Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, 1078-1116) took up residence in Sindh at Uch (now in Bahawalpur) and died in AD1517. Sakhi Sultan (Mangopir), Hazart Abdullah Shah of Karachi, Hazrat Shah Inayat of Jhok Sharif, Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and Qalandar Lal Shahbaz were saints of high stature in Sindh who converted many Hindus.

In Bengal, saints and servants accompanied the administrators and warriors, and established their own darghas and khanqahs. Shah Jalal of Sylhet, Makhdumul-mulk Sharfuddin and Shaikh Nur Qutb may be particularly mentioned. Shah Jalal did much for the spread of Islam in Bengal, while Shaikh Akhi Sirajuddin propagated Islam in Gaur and Pandua.

Other notable figures of the 13th century Sufi movement in Indo-Pak were the four friends known as ‘Chaharyar’ — Hazrat Fariduddin Masud Ganj Shakar of Pakpattan (1174-1266); Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari, ulma of Uch Bahawalpur (1196- 1296); Hazrat Bahawaldin Zakariya of Multan (1170-1267); and Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalendar of Sehwan (1177-1274). It is said that 17 leading tribes of the Punjab accepted Islam at the hands of the Sufis.

Fortunately, the list of Sufis does not end here. Their exact number is beyond the capacity of this article, so only a few noteworthy Sufis can be mentioned. Mohammad Ghose, Hazrat Mian Mir of Lahore, Hazrat Syed Yakub Zanjani of Lahore, Ruknuddin Rukne Alam of Multan, who was grandson of Hazarat Bahauddin Lakariya whose family migrated from Sindh. Syed Ahmed Saqi Sarwar of D.G. Khan, Pir Jalaluddin Qutb-al-Aqtab, who died at Uch in AD1923 converted Mazaris and several other Baloch tribes to Islam, Hazarat Khardari Baba Mulla Taher of Ziarat (the visit to his tomb led to the place becoming known as Ziarat) Pir Hinqlaj of coastal Makran, Pir Baba of Swat, and Kake Sahib of Nowshero played important roles in the spread of Islam.

The Sufis were well-read, widely travelled and spiritual leaders of the masses. They succeeded in their mission because they had both the strength of character and the courage of conviction, and were selfless and devoted to their cause. Their movement made inroads in the Subcontinent and it grew powerful and successful for a number of reasons.

Firstly, before they started preaching, they set noble and brilliant example through their behaviour and conduct. Secondly, Islam was preached by them in a simple, pragmatic and flexible way, contrary to the ulemas who laid much emphasis on the rigidity of rules. Thirdly, they highlighted Allah’s positive and merciful attributes to ignite a love of God in people’s hearts. The Sufis disliked formalities and ceremonial acts, preferring to lead simple lives, and their lofty and admirable principles became guidelines for the people. They were against suppressions and social evils, condemning the use of force to gain power. Then their khanqahs were always open for everyone, and those with money had to donate generously to the needy. People flocked from time to time to the Sufis for solace and comfort.

The Sufis were triumphant because of their noble deeds and the marvellous examples they set. They never imposed their beliefs on non-Muslims. The khanqas provided protection to wanderers, institutions for those who wanted to quench their thirst for knowledge, food to the needy and love to all. People rallied round the ideology of Sufism which was simple to digest, practicable to exercise.

The Sufis converted a civilisation into a better one, which is beyond the imagination of ordinary people. The small pockets of Muslim society in towns and villages after the invasion of Muhammad Bin Qasim changed into large cities and provinces. Above all, it was the sheer straggle of the Sufis which paved the way for the future Islamic state in the Subcontinent. Had the Sufis shunned their practice of Islamic teachings in the 13th and 14th century, it would have been difficult to implant a Muslim civilisation in the country where a well-organized Hindu community had lived for centuries.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Hunza Face: 1950 model Jeepster :) How many of you have travel...

The Hunza Face: 1950 model Jeepster :) How many of you have travel...: 1950 model Jeepster  :)  How many of you have travelled in this Jeep raise up your hands    Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/...

1950 model Jeepster :) How many of you have travellled in this Jeep raise up your hands :)

1950 model Jeepster  How many of you have travelled in this Jeep raise up your hands  

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Gojal Local House

Avgarch Valley


The historical settlement of Avgarch lays in the picturesque Boibar Valley. The name Avgarchis derived from the Persian words for water ‘ ab’ and ‘ kerch’, meaning hut. According to local history, the site used to be a grassy campsite with a small hut by a clear spring, hence the name. The first inhabitants arrived several centuries ago from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, where they settled in the relative seclusion and security of this side valley. As the population grew, people spread out and moved down valley to Galapan, Gircha, Sartiz, Jamalabad, Morkhun, Nazimabad and Sost.

Avgarchi, is a small village nestling in a deep valley. It is 16kms from KKH and is located at an altitude of 9,500ft. While there are no accurate historic records of the origins of the village, historians estimate it to be approximately 600 years old. According to local folklore, this village was settled by the Wakhi speaking Ghoran Tajik’s who were pushed out of the Wakhan by Kargis. The village consists of two fortified settlements known as the Past Khun (4 houses) and the Uch Khun (20 houses). A mosque and water mill are located in Uch Khun.The Qaroon mountain peak and the valley clad with lush green juniper forests provide a dramatic backdrop to the village, beneath which lie man-made meadows and agricultural fields. This area has a heritage of rich, diverse cultural assets. The Rose, Willow and Birch trees soften the landscape, while the markhoors, wolves, red foxes and hares animate it. Wagtails, Golden Orioles, House Sparrows, Red and yellow Hoopoes, Billed Choughs, Ram Chukkars, Snow Pigeons and Magpies constitute a wide array of local bird types. The 2 fortified villages are protected by a watch-tower. Apart from the old fort with its watchtowers ( kungras) and the mosque of Ghulam Ali Shah (which is said to be 800 years old), the village and its surroundings invite to be explored. An old juniper tree, Baltar Yarz, is another popular attraction for the visitor. Many legends and tales spring from this mighty tree and scientists believe it to be the oldest living tree in Gojal, dating several thousand years.  The Avgarch Fort was built as a defense post against Kyrgyz invaders who roamed in Hunza until the mid 19th century.

Rakaposhi



Rakaposhi, is a mountain in the Karakoram mountain range in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan It is situated in the middle of Nagar Valley Nagar District and Danyore and Bagrote valley approximately 100 km north of the capital city Gilgit of the semi autonomous Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. 
Elevation: 7,788 m
First ascent: 1958www.facebook.com/thehunzaface
Mountain range: Karakoram
Listing: Ultra-prominent peak
First ascenders: Tom Patey, Mike Banks
Did you know: It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan. posh1hunzai@gmail.com