09/12/2016

A Beautiful Journey To Kumrat Valley

A Beautiful Journey To Kumrat Valley

At last I have finalized my special post. The picture was taken by me during my visit to Kumrat on July 25, 2016.

My View Of The Picture:

Mostly people from southern side of Pakistan visit northern areas of the country. We are a blessed country which has mountains, rivers, deserts, plains, sea, valleys, snow etc. Name any natural beauty and you can find it in Pakistan. I live in plains and when some one from the flat area visits northern areas it always fascinates him/her due to the scenery and weather. Whenever I have visited the northern parts of the country the artistic ability of God has always inspired me. How beautifully things have been created and crafted by Him; it’s all amazing! He made the giant mountains and from those mountains when snow melts it turns into rivers. Everything is made for the sake of a human being. But I feel distress when I see nature being badly destroyed by us.

This is a picture of one of the beautiful valleys which you can find in Pakistan named Kumrat and I have recently visited the valley due to its beauty and for fishing. It is located in the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formally: NWFP) near district Dir (Upper).

My purpose for writing this post is to share my journey along with the pictures I took there and offer a guide for those who would like to travel to Kumrat.

A little about Kumrat is that it’s a beautiful valley which is quite remote accessed by rough and tough roads. The true journey of Kumrat starts when you reach Dir (Upper) on Chirtal-Dir road. There are two important villages before you reach Kumrat. One is Sheringal and the other is Thaal. The important thing about Sheringal is that there is a beautiful Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, located there. As far as roads are concerned there are very few patches of asphalt along with concrete road you can find. There are two routes;  one is known as old and the other is new. We took the old route going towards Kumrat and chose the new one on return. Currently, most parts of the new route are under construction and seems that it will be under construction for some time. The valley has a river named Panjkora but some locals called it River Kohistan. The furthermost point we reached was just a 30 minute hard drive to Kala Chashma (black stream) and ahead from Kala Chashma there is a lake named Katora (bowl) Lake.

In July, when we visited, the weather was very pleasant. We didn’t find any need to use warm clothes at night. A sleeping bag in a tent was good enough to bear the night temperature. You can find a variety of tent hotels which serve cooked foods and  packed eatables at different points along the way. But remember these are not available for the whole year this treat is only for the summer. You see a lot of pine trees, greenery, river and mountains there.

I took many Pictures and some Videos (Travelling At NightThe Valley of KumratPanjkora & Camping Spot & Rough Road) during  our trip. I started taking pictures from the point where we took our first breakfast of the tour.

I would like to share our itinerary along with timings so that the readers and especially those who want to visit Kumrat can know how much time we took to reach the points I mentioned. But before this, keep in mind the following, which directly affected the travelling time:

  • We used a jeep for travelling which had a top speed of 100km/hr on asphalt road.
  • One requires a high ground clearance vehicle in order to navigate the rough terrain of Kumrat valley, however, cars can also do the same but it would be the big risk both for the car and riders.
  • From Lahore to Rawalpindi we travelled by train.
  • There was congestion in the markets in our route which caused us the delays.
  • We had to stop for routine checks at the few check posts set up by the Army and Rangers
  • There were few stops for the photography.
  • Bad roads.

 Our Itinerary

Google Map- Rawalpindi to Kumrat
Google Map- Rawalpindi to Kumrat
                                   On 23-7-16 (Start of our Journey) Time
–     Started our journey from Lahore Railway Station. I would say its a majestic way to travel.

00:30

–         Reached Rawalpindi (five minutes late from the scheduled time)

4:35

–         Friends were there to pick us up in the jeep, we loaded our language and started our journey towards Kumrat from Rawalpindi through the motorway M-1

5:15

–         Had breakfast on road side hotel on M-1 (It was not a good experience)

7:00

–         Passed through Rashakai (we are now in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw- KP)

7:15

–         Reached Mardan

7:30

–         Dargai

8:30

–         Batkhela

9:20

–         Chakdara

9:35

–         Talash

10:30

–         Timergara (District Lower Dir)

10:50

–         Odigram

11:00

–         Rabaat

11:15

–         Khaal

11:30

–         Toormang

11:35

–         Khagram

11:40

–       Dir (Upper)- We had lunch there, had a little rest and did some minor repairs to the jeep.

13:00

–         Continued our journey from Dir to Kumrat (Old route).

17:00

–         Reached Sheringal University.

19:50

–         Reached Thaal and stayed there for a night.

23:30

24-7-16

–         Woke up at 8:00 am and left Thaal after breakfast.

9:30

–      Reached the point just before Kala Chashma (black stream) in Kumrat. The patch of 2-3 Kms before Kala Chashma was one of the worst we and our jeep experienced during the trip. Camped there due to good fishing spot and tired our luck. Indeed it was a good fishing spot but we failed to catch anything. Had lunch and dinner there and stayed there for a night.

14:00

25-7-16

–         Left the camping site after breakfast and started our journey back.

10:00

–       Camped at a place near the starting point of Kumrat and had a late lunch.

17:00

–     Did more fishing but again failed to catch anything. Had dinner and stayed there for a night.

23:00

26-7-16

–         Spent our day relaxing, chatting and enjoying a bath in the river, washed the jeep and tried to forget the pain of failure. One of our friends suffered a bad stomach due to a late night and a spicy lunch and dinner.

9:00

To

16:30

–       Went fishing for the last time with only 1% hope. Fortunately, we hooked two reasonable sized fishes. One by me and one by my friend. [In the picture the small one was gifted by locals 🙂 ]

16:30

 

–      Got back to our campsite with difficulty after staying to fish until after the sunset hoping to have even more success.

20:30

–        Celebrated our success in dark and cloudy night. We had a special dinner and slept there with zero sign of tiredness because we had achieved our goal. And our goal and trophy was “Trout”.

22:00

27-7-16

–       Time to leave Kumrat but we got greedy and went fishing again for an  hour but were able to catch only one small trout.

6:00

–       Left the fishing spot to start our journey back to our homes. Rain was started before reaching to Sheringal. It was raining like cats and dogs for almost 3o mins. The fear of landsliding and driving on the rough roads were the challenges worth remembering.

7:00

–         Reached Sheringal and ate our breakfast/lunch.

11:00

–       We were lucky that the shops in the markets were closed due to strike and we had mostly clear roads from Sheringal to Mardan.
–         Our jeep encountered some mechanical problem and we turned toward Hassanabdal for the maintenance purpose.

20:00

–         Reached Rawalpindi and took dinner.

23:45

28-7-16
–       Left Rawalpindi by bus with heavy heart because I missed my majestic ride.

00:45

–         Kept sleeping in the bus and reached Lahore with wonderful memories.

5:30

 

So dear readers and prospective visitors, you have read my itinerary. However, the following summary would be good for you to keep in mind while travelling there:

  • The Roads were very bad starting from Dir (Upper).
  • 4×4 would be the only choice to reach Kumrat. Drive your own or you can hire a driver plus vehicle from Dir (Upper)
  • The last gas station we saw was somewhere in Thaal. But its better to get the required fuel from Dir (Upper).
  • The weather in the month of July was very pleasant.
  • It would be very tough with families though not impossible. You can find few rest houses there the structure and conditions of which can be judged from the pictures I uploaded.
  • A beautiful river will keep following you from Dir (Upper) until Kumrat.
  • Greenery and atmosphere will freshen you up.
  • You would find many places to camp.
  • You can also find camps for rent at some points in Kumrat, however it’s advised to camp near a tent hotel due to presence of people and availability of eatable items.
  • For the fishing enthusiast there are some decent spots. However, the quantity of trout was less than our expectation. But don’t be pessimistic! Try your best.
  • The locals are courteous. But you should be sharp enough to understand their selling techniques.
  • The condition of security is quite acceptable now. We experienced few check posts along the way and the Army has a stronghold there as per information we received from the locals.
  • Try not to drive at night especially if you don’t have any previous experience. We did and it was risky due to bad roads and fewer people on the road.
  • Try to obtain a complete weather forecast for the area before your visit. Rain is not a good thing to experience there due to potential for landslides. Thank God we experienced rain only on our last day while heading back.
  • Be watchful during rain as travelling and camping could become difficult.
  • Should have a rain coat due to unpredictability of weather.
  • Should have a few warm clothes in case of cold weather and to deal with rain.
  • Camp should be in good condition and try to pick suitable campsite especially considering the chances of rain.
  • Should have some basic spare parts and tools for a vehicle as we had a problem with an engine belt when we reached Dir (Upper).
  • Always have basic medicines and a equipped medical box.
  • Be careful not to eat items which are not fully cooked or too spicy as one of our friends faced this and he had a bad tummy after eating spicy packed food.
  • Eat light and not with a full stomach.
  • Eat simple and have an early dinner.
  • Don’t try to test your vehicle if you are going for the first time. Be patient and be mature as the roads are very rough.
  • The last point where our cell phones picked signals was the first spot of tent hotels after Thaal.
  • Enjoy the time you spend there, especially life without mobile phones and laptops.
  • Last but most important. Please, please do not litter. Always take big shopping bags with you. Collect all the wastes in the bags. A better way is to dispose off the garbage/waste properly at the site but best and most recommended advice is to bring that garbage with you and dispose it properly outside such beautiful places. However, the ultimate advice is; use less plastic, please. And remember Captain Planet “the power is yours”.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog and you found it informative. But if you would like to suggest something or find something incorrect in my post then let me know please. If corrections are required I will change that part of the post mentioning who suggested the correction to me.

[** With bundle of thanks.

As I mentioned in the above para that I would welcome any change especially if any reader finds that I did factual or logical mistake. So one of my travel partner who owns that great 4×4, which you can see in the very first picture, Mr. Qaiser Pal, who drove it non-stop, who experienced the trip with me and who actually initiated the trip (and who also caught one of the trout) had read my whole post and gave me very valuable suggestions and corrected few facts. I would like to say thanks as I am very happy that the corrections/suggestions would help the readers to get more accurate information especially for those who are planning their first trip to Kumrat.]

 

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11 Comments on A Beautiful Journey To Kumrat Valley

  1. Very good, thumbs up. the advice part is really good, especially the points related to fuel, cellular signals, driving, camping,taking family along, where to camp, etc. well done!Though this is your personal experience and it may vary from person to person, group to group but definitely it will be helpful. Especially for a person like me who travels with family. Generally, no doubt people are very helpful, welcoming and courteous, but it is very secure,sane and safe to learn from those who have already experienced. I would suggest, if you are a frequent traveler, not only to northern areas for recreation, but even if for business, you should put up those expereience as well. May be not so detailed, highlights only. The good part and the bad part; why was ‘good part’, good and why was ‘bad part’, bad and how that ‘not so good part’ could/can be avoided.

    • Thanks Rasheed Sb. for liking the blog. When i was planning my tour to Kumrat I read some articles from different websites. However, i felt that either those were too long like dramatic story or missing many important aspects like dos and don’ts. That’s why i added this post in my blog by considering those who are planning to go for the fist time. I hope that you not only this article but have also enjoyed the pictures and movies.
      Regarding your suggestion of other trips and good and bad part. Thanks, your this suggestion is noted and noted in bold, italics and underlined.

  2. Lovely description of tge joueney. Would have liked to see a few pictures just to understand what were tge conditions one has to face once there. Otherwise excellently described .

  3. Loved the way u described, would love to visit it some day soon 🙂 currently planning for Hunza inshaAllah

    • Thanks Tariq for liking and I hope when you will visit Kumrat this post would help you. And good luck for Hunza a remarkable place to visit. I still havnt touched this place ánd surely would love to. Do share your experience with me and all the readers of this blog. Looking forward. Best of Luck.

    • Thanks Rohail. Yes you should its place worth watching and adventurous. Hope my article would help you during your visit.

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